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BARCELONA

Ansu Fati set for U-17 World Cup as Barça starlet secures Spain passport

The 16-year-old Barcelona sensation has been granted a fast-tracked Spanish passport, allowing him to play for Spain at next month's Under-17 World Cup.

The news will come as a delight to both Barcelona and Spain fans alike: Ansu Fati is officially a Spanish national.

The 16-year-old Barcelona starlet, who has been unexpected sensation for the Camp Nou outfit this season, was granted a Spanish passport this Friday, allowing the him to play for Spain at next month's Under-17 World Cup.

Spain Under-17s head coach David Gordo must submit his 50-man preliminary list for the tournament in Brazil by Wednesday next week, and FIFA rules do not allow players whose application for naturalisation is still pending to be included in this initial group.

The Bassau-Guinean forward, who scored one and set up another as Barça beat Valencia 5-2 on his home Blaugrana debut last weekend, is also eligible to play for Portugal, but Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) sources have told AS that he was "in no doubt whatsoever" about  his allegiances to Spain.

RFEF tracking Fati since last season

Federation officials have been tracking Fati since last season. After he attracted rave reviews from the RFEF's head of youth football, Francis Hernández, the process of naturalising the teenager was set in motion three months ago, with Spain's senior coach, Robert Moreno, also keen for him to be added to La Roja's age-group structure.