The last name to be read out by Luis Enrique in his World Cup squad to head to Qatar, perhaps Ansu Fati was the most surprising too.
The 20-year-old had not appeared for Spain since October of 2020 having been hampered by injuries for the best part of a year-and-a-half, including almost all of last season.
In the summer, he joined up with the Spain squad, but did not play for Luis Enrique, several weeks after being declared fit again. This season he has remained fit, but has featured just 5 times from the start for Barcelona. He was also left out of Spain’s squad for their Nations League fixtures in September.
No wonder the emotion was that much extra when he found out then. Fati reportedly broke down in tears after finding out and was received with no shortage of fanfare by his family when he returned home.
🥳👏 Así celebró Ansu Fati y su familia la llamada de Luis Enrique para ir al Mundial con la @SEFutbol
— Mundo Deportivo (@mundodeportivo) November 12, 2022
Speaking to RAC1, in an interview carried by MD, his father Bori Fati was full of energy while speaking about his son.
“If you see Ansu today, it seems that he has been reborn again because they have really given him confidence.”
He also praised Ansu’s attitude and dedication after a brutal spell on the sidelines at such a young age.
“We are talking about a boy from Masia, who is from Barça, who has dazzled at 16 years of age. They know the ordeal he has been through, for everything he has had to go through. But he gets up every day and overcomes that, every day, every day… So what does this kid need? There is Luis Enrique, he has shown it.”
It could be taken as a criticism of Xavi Hernandez, his club manager. Fati has appeared in every Barcelona game this season, but often sparingly, and Xavi has been reluctant to use him for big games.
In those appearances, Fati has three goals and three assists, although he has undoubtedly looked rusty at various stages too.