Ansu Fati will play next season for Brighton & Hove Albion FC. It is not a “world top” team, as the Spanish striker intended, according to his environment, but it is the best there was. Probably the best thing he found despite the fact that his godfather, the super agent Jorge Mendes, had it in the window since before the end of the last season. But in the offices of the Camp Nou the offers did not appear. Until at the end of the market Sevilla and Brighton asked about him. The Premier and the power of conviction of Roberto de Zerbi prevailed over the sentimentality that the Andalusian team represented. And the money, of course. Brighton will take care of about six of the eight million net that Fati earns at Barcelona. The English, in any case, do not pay anything for the assignment. They will not have a purchase option either. It will be, then, a round trip for Ansu Fati. Above all, it will be an opportunity to be reborn, physically limited since he broke his knee in 2020, without the magnet with the goals that had given him world fame.
When Ansu Fati landed in Barcelona’s first team, heavyweights Lionel Messi and Luis Suárez commanded the locker room. Two vicious of the goal and the spotlights. But Fati did not stop signing goals in training. Then, from the club’s communication department, they warned those responsible for social networks: “No videos of Ansu. We must take care of it. It is not something that anyone gets jealous”. Ansu, at that moment, had the best ally that could be had. Rodrigo, Messi’s older brother, was beginning his career as an agent and one of his first recruits had been Fati, the pearl of La Masia. The youth squad player was the great sensation of Barça, he did not stop breaking records for precociousness (youngest scorer in the League and the Champions League, among others) while in each game the eyes increased, boosted by a hug with Messi that the Argentine himself was in charge of to promote on Instagram.
La Roja also appeared in Fati’s life. And, of course, another mark: the most Nobel artilleryman in the history of Spain (17 years and 311 days). It was all excellent news. In fact, they couldn’t be better. Fati’s career was so promising that Jorge Mendes appeared, always attentive to emerging talent. The Portuguese agent was reached with a tempting offer for the footballer’s father so that Ansu would break away from Rodrigo Messi. Abundance in pockets, lack of support in the dressing room. A time, however, in which Ansu preferred to wear Nike than Givenchy, the honest warmth of his family to the toxic energy of the night.
It was November 2020 against Betis when Ansu Fati’s meteoric career began to falter. An injury to the meniscus of his left knee left scars on his leg and doubts on his morale. He counted up to four interventions. A torture for the striker. For this reason, when he broke his hamstrings, he did not want to know anything about having surgery, no matter how much the club doctors advised him to. Fati followed the orders of Jorge Mendes and was protected by his status as a star of the club, heir to Messi’s number 10, owner of an out-of-market salary for his age, certified with a clause of 1,000 million.
The goals, however, no longer appeared. And, when they did, they no longer changed the history of the parties. His game did not improve that of Barça either. “He has lost speed and power, but he has the goal. We must be patient ”, they alerted, in private, from the staff. In public, Xavi praised him: “It’s the club’s heritage.” The only truth, reality. Fati finished in 17th place among the players with the most minutes last season and this year the situation was looming the same: 47 minutes in three games. Ferran Torres and Abde, of course also Lewandowski and Raphinha, were ahead of him as Xavi watched. Even Lamine Yamal, 16, won the pulse and the status of a spoiled child of the fans.
Without allies in the coaching staff and before the distant gaze of the locker room – “He needs a year out. Away from the pressure of Barça and his environment ”, comments a heavyweight of the group-, Ansu went to Herrera (Seville), the town where he settled with his family when they arrived from Guinea. He needed to reflect on his future. Next to him, Jorge Mendes and his father. One wanted him in the Premier, the other in Sevilla. The agent won. Surely also Ansu Fati, who will have the showcase of England and the board of a coach committed to his players like De Zerbi. And the Barça doctors breathe: Ansu passed the medical examination at Brighton.
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