09/18/2022 at 09:33


    He is still the only Barça player who has participated in all the matches (friendly and official) of the course, but the one with the fewest starts

    Xavi pampers him so that he continues picking up the rhythm of the competition and the youth squad narrows down his options to receive Luis Enrique’s World Cup call

    From half an hour to half an hour. Without pause and without haste. Or at least that is the intention of Xavi Hernández and his coaching staff with Ansu Fati. The youth squad continues adding minutes in his set-up to recover it to 100%, although he would go one more gear, but his history does not invite rushing at all. Balance game.

    After the blow that meant for Ansu not receiving the call from Luis Enrique for the last national team break before playing the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, Xavi once again gave him minutes against Elche at the Spotify Camp Nou. Barça’s ’10’ replaced Memphis and played the last half hour of the game when he was already sentenced.

    “We are planning very carefully. Those sensations are costing a bit, maybe it’s my fault. But I think we are doing well, it will go in. It has to be very important for us. Maybe you have to increase that intensity and that rhythm a little bit. It is a difficult situation to manage, a long time without playing. And the rhythm requires caution and time“, Xavi Hernández explained in the preview of the match against Elche.

    Minutes without titles

    In this way, he was able to continue increasing his participations this season. With 226 official minutes behind him, he is the quarter forward most used by Xavi, behind Lewandowski (629), Dembélé (554) and Raphinha (400); beating Ferran Torres (217) and Memphis (131).

    In fact, he is the only Barça footballer who has participated in all 15 matches -friendly and official- that have been played so far. Something that denotes the importance that Ansu Fati is being given from the ‘staff’. On the other hand, he is the player who has made the fewest starts so far: one, against Viktoria Plzen. The same as Bellerin, Piqué, Marcos Alonso and Sergi Roberto.

    The full-backs arrived on the horn of the transfer market and joined the group later, which is why they have added fewer starters. The one from Reus has chained three games away due to some inconvenience, while Piqué is experiencing his most atypical season, being the fifth center-back in the squad. In this sack, our protagonist is also found.

    The call

    Ansu waited for his phone to ring, receiving a call from Luis Enrique to be summoned to the Spanish team to play the last window of matches before the 2022 Qatar World Cup. The UEFA Nations League matches against Switzerland and Portugal must be followed from the television. For this occasion, ‘Lucho’ has summoned Pablo Sarabia, Nico Williams, Marco Asensio, Álvaro Morata, Borja Iglesias, Yeremy Pino and Ferran Torres as forwards.

    He has only played one official match as a starter. This tells me something. He has a special relationship for the goal, but now I don’t see him for the list. I hope I recover his level, which I think he does not have now. We continue to have high expectations with Ansu and I hope he achieves it”, argued the national coach.

    Ahead, 12 games that will mark his presence -or not- in the World Cup. After this break, Barça will return to the fray uninterruptedly on October 1 against Mallorca with two games per week until mid-November. Inter Milan in a double match, a classic at the Santiago Bernabéu, duels at the Camp Nou against Villarreal, Athletic and Bayern, as well as a visit to the Mestalla they will test the level of the team in just over a month and also that of Ansu. The World Cup awaits just around the corner and Ansu wants to go with the ‘Red’ yes or yes.