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The other big surprise of the new season is Ødegaard


A Barcelona supporting friend of mine claimed on Saturday: "These performances from Ansu Fati won't be long in curing Messi's injury" and there was certainly something in his declaration. Messi appears now to be fully fit and available for selection with Valverde's job made that bit harder in choosing what eleven players to pick and leave out in a squad with many players feeling they should be guaranteed starters. As Barcelona kick-off their 2019-20 Champions League group stage campaign in Dortmund it will be interesting to see what the Basque coach does with the likes of Griezmann, Ansu Fati and the rest.

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You're the one for me Fati

Ansu Fati is the man of the moment despite still being just 16-years-old. I'm not sure what Pelé accomplished at this tender age, plenty I imagine but I wasn't around to see it. I have seen Ansu Fati with the teenager reminding me of a good Dembélé, able to play on both flanks and offering fine distribution. He's a player who exudes serenity, is good with both feet and can score. On Saturday, he bagged Barça's first of the night and assisted in the second goal. I recall Alfredo Di Stéfano saying to me a few years back: "The opening goal is worth three, the second two and the rest mean next to nothing". Applying that logic, Ansu Fati almost single-handedly won Saturday's Camp Nou clash. We're witnessing something special in Fati and it would make sense for Messi to give him every bit of support.

Odegaard of Real Sociedad
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Odegaard of Real SociedadIrina R.H. / AFP7 / Europapress

Breaking the mould

Leaving João Félix and Hazard out of the equation given their inflated transfer fees, the other big talking point of the new season is Martin Ødegaard. The Norwegian is a fine talent albeit one who has had to live under an extreme weight of expectation after his father sold him to the highest bidder with the player starting off at Real Madrid Castilla, where he was seen by his peers as overly favoured. He then spent time in Holland on loan and has blossomed this season at Real Sociedad. He provides a degree of leadership and his imperial at the heart of the midfield for the Basque side. Ødegaard is a player with a great future ahead of him and these type of non conventional players are always welcome in the game.