Youngest players in the history of La Liga

Lamine Yamal may be the youngest player to feature in La Liga for Barcelona but he is not the most junior player in the history of the competition
Lamine Yamal may be the youngest player to feature in La Liga for Barcelona but he is not the most junior player in the history of the competition / Alex Caparros/GettyImages

The legendary Real Madrid player Alfredo Di Stefano dipped his toe into management but wasn't entirely enamoured with the cut-throat business.

The Blonde Arrow complained that "apart from working with the young, it's the most horrible profession that could exist".

Across the near century of La Liga's existence, certain coaches have shown the same fondness for moulding junior talent in their own image, coming across prodigies deemed mature enough to mix it in the Spanish top flight while deep in the midst of their teenage years.

Here are the youngest players ever to grace a senior La Liga match.

5. Lamine Yamal (Barcelona) - 15 years, 9 months, 16 days

The first-ever 15-year-old to appear for Barcelona in the Spanish top flight was already lauded as a player "that can define an era at this club" by his manager Xavi after making his debut against Real Betis in April 2023. No pressure.

4. Oscar Ramon (Real Zaragoza) - 15 years, 9 months, 15 days

The only senior La Liga appearance of Oscar Ramon's entire career lasted less than 500 seconds. However, it was enough to earn him a spot in the history books.

With seven minutes to play of Real Zaragoza's trip to Camp Nou in September 1984, Enzo Ferrari turned to the 15-year-old. Terry Venables' Barcelona were already leading 4-0 but Ramon did have a front-row seat to see Antonio Mayer earn a straight red card seconds after the teenager's arrival.

Ramon moved to Atletico Madrid's youth team but couldn't hold down a place, bouncing around Spain's lower tiers, forever only remembered for one fleeting appearance.

3. Pedro Irastorza (Real Sociedad) - 15 years, 9 months, 13 days

Eight minutes into Real Sociedad's trip to Valencia in 1935, the visitors' defence had already been breached. La Real would ultimately finish on the wrong side of a 7-1 thrashing as a cross-generational backline evidently did not mesh; Pedro Irastorza was just 16 when he lined up alongside 48-year-old Harry Lowe that day.

It remains the biggest age gap between teammates in the history of La Liga. However, Irastorza was, in a way, the more experienced member of the mismatched duo given he had already racked up ten La Liga appearances whereas Lowe was making his competitive debut in Spanish football.

2. Sanson (Celta Vigo) - 15 years, 8 months, 11 days

Francisco Bao Rodriguez, nicknamed Sanson - the Spanish version of the mythical figure Samson - in honour of his superhuman feats, held the record of La Liga's youngest player for more than 80 years after debuting as a starter in a 4-1 win for Celta Vigo over Sevilla on the last day of 1939.

Capable of playing "defence, midfield and striker" - by his own reckoning - Sanson left his beloved Celta in search of regular football before returning as a wisened 26-year-old, with a bandana wrapped around his head and ready to fill in anywhere.

1. Luka Romero (Mallorca) - 15 years, 7 months, 6 days

Luka Romero
The then-15-year-old made history by trotting on against Real Madrid in June 2020 / Quality Sport Images/GettyImages

To make your debut as a 15-year-old is daunting enough, but away to the mighty Real Madrid is arguably the biggest stage in Spanish football.

However, Mallorca's Luka Romero was not subjected to an utter sensory overload as the junior's senior bow came in the midst of lockdown football, when Madrid played in the empty stands of their training pitch, fittingly named after the ultimate appreciator of youth, Alfredo Di Stefano.