In the summer transfer window, Lionel Messi was forced to leave Barcelona after 21 years of service in an unexpected way, moving to Paris Saint-Germain, leaving behind a string of great records that will never be matched by anyone else, and taking off his legendary number 10 shirt.
Today, the legendary number has been given a new owner. According to Barça officials, 18 year young talent Ansu Fati will wear the number 10 for the coming season.
The youngster will be no stranger to most of the fans. He is one of the few talented players Barca’s La Masia youth academy has produced in recent years and is a future hope for Barca and also the Spanish national team.
The 16-year-old made his La Liga debut against Real Betis in August 2019, and since then he has become the youngest man to score twice in La Liga, the youngest goalscorer in the national derby, and has been shortlisted for the Golden Boy Award in 2020.
In the last two seasons, he has played a total of 52 games for Barca, scoring 17 goals and delivering 8 assists, which is a great starting point. That’s why Barca have placed so much faith in him, giving him the number 10 shirt, a symbol of the legend and the heart of the team, and expecting him to carry the banner of the post-Messi era.
The outside doubts
When the news broke, doubts inevitably arose. The netizens questioned whether the 18-year-old could handle the pressure, after all, those who have worn this shirt in Barca’s history – Maradona, Litmanin, Rivaldo, Ronaldinho, Messi – are all big names.
There is no denying that this shirt must have meant pressure for Fathi, who is only 18 years old and far from mature technically and mentally. Facing huge doubts would be a tough test for any youngster. If he cannot withstand it, he will be crushed and sink.
The core player of Barcelona’s future
Of course, Fathi has his own advantages. Apart from his great talent, he has been in the team for the past two years and is already familiar with his teammates. And now that the team has given him the jersey, they want to make him the centrepiece of their team and will give him plenty of support from the head coach to the management.
As for whether Fathi can become the next Messi? It doesn’t matter and it doesn’t need to be. No legend can be replicated, Fathi just needs to be himself and write his own legend.
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