Messi reveals he was wowed by Barcelona teen sensation Fati in first training session

Ansu Fati Lionel Messi BarcelonaGetty/Goal

Lionel Messi has revealed that he was hugely impressed by 16-year-old Ansu Fati’s first training session at the club but insists he doesn't want to see to much pressure placed on his young shoulders.

Fati burst onto the scene after making his debut for Barcelona last month, when he became the club’s youngest player since 1941 after coming off the bench in the league encounter with Real Betis.

The young forward then became Barca’s youngest ever goalscorer after his effort against Osasuna, before becoming their youngest player to play in the Champions League when he started in their opener with Borussia Dortmund.

Article continues below

With an injury to winger Ousmane Dembele, the 16-year-old was taken from the famed La Masia academy and placed straight into the first-team squad, with an injury to Messi paving the way for an immediate promotion into the starting XI.

Speaking after receiving The Best FIFA Men's Player award on Monday evening, Messi told reporters just how much of an impression his young team-mate has made since his very first training session with the senior squad, but warned that he must be treated with care at this early stage in his career.

"Ansu Fati got my attention from the first time I saw him training, but you have to go step-by-step because he is 16 years old. 

"He still doesn’t have the responsibility that others want to put on his shoulders. He has the potential to be a very important player but we have to help him."

The young attacker has been a rare note of optimism in an otherwise disappointing season for the club so far, with Ernesto Valverde’s side sitting eighth in La Liga after five games.

Barca find themselves four points off joint leaders Athletic Bilbao and Real Madrid after two wins, two losses and a draw.

Their latest defeat at newly-promoted Granada saw both Fati and Messi summoned from the Barcelona bench at half-time with the side 1-0 down, but the pair could only watch on as their opponents scored a second to secure all three points.

Valverde has since come under huge pressure regarding the future of his job at the club, with his Real Madrid counterpart Zinedine Zidane also receiving criticism for his side’s performances and results this season.