Barcelona secured their first LaLiga win of the season on Sunday, running out 5-2 winners over Real Betis at Camp Nou.
Antoine Griezmann grabbed the headlines after scoring his first goals for the club, but there was an introduction from the bench in the 78th minute that gave a tantalising glimpse into the club’s future.
Ansu Fati, just 16, was brought on to replace Carles Perez and became the second youngest player to feature in LaLiga in the club’s history behind Vicente Martinez, who was 18 days younger when he played against Real Madrid in October 1941.
Born in Guinea-Bissau, Ansu arrived at Barca in 2013 at the age of 10 and has impressed at every level since then, recently signing a deal that will keep him at the club until June 2022.
2 – Anssumane Fati (16 ans et 298 jours) est devenu le 2e plus jeune joueur de l’histoire de Barcelone à jouer en Liga, après Vicenç Martinez contre le Real Madrid en octobre 1941 (16 ans et 280 jours). Audace.#BarcaBetis pic.twitter.com/4YX4pJXMNb
— OptaJean (@OptaJean) August 25, 2019
Playing for the club’s Juvenil A under-18 side, Ansu was not expected to feature for the first team for some time. However, injuries to Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Ousmane Dembele saw him drafted into Ernesto Valverde’s side for the home clash with Betis.
He did not look out of his depth during the final 12 minutes and was congratulated after the game by Messi, who, alongside an image of him hugging Ansu, wrote on Instagram: “Very happy to see the boys fulfilling their dreams of reaching the first team and playing at Camp Nou in an official match.”
Speaking to RAC1 after the game, Ansu’s father said: “I have seen him make his debut for Barca; I can die quietly. It will not be the first time, there will be many more appearances.”
After such a composed debut, you would not bet against it.