'Beginning of two legends': Old photoshoot of Messi with baby Lamine Yamal goes viral

20 year-old Messi with Lamine Yamal. Credit: AP

A 17-year-old photo of a young Lionel Messi with Spanish footballer Lamine Yamal as a baby has gone viral.

The youngest player ever in the Euros playing for Spain, Yamal, 16, was just a few months old in 2007 when he was pictured with a 20-year-old Messi in a charity calendar.

The photos, captured by the Associated Press’ Joan Monfort, resurfaced after Yamal’s father posted it on Instagram with the caption: “The beginning of two legends”.

Messi with baby Lamine Yamal in 2007. Credit: AP

Monfort said the photoshoot took place in the visitors’ locker room at Barcelona’s Camp Nou while Messi was playing for the team.

He said players posed with children and their families for a calendar as part of an annual charity drive by local newspaper Diario Sport and UNICEF.

And just by chance, Messi was paired with Yamal and his mother, who had won the opportunity in a raffle.

“We made the calendar with the help of UNICEF. So UNICEF did a raffle in the neighbourhood of Roca Fonda in Mataró where Lamine’s family lived,” he explained.

“They signed up for the raffle to have their picture taken at the Camp Nou with a Barca player. And they won the raffle."

Monfort added that Messi was unsure how to interact with baby Yamal, who was in a plastic tub during the shoot.

He said: “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. He didn’t even know how to hold him at first."

Lamine Yamal is now 16-years-old. Credit: PA

In 2007, Messi was already a rising star and would later be named the world's best player a record eight times by FIFA.

Yamal, like Messi, came up through Barcelona’s renowned La Masia youth academy.

Despite his age, he is considered one of Spain’s top players as they prepare for their Euro semi-final clash against France on Tuesday.

Monfort, 56, had no idea it was Yamal in those photos until a friend messaged him when they started trending online.

Lionel Messi with Yamal and his mother. Credit: AP

Since 1991, he has had a long career as a sports photographer, following Barcelona around the world, but said he has never experienced this level of excitement around any of his photos.

He said: “It’s very exciting to be associated with something that has caused such a sensation. To tell you the truth it’s a very nice feeling.”

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