Barcelona players sent a message of support to injured team-mate Ansu Fati ahead of kick-off at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium on Saturday night in La Liga.
The team walked out for the match against Atletico Madrid wearing special T-shirts with a message addressed to their 18-year-old team-mate who has been ruled out of action for four months after undergoing knee surgery.
Fati had started the season in fine form for Barcelona, scoring five goals and picking up two assists for the Catalan giants. The teenager was also named La Liga’s Player of the Month for September.
Yet the youngster’s season has been interrupted by a serious knee injury picked up last time out against Real Betis. Fati was forced off during the match and subsequently underwent surgery to repair a meniscus tear.
The injury is a big blow to Ronald Koeman’s side. Fati has become a key member of the attack since breaking into the team at the start of last season but will now miss a significant chunk of the campaign.
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Fati Finishes Second in Golden Boy Award
Fati’s form for Barcelona has been recognized by Tuttosport. The Italian newspaper organizes the Golden Boy Award which is handed out to the best player under the age of 21 playing in Europe’s top leagues.
Borussia Dortmund forward Erling Haaland was named the winner of the 2020 edition on Saturday, but Fati finished in second place ahead of Bayern Munich’s Alphonso Davies and Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho.
It’s an impressive achievement for Fati who only celebrated his 18th birthday in November and is still eligible for the award for another two years. If he can continue the form he’s shown so far in his Barcelona career he looks a good bet to win the award in the future.
Dembele and Pedri Start against Atletico
Barcelona’s clash against Atletico is the first time the team have played since Fati underwent surgery. Manager Ronald Koeman opted to go with Ousmane Dembele, Pedri, Lionel Messi, and Antoine Griezmann in his attack.
The injury to Fati means Dembele and Pedri may enjoy more game time under Koeman, while fit-again Philippe Coutinho, Francisco Trincao, and Martin Braithwaite are also options for the Dutch coach.
Yet Dembele is the one player who may catch the eye while Fati is sidelined, provided the Frenchman can stay fit. The forward offers Barca the speed, width, and skill on the ball that the team may lack in Fati’s absence.