New signing, Antoine Griezmann lit up the Camp Nou with his 2 goals last weekend against Real Betis and grabbed all the headlines. But another side story which has a lot of Barcelona fans excited was the debut of teenager Ansu Fati. With his debut he became the youngest player to play for Barcelona since 1941, 78 years ago. Fati’s first coach, Jose Luiz Perez Mena speaking to agency EFE(English Source-AS), said that in his fifty years of coaching career, he had never seen anybody like him.
“I’ve been in the football game for 50 years and I’ve never seen anything like him” said the director. “He’s got huge personality, he doesn’t fear anyone and you only need to see him on the pitch to see that”,
Although in recent times, La Masia has not produced any graduates rivaling the golden generation of Lionel Messi, Gerard Pique, Cesc Fabregas and others, it is still one of the most prestigious youth setups in the world. The perceived lack of first team opportunities at Barcelona has meant that La Masia has lost some of their highest rated prospects in recent years to rival academies like they lost Xavi Simons to PSG. In fact, this trend started much earlier with likes of Cesc Fabregas and Hector Bellerin moving to Arsenal.
Ansu Fati’s rise and the fact that Valverde and Barcelona are ready to trust youngsters from La Masia might just be the catalyst for the next golden generation to emerge. Barcelona’s transfer strategy hasn’t been coherent and they haven’t been very successful in planning for the post-Messi phase as of yet. Along with Messi, Barcelona has to replace the likes of club stalwarts like Pique and Busquets and they will hope that one more golden generation from La Masia helps the club in making the transition smooth.