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A doctored image used to claim Barcelona’s footballer is 20 years old

  Claim: A Facebook post has claimed that Barcelona Football Club’s wonder kid, Lamine Yamal lied about his age. The post suggested that he would…

 

Claim: A Facebook post has claimed that Barcelona Football Club’s wonder kid, Lamine Yamal lied about his age. The post suggested that he would be 20 years old in July 2024.

Verdict: False. A Google Reverse Image search on the image used in the post  indicated that the document was doctored to change his year of birth from 2007 to 2005.

Full text

A Facebook page, Football Farm posted a document claiming that an investigation had been launched to determine the age of Barcelona football Club’s Lamine Yamal. The document declared that the footballer, whose official age is 16 years but would be 17 by July, was born in 2005 instead of 2007 known to the public. It suggested that his age was 19 years, with a few months to be 20.

The document was purported to be from the Catalan Football Federation (FCF) showing the footballer’s personal details when Barcelona FC signed him during the 2013/2014 football season.

The post was captioned: “Sources confirm an official investigation on Lamine Yamal’s age is pending. Timelines and school records verify he is soon to be 20 years old, not 16 as previously claimed.”

It added that the document, which showed when FC Barcelona signed Lamine Yamalin in 2013, indicated that his age was 8 years old, thereby confirming the speculation that he would be turning 20 years of age in 2024 instead of the 17 years he officially claims.

The claim was also found on and Facebook, claiming the same narrative that the footballer falsified his age.

Another X account claimed that an “Old newspaper confirms he was 10 years old in 2015, meaning he will turn 19 and not 17 this year.  Barcelona has been committing age fraud!”

Daily Trust on Sunday decided to investigate this claim because of its potential to misinform the public.

Verification

A Google Reverse Image search churned several online posts mentioning the topic. An article by a Spanish publication, 101 Noticias, detailed Lamine’s journey into a professional footballer.

The article, published in 2023, also contained the shared document. However, the document had the player’s date of birth as 13-07-2005.

The document was published in the article in 2023, but the one shared with the date of birth of 13-07-2005 appeared in March 2024 to push the narrative of Yamal being two years older. This shows that the latter was produced by changing the 7 (in 2007) on the former to 5 (to read 2005) to push the narrative that he reduced his age.

Similarly, a fact check published by Maldita.es concluded that the second claim that an old newspaper confirmed Lamine was 10 years old in 2015 was false.

The fact check noted that the photograph in the newspaper was from a publication from Newspaper Sport in December 2017. It added, “Reference to his 10 years does not contradict Yamal’s age, 16 years in 2024.”

A check on the Facebook handle of Barcelona also corroborated that the player is 16 years of age.

The club made a post on July 13, 2023 to celebrate the player reaching 16.

Also, a tweet posted on the club’s X handle on January 22 stated that “Lamine Yamal, at the age of 16 years and 192 days, and Pau Cubarsí (16 years and 364 days), made history by starting in the first 11 that featured two U-17s, a first in this century.”

Conclusion

The claim that FC Barcelona’s player, Lamine Yamal, falsified his age to be two years younger is false. The materials used to accompany the claim were doctored and falsified to give credence to the information.

This report was produced for the DUBAWA 2024 Kwame Karikari Fact-Checking Fellowship in partnership with Daily Trust Newspapers to facilitate the ethos of truth in journalism and enhance media literacy in Nigeria.

 

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