In Summary
  • Fati's has made a stirring start to the season, scoring just two minutes into his full La Liga debut on a magical night when he hardly put a foot wrong in front of over 80,000 astonished Camp Nou fans who gave him a standing ovation as he left the field.
  • He was just seven years old when he first came to Spain and his startling talent meant he was invited to join Barcelona's prestigious youth academy 'La Masia' aged 10.

BISSAU

Ansu Fati has made a long trip from the fields of Guinea-Bissau, where he played as a child, to Barcelona's Camp Nou stadium where the 16-year-old is playing with some of the biggest stars in the world.

Fati's has made a stirring start to the season, scoring just two minutes into his full La Liga debut on a magical night when he hardly put a foot wrong in front of over 80,000 astonished Camp Nou fans who gave him a standing ovation as he left the field.

Former coach of Bissau-Guinean football player Ansu Fati, Amador Saavedra poses at the

Former coach of Bissau-Guinean football player Ansu Fati, Amador Saavedra poses at the "Peloteros" football school, in Herrera, Sevilla, on September 18, 2019. PHOTO | CRISTINA QUICLER | AFP

He was just seven years old when he first came to Spain and his startling talent meant he was invited to join Barcelona's prestigious youth academy 'La Masia' aged 10.

It was an incredible achievement for a boy from the impoverished West African nation that has never been known for football.

In Sao Paulo, his home neighbourhood in the rundown suburbs of capital Bissau, the children yell "Ansu Fati, Barca player!" as they run around on ochre soil, under the tropical trees.

Malam Romisio, who coached Fati as a child, told AFP how the boy used to play football wearing only socks or plastic sandals, easily dribbling the ball past bigger, stronger teammates.

Former coaches of Bissau-Guinean football player Ansu Fati, Jordi Figueroa (right) and Amador Saavedra (second right) are pictured with the director and founder of the

Former coaches of Bissau-Guinean football player Ansu Fati, Jordi Figueroa (right) and Amador Saavedra (second right) are pictured with the director and founder of the "Peloteros" football school, Jose Luis Perez in the school in Herrera, Sevilla, on September 18, 2019. PHOTO | CRISTINA QUICLER | AFP

When Fati made his debut with Barca's first team at the end of August, the coach switched his allegiance from Real Madrid.

"If he continues like this, he will be a great player," he predicted.

In Guinea Bissau, which is one of the world's poorest and most fragile nations, Fati is a source of national pride.

Born on October 31, 2002, he lived in Bissau until he was six.

In the house where he grew up, Fati's uncle Djibi Fati shows photos of the footballer as a child, dressed in traditional clothes, recalling how others used to tease him for his love of bread and butter.

"Every time he came back from playing football, he would ask for it," he recalls.

When he was still very small, his father, Bori Fati, went to Portugal to look for work, later settling near Seville in southwestern Spain.

Amador Saavedra, under 10s team's coach at the

Amador Saavedra, under 10s team's coach at the "Peloteros" football school holds a picture depicting the 2009/2010 season federative card of Bissau-Guinean football player Ansu Fati, in Herrera, Sevilla, on September 18, 2019. PHOTO | CRISTINA QUICLER | AFP

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