Ansu Fati "is pure anarchy, he shouldn't be constrained" says Víctor Valdés
Víctor Valdés explained the importance of Ansu Fati's first team debut with Barça: "No one makes their Camp Nou debut with the No.31 shirt".
A proud Víctor Valdés watched a member of his Under-19s squad make the grade and debut with Barcelona's first team last weekend. Ansu Fatu became the second youngest player to debut in LaLiga with Barça's senior side in the 52 win over Betis on Sunday night. Valdés, who entered Barça's youth academy as a 10-year-old and worked his way up through the categories to make his senior bow a decade later, described Ansu's qualities and explained why making your first team debut with a low squad number has such a special significance at the club.
“For me, what he demonstrated yesterday was completely who he is. I was watching him from the first moment he got the ball. That’s Ansu for you… he’s strong, he fast… he’s total anarchy when he gets the ball and when you see talent like that, you have to give those players complete freedom. Let them do what they do and don’t constrain them. He shouldn’t be tied down to playing only on one wing and made to suffer. You have to let them express themselves through their own natural instinct,” Valdés enthused.
“I couldn’t be happier for him. And I’ve already told him – I called him this morning. That phonecall was a real thrill for me to make as his coach. If I had to describe what making his debut meant to him, the shirt number he wore to make his debut says everything you need to know. The No.31 – for those of us who have come right the way up through the club, to make your debut at Camp Nou, aged 16, wearing the No.31 shirt… right away that says you are an elite player. It doesn’t happen that way for your average player… with that squad number. There are many lower squad numbers below that, players who have come right the way up through the ranks. I’m very grateful to Valverde, it’s just a shame that Ansu won’t be with us for the opening of the new Johan Cruyff stadium because he represents all that it means to have a promising young talent emerging in La Masía – and that something which I’m sure would have delighted Johan too “