Rising Barcelona star Ansu Fati has been granted Spanish nationality and could play for the national team this year, according to reports.
Fati – born in Guinea Bissau and who also qualifies to represent Portugal – scored and assisted on his first start for the Blaugrana in their 5-2 win over Valencia last month and his level of performance has generated a great level of excitement.
It had been thought that the Barcelona teenage sensation would be selected for the Under-17 World Cup tournament, meaning he would miss up to five weeks of action for the Blaugrana first-team.
However, Spain's youth team sporting director Francisco Hernandez said on Wednesday that he would not be included in the squad to include them for the more senior ranks: “We have taken the decision not to include him in this squad.
“This was following a wider sporting review in that we consider him in a better position to play with an older category and for that to be the case, he cannot come to the Under-17 World Cup.
“We want him to star for the senior team as soon as possible.”
The 16-year-old now looks set to be selected either for the Under-21 squad or national team – following news reported by Onda Cero – the latter of which could in itself prove somewhat controversial.
A number of players have Spanish nationalism and then played one competitive match for the senior team – ruling them out of representing other nations, such as striker Munir El Haddadi, who could not then play for Morocco.
Spain Under-17 boss David Gordo told Spanish radio Cadena Ser two weeks ago: “Ansu has the possibility of representing other nations but he has chosen Spain.
“We are doing everything possible for that to happen and we are eager to have him available as soon as possible.”