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BARCELONA

Ansu Fati: Spain's huge loss was Barcelona's very little gain

Had Barcelona known that the Clásico would be cancelled, they could have released Ansu Fati for the U17 World Cup that ended in disaster for Spain.

Ansu Fati: Spain's huge loss was Barcelona's very little gain
Xavi Bonilla / AFP7 / Europa Pre Xavi Bonilla / AFP7 / Europa Pre

The U17 World Cup began on October 26. Somewhat fatefully for Ansu Fati, it was the same day that the Clasicó was scheduled to be played at Camp Nou, for which coach Ernesto Valverde was keen to have the young starlet, who had recently emerged as a potent attacking force, at his disposal.

However, with the Clásico eventually being postponed until December 18, it meant that Fati could have represented Spain at the underage championship and then had a month to prepare for the crunch tie of Real Madrid.

Having secured his Spanish passport on time, Fati was eligible for the U17 squad but pressure from Barcelona prompted head coach David Gordo not to call upon on him. They claimed that the 17-year-old winger was already suited to play amongst the higher age categories and he did eventually make his international debut for the U21s on October 15.

Ansu Fati in action against Slavia Prague.

Fati: little impact at Barcelona

Since then, the winger has featured in Barcelona's four last meetings against Valladolid, Levante, Slavia Prague and Celta Vigo, playing 157 of the 450 minutes available. But during that time he has failed to make a notable contribution, providing neither a goal nor an assist. In fact of those four meetings, Valverde's side only managed to win twice, drawing once and losing another.

Had he gone to the U-17 World Cup instead of staying in Barcelona, he probably would have had more minutes and perhaps could have helped Spain to more success. In the end, Gordo’s side were eliminated in the quarterfinal following a 6-1 thrashing by France.

As fate would have it, he would have still been available for the Clásico, therefore neither Barça nor Spain would have lost out with is call up.

Had Barcelona known that the Clásico would be cancelled and that Fati would have such little impact on those four games, they may very well have released him for the World Cup. But fate has put him where he is and now it’s time to look forward.