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Ansu Fati
Football La Liga

Will Barca wonderkid Ansu Fati emerge as Messi’s heir or perish?

Ansu Fati
Getty Images.

As the Camp Nou leapt in celebration to celebrate another Barcelona goal against Valencia, the moment marked the arrival of yet another wonderkid on the big stage. Anssumane Fati Vieira, a kid from Guinea-Bissau who joined La Masia from the youth ranks of Seville, felt on top of the world. He had every reason after becoming the youngest player to score at the Camp Nou.

“He came over here aged six. I’d come over before and didn’t know that he played football,” said his father Bori Fati.

“Everyone told me I had no idea how good my son was, he ran rings round everyone.” he added.

Fati aged 16 years, 10 months and 13 days scripted history, further became the youngest player in the history of the La Liga, to score and assist in the same match. The winger made his first La Liga debut appearance against Real Betis at the tender age of 16 as a substitute. He further became the second-youngest player to debut for the Blaugrana. That performance gave the world an early glimpse of his immense talent and ability to change the game.

“A Star Is Born In Catalonia,” the headlines read.

Fati did his glowing reputation no harm during his UCL debut against Borussia Dortmund, displaying a lot of courage. The 17-year-old’s performance in one of the world’s toughest stadiums, against the yellow wall made the night one to remember for fans.

Poisoned Chalice – Curse in disguise?

However, the emergence of a star from the La Masia is invariably accompanied by comparisons to Lionel Messi, elevating anxiety and placing heavy pressure on the shoulders of the young lad. Bojan Krkic and Ibrahim Afellay are a few examples of players who have succumbed to the wonder kid curse. Considering this, it is important for Barcelona to take care of their future star in an astute manner to avoid an unfortunate eventuality.

What can Barcelona do to help Fati?

The first step in this regard would be to integrate Fati slowly into the team by providing the youngster proper game time. It should be done in such a manner that the senior players are provided proper rest and relaxation. The 17-year-old needs to further enjoy regular game-time under Francisco Javier García Pimienta for the Barcelona B side, in order to ensure that he does not decline on the bench like Carles Aleñá.

The fans and media need to further develop a healthy attitude towards the youngster, by allowing him to settle properly with proper encouragement when he’s on the field. Ansu is showing a lot of confidence at 17. However, he cannot compete with Ousmane Dembele and Antoine Griezmann every week. In such a situation, the winger needs to make full use of the excellent platform available to him on the international level in the form of his selection for the Spain under-21 team.

“I’ve been watching football for 50 years and I’ve never seen anyone like him. He’s got a great personality; he’s not scared of anyone,” said Fati’s first coach, José Luis Pérez Mena.

Victor Valdés, the club’s current U19 coach further hailed Fati as pure anarchy.

“He’s pure anarachy when he plays, and you needs to give these kinds of talents liberty. He’s the jewel of La Masia,” he enthused.

Can Fati live up to these plaudits? Only time will tell.

Written By: Maneesh Aucharla.


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