The Barcelona and Spain international prodigy has been beset by a series of injury setbacks over the past year but his Brazilian teammate offered words of encouragement
Dani Alves has called on teenage Barcelona forward Ansu Fati to emulate the achievements of Lionel Messi to help overcome his injury problems at the club.
After a breakthrough 2019/20 campaign at Camp Nou as a young prodigy, Fati suffered back-to-back serious knee injuries and has subsequently been hampered by various muscular issues. The 19-year-old has been involved in just five league matches since November 2020 and has endured his fair share of injury torment
Alves became the first signing of coach Xavi Hernandez at Camp Nou and the right-back was one of a quartet of January arrivals who have transformed Xavi’s Barcelona – the club are undefeated in La Liga since early December. After signing Alves, Barca completed the signing of Ferran Torres from Manchester City and then secured the loan signing of La Masia graduate Adama Traore from Wolves before clinching the signing of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Alves has grown close to Fati since the move.
Fati is the youngest player to play for Barca in 80 years while he was the youngest Spain international player to play for the side in 85 years. He is the youngest ever scorer for both club and country, the youngest ever player to score and assist in a La Liga match, the youngest ever scorer in an El Clasico fixture and the youngest ever player to score in the Champions League.
Alves told a recent interview with Diario Sport : “Me and Ansu talk a lot because he also speaks Portuguese and that common point has brought us together quite a bit. He has a great projection and he is a spectacular boy. He has a huge heart. His family is helping him a lot. You have to face life with personality and serenity, which is what he has done. To detect the problem and work to solve it. Leo was also injured a lot at the beginning and found the answer to his setbacks. When Ansu does it, he will be able to have more continuity.”
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The Brazilian full-back also made the comparison between the youngster and his former Barca teammate Samuel Eto’o: “Ansu was born to score goals. He reminds me a lot of Samuel Eto’o. He is a machine for destroying defences. I think he can also define an era, a special history within Barça. It will depend, like the rest of the youngsters, on whether he takes the right path and optimises his qualities. Fame is the greatest distraction in life. You have to know how to master it.”
It is not yet clear when Fati will return to first-team action for Barca, after a brief return to the squad in January before suffering a fresh injury setback. With the arrivals of Aubameyang and Torres, he will have a fight on his hands to claim a place in Xavi’s starting line-up.