Football

Barca teen sensation Ansu Fati in line to play for Spain

La Roja coach Moreno reveals they are trying to get Guinea-Bissau-born forward, 16, on board

Barcelona's teenage sensation Ansu Fati is already being considered for the Spain team, coach Robert Moreno said after the 16-year-old forward lit up the Nou Camp with a superb display in his side's rampant 5-2 win over Valencia yesterday morning (Singapore time).

Having already become Barca's youngest scorer when he netted against Osasuna two weeks ago, Fati became the youngest player to score in La Liga at the Nou Camp when he opened the scoring in the second minute with a first-time shot.

The goal had the injured Lionel Messi grinning in admiration as he watched on from the stands, but the teenager had fans on their feet again five minutes later as he dashed into the area and teed up Frenkie de Jong to score his first goal for the club.

Kevin Gameiro pulled one back for Valencia, but Gerard Pique made it 3-1 after the break.

Fati continued to torment the visitors until he was substituted by Luis Suarez, who scored a double to extend their lead before Maxi Gomez netted a consolation strike for Valencia.

Spain coach Moreno was among those in the Nou Camp crowd enraptured by Fati, who was born in Guinea-Bissau but moved to Spain aged six, and he said the federation was working to ensure he could be available to play for the national team.

"I'm not involved in the process but the federation is working on bringing Ansu Fati into the Spain team and then it will be the player's decision," Moreno said.

"The federation always works to ensure Spain has the best players. It's very exciting for Barca to have a player who has come through La Masia (the club's academy) doing so well but he must ensure he doesn't get carried away, he must stay calm."

Barca coach Ernesto Valverde also praised Fati for his rapid rise from the club's youth set-up into the first team.

"It's not easy to develop into a Barca player so quickly but he is very focused and he is doing well," he said.

"It's not normal for a player to score with their first action, then get an assist with his second and nearly score with his third.

"We want him to get to know the level he is playing at, to keep developing and keep working so he can contribute even more for us."

Barca's win means they are three points behind leaders Sevilla, who pipped Alaves 1-0 last night to take over top spot from Atletico Madrid.

Diego Simeone's men lost 2-0 to Real Sociedad, who scored through former Real Madrid midfielder Martin Odegaard and ex-Arsenal left-back Nacho Monreal.

Real, meanwhile, are third, just a point behind Atletico after a 3-2 win over Levante last Saturday, thanks to a double by Karim Benzema. - REUTERS

Football