This article is part of Football FanCast’s Pundit View series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent quotes from journalists, pundits, players and managers…
Ernesto Valverde talked about Barcelona’s 16-year-old sensation in his pre-game press conference ahead of the club’s Champions League clash with Borussia Dortmund.
There’s been a lot of talk about young Fati and his growing importance in the Barcelona squad.
With Lionel Messi missing the club’s first four games of the season – he has only recently received medical clearance to return – some new kids on the block have taken the spotlight.
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Fati has been one such beneficiary and, at the age of 16, scored and laid on an assist in the 5-2 thumping of Valencia at the weekend.
For that reason, Valverde was questioned about Fati’s possible inclusion in the first game of the club’s Champions League campaign.
Here’s what he said about him:
“We’re thrilled with Ansu Fati, but we all have to take care of him. If he plays tomorrow, it won’t be to break records, but rather because the team needs him.”
Fati has already broken multiple records since his first appearance for Barcelona in the new La Liga season: he became the club’s youngest-ever goalscorer against Osasuna, their youngest ever player to be included in a starting XI against Valencia and the youngest player ever to score and lay on an assist in the same game in La Liga history.
But Valverde is absolutely right with his statement and fans should be happy with it.
There’s no need to throw Fati into the fire recklessly and just for the sake of records being broken.
If the team needs him, he’ll play, as simple as that.
Managing a 16-year-old who is a potential wonderkid is not easy and while Valverde hasn’t hidden his thrill of having such a gem in his squad, he appears to be treading carefully in order to protect his prodigy.
Even with such a big game looming, that is the correct call.