Ansu Fati has opened up on his relationship with captain Lionel Messi at Barcelona and one particular moment the two players shared after the youngster made his debut.
The forward made his first appearance for the club as a substitute in a 5-2 win over Real Betis in 2019 at the age of 16 years and 298 days. In doing so Fati became the second youngest player to represent the club in LaLiga and the third youngest in history.
Messi did not feature in the game, due to injury, but did take to Instagram after the match with an iconic photograph that quickly went viral and showed just how happy the captain was with Fati.
Messi’s caption read, “Great game by all, first 3 points in La Liga and very happy to see the youngsters fulfilling their dreams of reaching the first team and scoring at the Camp Nou in an official match.”
Fati has now given an interview to Esquire where he’s made it clear just what Messi’s gesture means to him. He said, “That I had that detail with me the first day I will always appreciate it. It was something very special and a joy for me and my family.”
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Ansu Talks Barcelona Shirt Numbers
Fati also spoke about shirt numbers at the Camp Nou and asked if there was “any special reason” why he wears the No.22? The youngster replied with a laugh, “No, no, no … The truth is that there were only 12, 16, 22 left … And I kept 22.”
The teenager could, of course, always change his number in future and did admit there are a couple of numbers he would like to wear. He explained, “I don’t care too much, but I would like an 11, a 9 … It’s not that it’s very important to me either.”
Martin Braithwaite is the owner of the No. 9 shirt this season after taking over from Luis Suarez after he left for Atletico Madrid last summer, while France international Ousmane Dembele wears the No. 11.
Euro Return For Ansu?
Fati remains on the sidelines for Barcelona after undergoing knee surgery in November, and there is no clear date when he will return. Coach Ronald Koeman has admitted recently the 18-year-old suffered a setback in his recovery but was unwilling to put a date on his return.
Koeman did confirm that Fati’s been training in the gym and is expected to start training outside “in a few weeks” which suggests the youngster could return before the end of the campaign.
Fati was asked about his progress and was coy on a return date but did admit he’s hoping to play for Spain in this summer’s European Championship. He said, “Maybe. I hope to get to the last leg of the season and show the coach that I can be there.”
Barca has 10 La Liga games left of the 2020-21 campaign as well as the Copa del Rey final next month. The team’s final fixture of the season is scheduled for May 23, while the delayed Euro 2020 tournament is due to kick-off on June 11.
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