Wonderkid: Barcelona's Ansu Fati

The "jewel of La Masia", Ansu Fati scored his first Barcelona goal aged just 16 on Saturday.

Ansu Fati celebrates after scoring against Osasuna
Ansu Fati celebrates after scoring against Osasuna ©AFP/Getty Images

If Ansu Fati's surprise debut for Barcelona last weekend aged just 16 years and 298 days old generated plenty of excitement, imagine what Saturday's fine header against Osasuna will do? UEFA.com gets the lowdown on a youngster labelled the "jewel of La Masia".

Name: Ansu Fati
Club: Barcelona
Debut: 25 August 2019 v Real Betis (Liga)
Position: forward
Born: 31 October 2002
Preferred foot: right
Height: 178cm

They say …

Fati's UEFA Youth League wondergoal
Fati's UEFA Youth League wondergoal

"I've been watching football for 50 years and I've never seen anyone like him. He's got a great personality; he's not scared of anyone."
Fati's first coach, José Luis Pérez Mena, from Escuela de Fútbol Peloteros de Herrera

"He's pure anarachy when he plays, and you needs to give these kinds of talents liberty, not hide them out wide: they need to do what's natural to them. He's the jewel of La Masia."
Former Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdés, the club's current U19 coach

"He came over here aged six. I'd come over before and didn't know that he played football. Everyone told me I had no idea how good my son was, he ran rings round everyone."
Ansu's father Bori Fati

Background …

Ansu Fati: plenty to smile about
Ansu Fati: plenty to smile about©Getty Images

Born in Guinea-Bissau, Fati was six when the family joined his father in Herrera, 120km from Seville. He started his youth career with the Andalusian club, before switching to Barcelona aged 10. Promoted to the U19s this summer, when injuries to Lionel Messi, Luis Suárez and Ousmane Dembélé left Ernesto Valverde short of striking options, and the coach decided to reward the youngster's progress with a call-up.

Playing style …

"He's a player who can lose his man, he's quick and loves one-on-ones," Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde said as he explained why he'd selected his youngest ever debutant. Fati shone in last season's UEFA Youth League and has a reputation for shooting on sight, though a switch to the wings helped him showcase an obvious talent for picking out a pass.

Eureka moment …

Fati shoots against Betis
Fati shoots against Betis©Getty Images

On 25 August, with early-season injuries biting, Fati became Barcelona's youngest Liga player in 78 years when he replaced Carles Perez with 15 minutes remaining of the 5-2 win against Real Betis. He did not look daunted, following it up six days later with his first senior goal.

Did you know ...

Fati, who signed a new deal in July tying him to Barça until 2022, comes from a footballing family. Older brother Brahima, 21, also came through the Barcelona system before joining Calhorra this summer, while younger brother Miguel plays in the same youth team as Messi's son, Thiago.

He says …

"The dream of any boy at La Masia is to debut at the Camp Nou. Sharing the stage with the best players in the world was an unforgettable experience."

Top