BARCELONA – Barcelona wonderkid Ansu Fati said he is learning from Lionel Messi after firing his side to a 4-0 win over Villarreal in their first game of the La Liga season on Sunday.
With all the pre-match build-up centring on Messi’s anger at the club’s decision to force Luis Suarez out and join Atletico Madrid, Fati stole the show by giving Barca an early advantage with two expertly taken finishes in the opening 20 minutes.
Fati, 17, who was not even two years old when Messi made his Barca debut back in 2004, recalled a childhood looking up to the six-times world player of the year and said the Argentinean was helping him improve.
“Playing with Messi is a dream I had since I was a child and now I am living it,” the forward told reporters.
“He gives me a lot of advice, he helps me a lot on the pitch and in training, but away from it too, and that makes me very happy.”
The forward burst on to the scene last season when he became Barca’s youngest ever league goalscorer and looks to be on the path to even greater things, with far more opportunities on the horizon this campaign due to Suarez’s departure.
“I want to keep improving every day, to continue to learn from my team mates because they are the best around and they are trying to help me every day,” he added.
Barca coach Ronald Koeman revealed he had admonished Fati for his performance in the team’s last pre-season game against Elche but praised his movement and clinical finishing against Villarreal.
“I had criticised him against Elche but today I told him he had a great game, he was very direct and we made the most of his quality,” said the Dutchman.
“He’s a young player who has to look to perform consistently and he showed he had a great future and I’m so happy after his game today.”