Can Ansu Fati become Lionel Messi’s successor?

Before the start of the 2019/20 campaign, only those with knowledge of Barcelona’s youth team players had heard of Ansu Fati.

The youngster had sailed through most of the age groups at the club, due in no small part to the fearlessness with which he approached every challenge.

That has stood him in good stead since his promotion to the first team.It’s even got people talking about whether he could be the long-term successor to Lionel Messi.

In a short space of time, Fati has become Barça’s second youngest debutant in La Liga, the youngest to score and assist in the same game and the youngest scorer at Camp Nou.

Added to that he’s also Barça’s youngest Champions League debutant and the youngest ever scorer in the competition.

Not bad for someone who has just turned 17.

A picture that circulated of Messi enveloping the youngster in a hug suggests that the Argentinian understands how special Fati can go on to be.

The club themselves are clearly in no doubt either, for they’ve recently upped his buyout clause to a whopping €170m and increased his deal by another two years, meaning it isn’t due to finish until 2022.

As to whether he can become the new golden boy at the club, it’s very subjective at the moment.

He’s a totally different player to Messi of course, but there are other parallels that could be drawn.

The Argentinian was thrust into the limelight at an early age, and expectations were quickly placed on his shoulders once it became obvious that nothing fazed him.

Where Messi can, and always has been able to, do things of his own volition, Fati needs the associative play and service from his team-mates to get him into positions where his incredible ability to find the back of the net is utilised.

Not really a striker in the mould of Luis Suarez either, Fati couldn’t really be described as a target man, even though his goals to games ratio stands up to scrutiny.

We’ll get to see over the following weeks and months just how well equipped the youngster is to the incessant rigours of the Spanish top flight and, potentially, the latter stages of the Champions League.

The reach of his influence on results and the way in which the team play in future will begin to dictate as to whether he is the real deal or just another pretender to the throne.

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