Ansu Fati has been advised to stay humble by Barcelona great Lionel Messi, who the teenager would love to see alongside Cristiano Ronaldo in a five-a-side dream team.
Spain international Fati has made a huge impact at Camp Nou since bursting onto the scene in August 2019, setting a number of records along the way before being struck down by a knee injury that has ruled him out since November.
Fati is Barca’s youngest ever goalscorer, the youngest player to score and provide an assist in a single LaLiga game, the youngest Camp Nou goalscorer and the youngest player to score in a Champions League game.
Many have compared the 18-year-old’s rise to stardom as being similar to that of Messi, who has gone on to win a record six Ballons d’Or across his 17 seasons in Barca’s first team.
And La Masia product Fati, who has been nominated for the Laureus Breakthrough of the Year award, has been given guidance by Messi over the past 18 months.
“What advice has he given me? I try to transmit the same humility as he does. Despite all he has done, he is a very simple man, and the advice he gives is always about keeping your feet on the ground,” Fati said, talking to Barcelona’s official website.
“It is a dream to play with the best player in the world and learn from him in training.”
That’s our Ansu! https://t.co/TGSwq710jO
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) March 2, 2021
Fati did not name Messi as his role model – that honour instead went to brother Braima – but he did pick the Argentina international in his fantasy side, along with a group of former Barca stars and ex-Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo.
Asked to select five players, Fati said: “That would be Víctor Valdes, [Carles] Puyol, Xavi or Iniesta, Messi and Cristiano.”
Fati is not expected to return for Barcelona until the start of next season, at which point he may be joined by fellow academy product Eric Garcia, who looks set to return to the club from Manchester City.
Garcia spent close to a decade in the Catalan giants’ academy set-up and Fati has named the 20-year-old centre-back as his best team-mate.
“We have grown up together from a young age,” Fati said. “We’ve played together and he helped me get better.
“He was very hard to dribble past, and we’ve been ‘at war’ since we were kids. We’ve also played together for Spain – we were always dreaming of this as kids.”