You must have heard this name repeatedly this weekend, and there is a reason behind that. There is a lot of excitement in Barcelona and all over the world, around Anssumane ‘’Ansu’’ Fati.
Ansu Fati came close to breaking a 78 years record in Barcelona. The Guinean born is now the second-youngest player to start for the Blaugrana, aged 16 years and 300 days. A record held by Vincenç Martinez Alama who was 16 and 280 days when he started for the Catalans back in 1941.
Given the absence of Leo Messi, Luis Suarez and Ousmane Dembele due to injury, Barça’s coach Ernesto Valverde, gave the youngster his first-ever first-team call-up.
Ansu Fati came to Spain at the age of six and has been enrolled with the youth sections of FC Sevilla. His speed, agility and ability to dribble past defenders on both wings caught the eye of both La Liga giants. Although Real Madrid gave him better conditions, Barcelona managed to convince him and his father to join their side.
Since then, the young talent has been playing with the U18 team, currently coached by ex-Barça goalkeeper Victor Valdes. Valdes congratulated Ansu on his call-up, ahead of a possible debut, telling him to ‘Enjoy the Camp Nou’ and to ‘Remember that at the end of the day, it’s just football’.
Fati was promoted this summer to play with Barça B, however he hasn’t played a single game for them yet. Which means he went straight up from the U18 to the first team. A clear sign of the faith the club has in his potential.
Ansu Fati made his official debut against Betis Sevilla, in the 77th minute, coming on for Carles Perez, another ‘Canterano’. Although he said in a post-match interview that ‘he felt very nervous’, the impressions from the stands were different. He occupied that left flank brilliantly, combined perfectly with his teammates, and came close to scoring on one of his first touches.
Bori Fati, Ansu’s father was very emotional after the game. “Now I can die in peace”, he expressed. Bori explained to the press, how hard it was for him and his son to get to this point. “After Sevilla knew about the contacts made with Barcelona, they sanctioned Ansu for a whole year, keeping him off the pitch” He added.
Ansu received a very special message on Twitter after the game, from the Argentinian number ten, Lionel Messi. Leo said that he was ‘Very happy to see young players reaching their dream of playing for the first team’.
Valverde kept the young player with the squad in Monday’s training session, ahead of next week’s game against Osasuna.
Despite the fact that all the signs foresee a bright future for Ansu Fati, expectations should remain moderate so we don’t see yet another talent gone to waste. Many names come to mind when we read about a new ‘Messi’. Bojan Krkic, Jeffren Suarez, Christian Tello or Adama Traore to name a few. Could Fati be the first to truly emulate the magic Argentinian?
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