Photos of Lionel Messi with Spain's Lamine Yamal as a baby resurface

Photographs showing one of football's greatest-ever players holding the prodigy who could now challenge his achievements have been widely shared on social media.

The snaps show Argentina's Lionel Messi holding a baby - which has turned out to be none other than Lamine Yamal, the 16-year-old Spanish right-winger.

Having already become Spain's youngest ever player, Yamal went on to become the youngest ever at a European Championship at Euro 2024 in Germany this summer.

And on Tuesday, a breathtaking strike from the youngster helped send Spain into the Euro 2024 final, as he helped his team beat France 2-1.

A photo of Messi and Yamal, taken in 2007, drew attention after it was posted on Instagram by Yamal's father, Mounir Nasraoui, last week with the caption: "The beginning of two legends."

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One image shows Yamal - who was only a few months old - in a blue plastic bathtub, with Messi smiling and holding out his hand to the child.

Yamal's mother stands alongside the pair.

It was one of multiple shots taken during a photo shoot in the visitors' locker room at Barcelona's Camp Nou in the autumn of 2007.

Yamal has gone on to represent Barcelona, just as Messi did.

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'They won the raffle'

Photographer Joan Monfort, who was in charge of the shoot, said Barcelona's players at the time posed with children and their families for a calendar as part of an annual charity drive by local newspaper Diario Sport and UNICEF.

It just so happened that Yamal was paired with a then 20-year-old Messi.

"UNICEF did a raffle in the neighbourhood of Roca Fonda in Mataro where Lamine's family lived. They signed up for the raffle to have their picture taken at the Camp Nou with a Barca player. And they won the raffle," Mr Monfort said.

Photoshoot 'was complicated'

Another shows Messi sitting on the floor with Yamal in the bath while a third is Messi holding a towel-wrapped Yamal.

"He [Messi] didn't even know how to hold him at first," Mr Monfort said, recalling the difficulties of the shoot.

"Messi is a pretty introverted guy, he's shy. He was coming out of the locker room and suddenly he finds himself in another locker room with a plastic tub full of water and a baby in it. It was complicated."

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Like Messi before him, Yamal went on to Barcelona's renowned La Masia youth academy.

In April 2023 Yamal made his debut for Barcelona against Real Betis in La Liga.

Messi won the Champions League four times with the club and was widely seen as the best player in the world during a decorated career in Spain.