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Morocco not trying to lure Yamal – federation statement



LaLiga - Granada v FC Barcelona - Nuevo Estadio de Los Carmenes, Granada, Spain - October 8, 2023 FC Barcelona's Lamine Yamal celebrates scoring their first goal REUTERS/Jon Nazca/File Photo Acquire Licensing Rights

Morocco are not still trying to persuade Barcelona’s Lamine Yamal to play for them and they respect his decision to represent Spain, the Moroccan football federation said on Tuesday.

Yamal, who has a Moroccan father, was born and raised in Spain and has become a key part of Barca’s forward line and made his senior debut for Spain last month.

Spanish newspaper AS reported on Tuesday that Morocco, who will stage the 2030 World Cup along with Spain and Portugal, are trying to convince Yamal to switch allegiance.

The report said he had previously rejected a financial offer to play for Morocco.

“The Royal Moroccan Federation confirms that what was stated in this article is false and not based on any evidence, as we have respected the choices of the player Lamine Yamal, like other players of Moroccan origin who chose other teams,” the Moroccan federation said in a statement.


FIFA rules say that players can switch international allegiance as long as they have made fewer than three appearances for a country before the age of 21 and have not played for that nation for at least three years.

Yamal needs to play one more game for Spain before he is unable to switch to Morocco.

The Spain winger became LaLiga’s youngest goalscorer aged 16 years and 87 days when he netted for Barcelona against Granada on Sunday.

Yamal, who in August set the record as Barca’s youngest debutant in an official match, became Spain’s youngest ever international and scorer at 16 years and 57 days when he made his debut away to Georgia in a Euro 2024 qualifier in September.

Against Granada, he scored in first-half stoppage time when LaLiga champions Barcelona were trailing 2-0. The match ended 2-2.


Yamal broke the record held by Malaga’s Fabrice Olinga, who scored against Celta Vigo in 2012 aged 16 years and 98 days.

Yamal has played two matches with Spain, but injury kept him out of the squad preparing to face Scotland and Norway in Euro 2024 qualifiers this month.




Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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