‘I’m calm… I’m going to follow my own journey’: Barcelona wonderkid Ansu Fati insists he feels NO pressure inheriting Lionel Messi’s No 10 shirt – and admits he turned down Premier League interest to sign a new six-year contract
- Teenage winger Ansu Fati has signed a new six-year contract with Barcelona
- Barcelona held a press conference on Thursday to announce the news
- Fati said he feels no pressure inheriting Lionel Messi’s No 10 shirt
- He also confirmed he turned down interest from abroad to sign with Barca
Ansu Fati insisted that inheriting Lionel Messi’s No 10 shirt does not faze him as the Barcelona wonderkid spoke at a press conference to mark his signing of a new six-year contract at the financially-stricken Catalan club.
Fati, who turns 19 at the end of this month, also confirmed that he had turned down interest from Premier League clubs, with Manchester United and Man City both having been monitoring his situation as his previous deal ran down.
Barca were able to get Fati to commit to the club until 2027 despite their cash crisis, inserting a €1billion (£846m) release clause, equal to that of fellow academy graduate Pedri, who also signed a new deal this week.
Ansu Fati holds his No 10 as Barcelona hold a press conference announcing his new contract
‘It’s true that the No 10 jersey has been worn by Leo [Messi] and many players but I’m calm,’ said Fati of his new number. ‘I know what I can bring to this team.
‘For me it’s not a pressure. No one is going to be like Leo, no one is going to be like [former captains Carles] Puyol or Xavi [Hernandez]. No one is going to equal what Leo has done. I’m going to follow my own journey. I still haven’t done anything. I hope I can have a career like they have had.
‘Any player could have worn the No 10. I’m grateful that the captains offered me the number and luckily, I got it. It’s an extra motivation for me. I don’t look at the number but focus on what I can do on the pitch to help the team.’
Fati came on at half-time in Barcelona’s 1-0 win over Dynamo Kiev on Wednesday night
Fati has scored 15 times in 48 matches already for Barca and the club have pinned their hopes on him and fellow youngsters Pedri and Gavi after they were forced to offload Messi to stay within LaLiga’s new salary cap rules.
With Barca’s debt standing at over £1bn, there are likely to be more high-profile departures and the club cannot afford to splash out on new signings.
Fati, however, insists he was only ever interested in signing for the club he joined as 10-year-old from Sevilla in 2012.
‘Yes, I’ve had offers from abroad,’ he admitted. ‘But my dream was to be here.
‘From the first day I told [agent] Jorge Mendes that my first option was always to stay at Barca. He understood it perfectly and I am very happy that the club has trusted me’.
Ansu Fati smiles alongside his agent Jorge Mendes and father Bori at the press conference