Lionel Messi: The story behind the viral photo with Lamine Yamal and why the Copa America and Euro Cup will mark success for the king and his heir | Argentina national team today | Game-Total

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Almost as numerous as the number of titles he has in his showcase, Lionel Messi has a huge list of ‘successors’ who have emerged in his two-decade career. The weight of being the king of football, they say. As he had with Maradona, reward and punishment for those with heavy bags. The last “new Messi” is Lamine Yamal, the jewel of Barcelona, ​​who at the age of 16 is leading Spain to its fourth European Championship: he has three assists in the tournament, one of which eliminated Germany in the quarter-finals.

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Both America (Leo will start this Tuesday against Canada in the Copa America semifinals) and Europe (Yamal and Spain meet France in the Euro Cup semifinals) have had a story going these days. A viral photo from 2008 shows the Argentine “blessing” the Spaniard. The king and his successor.

This photo dates back to 2008 and is a shoot from Catalan newspaper Sport. Messi is 20 years old, Lamin is only six months old. “The beginning of two legends,” the Spanish winger’s father Mounir Nasrui captioned his Instagram account. A coincidence of life, perhaps. But ’10’ has chosen the best candidate to take his throne. As he watches his legacy take shape, he is focused on ending his career with one more title with his national team.

“Lamin Yamal, for example, I got a chance in the Barça youth team. I also saw different things in him. But not at the level of Messi. I don’t think anyone will reach the level of Leo. His natural game, the best, we have never seen before., Javier Saviola admitted this in an exclusive interview with this newspaper a few weeks ago. ‘Bunny’ was Leo’s teammate at Barça between 2001 and 2004, and coached Lamin in the Blaugrana club’s youth team.

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Argentina and Spain are favorites in their matches

This is a different Copa America for Messi. For him and the world of football. It is known to be its seventh and last edition. He will, of course, go out the front door: he is the one who has played the most games (37 so far). But there are also signs that retirement is near. Lionel will certainly continue to be a starter for Argentina when they face Canada in the semi-finals of the Copa America this Tuesday (7am / DirecTV).

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The winner will await either Colombia or Uruguay. Cafeterias defeated Panama without any problems (5-0 with goals from John Córdoba, James Rodriguez, Lucho Díaz and Richard Rios), extending their unbeaten run to 27 games and reaffirming their status as candidates. They must now defeat the Marcelo Bielsa-led Uruguayan machine that thrashed Brazil.

For its part, Spain, with Yamal as its most valuable player, must see off Mbappé’s France (Tuesday 2pm), in which they will face the winner between England and the Netherlands (Wednesday 2pm).

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