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Who are Lamine Yamal’s Parents and What Religion Does He Follow?

Who are Lamine Yamal’s Parents and What Religion Does He Follow?

Lamine Yamal has staked his claim as the rightful successor to Lionel Messi at Barcelona. The 16-year-old has a similar style to the Argentine when he started coming up the ranks at Camp Nou as a teenager. Yamal has also already broken records that even Messi himself couldn’t.

Over the last year or so, the 16-year-old has become the youngest starter for Barcelona in La Liga, the youngest to score a goal in a La Liga match and the second-youngest to score a goal in a Champions League match. He has also set the record for being the youngster to start for the Spanish national team and the youngest to score a goal for La Roja.

The scary (but good) thing about Yamal is how mature he seems despite his age. He has become a regular starter under Xavi Hernandez this season and made that right-wing role his own. The 16-year-old is an excellent dribbler and has an eye of goal, scoring some wonderous strikes and also delivering impressive assists.

The teenager has scored six goals and provided seven assists so far this season, tormenting opponents with his unpredictable style. Because of his seemingly incredible potential, everyone around him wants to claim their ‘rights’ over Yamal. Barcelona acted quickly to a new contract last year that will run until 2026 and has a €1 billion release clause.

There even seems to be a strange tug-of-war in terms of his ethnicity and nationality. There is some confusion among fans over where his heritage and roots lie. It’s time to clarify the same. Yamal was born on 13 July, 2007 in Esplugues de Llobregat – a municipality of Barcelona. That automatically means that he is a Spanish citizen as he was born in a Spanish city.

However, Lamine’s father Mounir Nasraoui, is actually a Morrocan who has migrated to Barcelona. His mother, Sheila Ebana, is originally from the country of Equatorial Guinea and is member of their Fang Tribe. The Fang group is a Bantu ethnic group that makes up about 85% of the population in the country and have their own language too.

Lamine Yamal with his dad
Lamine Yamal with his dad

Even in terms of the religion of his parents, Yamal’s is a bit of a unique case. His father, Mounir, is of course a Muslim as he comes from a country like Morocco. However, the Fang Group where his mother Ebana belongs from has a fascinating history. Initially, the Fang People were converted to Christianity under the French colonial rule of Equatorial Guinea.

Lamine Yamal with his mother
Lamine Yamal with his mother

But after Independence, the Fang group converted back to their traditional religion called Biere (or Byeri). Here, there is a lot of emphasis put on ancestor worship and there is a strong belief in the Fang group that their life is determined by the influence of the spirits of their ancestors.

Lamine has taken to his father’s religion and is now a Spanish Muslim. But the 16-year-old’s diverse heritage and distinct parents means he could have played for a number of countries. So far in his career, Yamal has played for Spain’s youth team and is now a regular for La Roja’s senior team. He actually had the chance to play for Morocco thanks to his father’s links to the country. Last year, Mounir had actually spoken about which team he’d prefer Lamine to represent, telling Spanish outlet Sport: “My son has not made up his mind yet to play for Morocco or Spain… But I would be very proud if he played for Morocco.”

In the end, Lamine opted to play for Spain after growing up in the country and representing them at the youth level. Now that he has played in UEFA Euro 2024 qualifiers, Yamal can’t represent the Morocco national team anymore. Similarly, he’s also missed out on the chance to play for Equatorial Guinea’s national team, which he was eligible for thanks to his mother.

But Yamal seems to have the utmost pride in his heritage. The football boots he wears often have the flags of Spain, Morocco and Equatorial Guinea inscribed in them. The 16-year-old has also retained his humble nature because he’s seen the harsh realities of life at a young age. He grew up at a place called Rocafonda, a neighbourhood in Mataro – which is about 40 minutes up the coast from Barcelona.

The place is mostly filled with migrants and working-class people. Rocafonda gained a reputation for being ‘troubled’ because of the tensions between rival gangs troubling the neighborhoods, and empty vacant buildings being occupied by squatters.

While it’s normally a safe environment, there can be fights brewing and Yamal’s parents had to work hard to shelter him from trouble and ensure he could fulfil his dreams of being a footballer. The Spaniard will never forget where he grew up in and pays homage to it in his 304 goal celebration. In this celebration, Lamine points to the 304 number – which was the last three digits of the postal code of Rocafonda.

Lamine joined Barcelona as a six-year-old and the La Masia academy turned him into the utmost professional in his teenage years. However, the town of Mataro still has its share of tensions spiralling out and last year, Yamal’s father was arrested by the Catalonian police – a case that was reportedly driven by racial sentiments.

A reason why the 16-year-old will forever be indebted to Barcelona is because of how the club gave him a way out of this kind of a life. Now that he’s regularly playing for one of Europe’s best teams and earning a decent £1.8 million-a-year salary – Lamine can ensure that he and his parents can enjoy the luxuries of life that evaded them when he was a little child.