For which country is Ansu Fati playing

Ansu Fati - now Spain also has a Pelé

Fati is only 17 years old and is supposed to solve the problems of the Spanish national football team in attack - on Saturday he will face Switzerland in the Nations League in Madrid.

It is part of Ansu Fati that he does not hide his qualities for long. At FC Barcelona he needed a good quarter of an hour for his first league goal last year. In the Champions League he became the youngest scorer in the history of the competition after 85 minutes.

The 17-year-old made his debut for the Spanish team in September as the youngest professional since 1936. In the first Nations League game in Germany (1-1), two goals were canceled after being substituted on, and in the second match against Ukraine (4: 0) he took the penalty with the first touch of the ball to make it 1-0 and scored the 3-0 with a fine flick. For the third game against Switzerland on Saturday in Madrid, the Selección comes with a new star. If not, as «El Mundo» proclaims, a «Spanish Pelé».

Naturalized in a fast-track process

While Pelé became world champion at the same age, Fati's still childlike face graces the front pages of the Spanish sports press. Ansu here, Ansu there - also in the Madrid media, which otherwise have reservations among the Barça professionals.

Fati chose Spain from three alternatives, he could also have run for his native Guinea-Bissau or for Portugal: this is where his father emigrated before he settled across the border in the Andalusian town of Herrera. The family soon followed him, but he had no inkling of the talent of the then six-year-old Ansu. One morning he dropped him off at the sports field on his way to work. When he came back in the evening, half the village was standing at the door to bring the news of his child prodigy.

Ansu has been with prematurity ever since: At seven he was signed by Sevilla FC, at nine he had the choice between Barça and Real Madrid, and not even a tibia and fibula fracture at the age of 13 prevented him from jumping further categories. After his first league goals in September 2019, the Spanish government naturalized him in a fast-track procedure, and now he is shouldering the longing for a return to missing successes before he comes of age.

Why this is so revealed on Wednesday a test match in Portugal (0-0), in which Fati was spared for the Nations League. Spain made more for the game, but their opponents had better chances with two crossbar shots. The lack of penetration is a constant theme in the kingdom. Even on the way to the 2010 World Cup, there was a 1-0 draw against Switzerland - in the last competitive match between the two teams to date - Spain scored only eight times in the following six victories. David Villa scored five goals - since his departure they have been waiting for a top-class goal getter who both understands and refines the Selección's midfield-heavy game.

"Every coach would like to have a Kane, Suárez or van Basten, but we don't have him," said national coach Luis Enrique these days frankly. So he has to develop variants. The athletic sensation Adama Traoré (24, Wolverhampton), a muscle pack with amazing acceleration, plays a role in this, he made a strong debut against Portugal in the last half hour. Ferran Torres (20, Manchester City) is another winger who is highly talented. However, only Ansu promises the goal odds of a center forward.

The eulogies of the press

He, too, prefers to come from below or from outside rather than occupying the storm center. He connects instinct and efficiency with classic goal getters. For ten goals in the Spanish league - three in three games this season - he only needed 18 shots on goal. He showed himself to be enormously variable. His hits include headers, direct tapping, long-range shots; In addition, his ability to create his own chances by dribbling or kicking in is impressive.

Luis Enrique devoted himself extensively to the teenager at the latest squad presentation. In addition to Fati's sovereignty at the end of the course, he emphasized characteristics atypical of age such as understanding of the game and confidence in combinations. "It is evident that this is a special player," said Enrique, adding: "Part of his learning process will be dealing with the eulogies of the press. If I were a journalist, however, I would also write some. "