10th October, 2019
With FIFA having given the all clear for Ansu Fati to play for Spain, a new question has naturally come up. That question is “in which of the Spanish National Football Teams is he going to play?”
The initial indications naturally pointed at the Under-17 squad but recent feelers are now pointing to the very Senior Team. The 16-year-old became a Spanish resident last month, but football’s governing body needed to ensure he was eligible to represent his adopted country.
Even though the 16-year-old forward was born in Guinea-Bissau, he became a Spanish national, receiving his citizenship in September 2019.
However, world football governing body, FIFA needed to clarify that he had not represented the country of his birth, and now that they are satisfied, he is clear to represent his adopted homeland.
Unfortunately, the paperwork came too late for Fati to be included in the Spain Under-21 squad for their match with Montenegro on October 15 while he was not selected for the U17 World Cup, which will be played in Brazil between October 26 and November 17.
That is some good news for Barcelona as he will now remain with the Blaugrana during that period and could even feature in the first Clasico of the season, which will take place on the first day of the U-17 tournament.
Even though the chances are high that Fati will join up with Luis de la Fuente’s U21 squad for matches with North Macedonia and Israel in November, there is speculation that Robert Moreno may call him up for the first team as they face Malta and Romania on November 15 and 18 respectively.
If it so happens that Fati succeeds in making the jump to the senior side it would represent another milestone in a meteoric rise to prominence for the youngster.
Fati had appeared to be a long way from the first team at Camp Nou to start the season, but then an injury crisis forced head coach Ernesto Valverde to give the teenager a chance to prove his worth.
Ansu has not looked back since then as has put in very impressive performances for the Barca first team and even earned himself a start in the Champions’ League game against Borussia Dortmund
His opportunity had come with Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Ousmane Dembele’s absences which left the coach with no choice but to look to Barcelona B for forward options.
The youngster only trained with the first team four days before making his La Liga debut against Real Betis on August 25, becoming the second-youngest player to represent the Catalan giants. His youth also meant he needed parental permission to make his Primera Division bow.
Then came his first start, later the same week, against Osasuna, which saw him become Barcelona’s youngest ever La Liga goalscorer, and the third youngest in the competition’s history.
The Champions League game he started against Borussia Dortmund made him the youngest Barca player ever to do so, and third youngest in the history of Europe’s elite club competition.
Since he is now eligible to play for Spain, an appearance at next summer’s European Championships would cap off a historic season for the starlet for sure.