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Sunday was a very special day at Camp Nou. Not just because of the win but also because of the triumphal return of Ansu Fati. Only on from the 79th minute, the 18-year-old dazzled every time he touched the ball and capped it all with a remarkable goal just as the game was heading into injury time. The stadium was on its feet. And rightly so.
It was a goal he made himself, shimmying his way through a Levante defence that didn’t know which way he was going to turn next before he found the position to fire home.
He wanted to celebrate the magical moment with the man who has done so much to get him back where he is today, his doctor Lluís Til.
There it was. 323 days later. 323 days since he picked an injury on 7 November 2020 against Betis and since when we have been denied the chance to enjoy the latest episodes in his booming career.
The club has lost one man who made the number ten shirt his own for so many years. But now it has a new incumbent. Expecting Ansu Fati to repeat the kind of legacy that Leo Messi achieved may be asking too much, but after today’s explosive comeback, there is no reason not to believe that somebody else is going to make history wearing the famous shirt.
It’s still early days. Ansu has only played 44 games for Barça, delivering 14 goals in that time, while setting a host of records along the way for achieving so many things at such an extraordinarily young age.
His long injury has interrupted what was spectacular progress last season. Now he can pick things up where he left off.
“I never expected a comeback like that” he said after the game. “I’m so happy. I want to thank the medical staff, the doctors, the physios, who have been there for me all the way. And all the fans, who have given me so much support.”
“It is an honour to wear number 10 after Messi. I am so grateful to the club and captains for letting me wear it.”
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