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Tuesday September 17 2019
Ansu Fati - Barcelona's new star

16-year-old Ansu Fati is grabbing headines in Spain due to his remarkable exploits at Barcelona. David Whitworth explains the story behind the teenage star.

The Barcelona conveyor belt shows no sign of let up with the next batch of talent coming through the ranks. One of those talents has already made his mark this season and is showing all the hallmarks of a present and future star – his name is Anssumane Fati.

As most youngsters his age are studying for secondary school exams, Ansu Fati has the world at his feet playing in the first team of one of the most important clubs in football. His unexpected stardom has influenced the La Liga guide to betting and generated multiple headlines. But how did he get to this point, and more importantly, how did this happen so fast?

Rewind 16 years or so to when Fati was born in Bissau of Guinea-Bissau. A typical youngster harbouring dreams of footballing glory. A pivotal moment in his life occurred when his family uprooted to the town of Herrera, 120km from Sevilla in zouthern Spain. His father found work in association with becoming a driver to the mayor of the town, which provided supplies for his family. It is where young Ansu would grow up, develop and hone his football talents with local side CDF Herrera before Sevilla came calling.

Fast forward to 2012 and at the age of 10, the gifted winger would prepare himself for a huge footballing challenge - FC Barcelona, where he would be assigned to the club’s famed La Masia academy, a year curiously after his brother joined their youth ranks.

El Clásico rivals Real Madrid got wind of his talents and offered the family more money but Barcelona’s personal touch sealed the deal - with a home visit to fully show their intention and belief in their talented son.

Let’s be crystal clear: Barca have another star in the offing. At just 16 years and 298 days of age, he made his Barcelona debut in the Camp Nou to rapturous applause. The forward stepped in for his La Liga bow to become the club’s second youngest debutant as he took full advantage of the club’s injury crises and produced an impressive performance from the bench against Real Betis.

Remarkably, he followed this up by incredibly scoring his first goal for the club against Osasuna in El Sadar just five minutes into his substitute appearance - becoming Barcelona’s youngest ever goal scorer and La Liga’s third youngest - at remember just the tender age of 16.

To add more to his story, he then followed that up by, in his first start for Barcelona, scoring in the Camp Nou - in just the second minute - with a composed finish before setting up teammate Frenkie de Jong through a great piece of skill. In doing so, he became the youngest player in La Liga history to both score and assist in the same match.

He is making rapid progress in his short, but very successful career and is already creating a stir in world football - making history as he goes along.

Nothing seems to fluster this young jewel in the Barça ranks and the youngster has been a revelation in this fledgling La Liga season. The signs are there that he is ready to take the league by storm. Armed by a €100m buyout clause, it is obvious Barcelona believe in him, however, the club remain cautious to allow him to focus on his football amongst the natural fanfare which is around him currently.

Already another giant step maybe on the horizon with Spain coach Robert Moreno interested in calling up the winger for a future squad. Portugal too, hold hope of his selection through Guinea-Bissau being a Portuguese Colony, however, it is believed the player’s first option is the Spanish national team, having grown up from an early age on Spanish shores.

Ansu Fati will be fully aware that he is growing up with the eyes of the world watching his every move with keen interest. Naturally, this precocious talent is certainly one to watch as quite possible, the next footballing star has been born.

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