“Don’t look for anything for me, I want to stay. I want to succeed at Barça ”. Ansu Fati, at 18, is clear about his destiny. “This child has always been the same. It is very focused. Too mature for his age ”, explains a Barcelona youth football coach. Thus, after a 10-month recovery from a left knee injury, Ansu Fati has returned to a call-up for Barcelona, to play this Sunday against Levante at the Camp Nou (16.15). “His return is very important. First for the player, he was out for a long time. We follow a plan to be able to fully recover it. It will take a maximum of 15 minutes. You have to follow this plan. You have to recover it well. And avoid loading it with minutes ”, explained this Saturday the Barça coach, Ronald Koeman.
On June 15, the day of the presentation of the new Barcelona kit at the Camp Nou, Barcelona’s football director, Mateu Alemany, met Ansu Fati. According to reports from the player’s environment, the Barça executive asked him: “What do you want Ansu to do? If you are not going to renew, I am going to have to find a solution for you this summer ”. The Barça youth squad was blunt: he didn’t even think about moving from Barça. Fati’s words sounded like a balm for the sports management, who passed those of Cain to renew the other pearl of the quarry: Ilaix Moriba.
Moriba and Fati were always very close friends. They have similar cultures and an unusual talent. However, their personalities are opposite. “Ilaix listened to his father and his agent. He ended up at Red Bull when he could start at Barcelona. Ansu is the opposite. He’s a kid who knows what he wants. He is the one in charge at home ”, they explain in the Barça sports area. Fati asked his agent, Jorge Mendes, to extend his contract at Barcelona. The player, when he was still advised by Rodrigo Messi, brother of the former Barça captain, signed in 2019 a link until 2022 with an option to extend it until 2024 if the club so desired. At Barça they had no doubts: they want to shield Ansu. “It will have a new status. It is better to do it now and not in two years. It must be renewed for five years ”, they explain in the offices of the Sports City.
Ansu Fati’s new contract is not official yet. What is already certain, however, is that the youth squad accepted what no one dared to take in the Barcelona dressing room: number 10. “That was another sample of this kid’s personality,” the same sources underline. When Messi’s goodbye was finalized, the Argentine invited his friends to his home in Castelldefels. At dinner, Jordi Alba suggested that Leo leave the 10th to his friend Agüero. Messi laughed. “Let him do what he wants,” replied the Rosario. However, when Barcelona offered Kun to inherit his friend’s jersey, the former City striker refused. “Out of respect for Leo, he could not accept it,” they say from Agüero’s surroundings.
Second on the list was Coutinho. Nor did he accept. At Barça, then, they looked at their child prodigy. According to the locker room, Fati said yes. “But first I want to ask the captains. If they agree, no problem ”, asked Ansu. Busquets, Piqué, Roberto and Alba did not present any opposition. “He took on the responsibility of accepting number 10. Something that players with a lot of experience did not dare to do. He left Rodrigo Messi, with all that that meant. He remained calm in an injury that was to last three months and ended up being 10. Mentally, Ansu is top”, They conclude in the sports area.
Ansu Fati’s injury was one of the recurring themes in the last year at Ciudad Deportiva. Beyond the accusations made between doctors and recuperators, the four interventions on the youth squad’s left knee put a question on the table: How will he reappear? “He’s working well, he’s trying hard, but he won’t be the same again from one day to the next. You will need many matches. We will have to be patient ”, understands one of the heavyweights in the locker room. Fati broke his meniscus on November 7 against Betis. The last operation was done in Portugal after following the advice of Jorge Mendes. For the recovery he settled in Madrid. “I wanted to be calm and work hard,” say those who know him.
In December 2015, when he was playing cadet B in a derby against Espanyol, Fati broke his tibia and fibula. At that time, he was also unemployed for about 10 months. “It was difficult for him to get back to his level. But when he did, no one stopped him ”, explain sources close to the Barça youth squad. Fati returned and began to play with children her age. A rarity for the player of Guinean origin, who had always been ahead of the game. Already in full shape, Juvenil A was his turn. In 2019, he barely played in the team then led by Víctor Valdés. He did the preseason with the subsidiary and immediately Ernesto Valverde caught him for the first team.
Observer, but not shy. Temperamental, but not overbearing. Ansu conquered the dressing room of the first team. “Now he looks a little looser, but he continues to be the typical Masia boy. He doesn’t have a luxury car, he goes with the one the club gave him. He is not dressed in ostentatious clothes. Is centered. But it is not new, it was always the same. Now it’s time for him to recover and not put any added pressure on him ”, they emphasize in the sports department. Ansu receives the medical discharge and Barcelona celebrates it. Few times the return of a youth squad was so eagerly awaited. But Fati is different, by personality, also by game. Not in vain did he inherit the number 10.
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