It’s just over a week ago that Ronald Koeman lauded Ansu Fati as one of his most important lieutenants. The Barcelona boss has always rated the 18-year-old highly and had some words of advice for him.
“I would advise him to keep working and improving. Yesterday I spoke with him to improve the concentration issue. His turnovers are due to lack of concentration, not quality,” the Dutchman said, as quoted by Football Espana.
“He has talent, he’s a very good player. He has a lot of potential and I have to help him improve. You must be focused to improve.”
Unfortunately, Koeman could only watch as the prodigy limped off during Sunday’s victory against Real Betis. Barcelona may have won 5-2, but the occasion was marred by Ansu Fati's injury.
The teenager's injury lay-off comes as a big blow to Koeman and Barcelona. Ansu Fati has started the season in imperious form and is widely viewed as Lionel Messi’s long-term successor at the Camp Nou.
On Sunday, Messi was surprisingly benched while Fati took his place in the starting line-up. It was a clear sign that the club was preparing the youngster to take on a leading role for his team.
After the bitter standoff between Barcelona’s captain and the club in the summer, it makes sense that Koeman is readying himself for life after Messi. And while the 33-year-old may yet stay, it is only prudent to make sure that a long-term replacement is ready.
Ansu Fati’s breakthrough last season and his impressive performances in the current campaign depict a footballer who has the ability to play a big role at Barcelona in the near future. At 18, he has the world at his feet and has already made his debut for the Spain national team.
The youngster has been sensational this season, playing ten games, scoring five goals, and providing four assists. However, he is now set for a long spell on the sidelines.
On Monday, the club announced that Ansu Fati has undergone successful surgery on the internal meniscus of his left knee and will be out for four months.
This rules him out for the majority of the season. For a player who has developed rapidly in recent months, the injury could not have come at a worse time. Barcelona's concern is understandable, especially when you consider how some players struggle to kick on after suffering major injuries.
Fati’s Barcelona teammate Ousmane Dembele is a perfect example. The 23-year-old is hugely talented but has struggled to stay fit since suffering a serious injury three years ago.
With Antione Griezmann struggling to find his best form, Ansu Fati’s injury leaves Koeman with even fewer attacking options. Both club and country will be hoping for the mercurial forward's quick recovery.Published 11 Nov 2020, 00:46 IST