Barcelona’s Ansu Fati has been named the best young player in world football.
Having become the youngest goalscorer in Champions League and Spanish national team history, Fati has already conquered some of football’s most impressive records before his 18th birthday.
Fati’s Barcelona brilliance
Now, of course, it can’t be ignored that the brakes have been slammed on Fati’s progress this season in the form of a gut-wrenching knee injury during the Real Betis clash in November.
And while it remains to be seen when Fati will return to action for either the Blaugrana or Las Rojas, make no mistake that the Guinea-Bissau-born winger has time on his side.
Besides, time on the treatment table has done nothing to quell the hype surrounding his rise in Catalonia and that couldn’t be clearer after his gold medal in Goal’s NXGN 2021.
Top 50 wonderkids
The prestigious prize for young players, decided upon by 44 international journalists, has previously been won by the likes of Jadon Sancho, Gianluigi Donnarumma, Youri Tielemans and Rodrygo.
So, it’s fair to say that Fati finds himself amongst esteemed company and the same can be said of the 2021 list in general with Goal revealing their full top 50 this week.
And with everyone from Liverpool loanees to Manchester United signings settling into the queue behind Fati, be sure to check out football’s leading wonderkids down below:
50. Ilaix Moriba (Barcelona)
49. Takuhiro Nakai (Real Madrid)
48. Maarten Vandevoordt (Genk)
47. Jayden Braaf (Udinese)
46. Kenneth Taylor (Ajax)
45. Radu Dragusin (Juventus)
44. Joelson Fernandes (Sporting Lisbon)
43. Exequiel Zeballos (Boca Juniors)
42. Sontje Hansen (Ajax)
41. Talles Magno (Vasco da Gama)
40. Lorenzo Colombo (Cremonese)
39. Luka Romero (Mallorca)
38. Timothee Pembele (Paris Saint-Germain)
37. Devyne Rensch (Ajax)
36. Eduardo Quaresma (Sporting Lisbon)
35. Yan Couto (Girona)
34. Arnaud Kalimuendo (Lens)
33. Ki-Jana Hoever (Wolverhampton Wanderers)
32. Filip Stevanovic (Partizan Belgrade)
31. Riccardo Calafiori (AS Roma)
30. Brian Brobbey (Ajax)
29. Isaac Lihadji (Lille)
28. Noni Madueke (PSV Eindhoven)
27. Karim Adeyemi (Red Bull Salzburg)
26. Harvey Elliott (Blackburn Rovers)
25. Sebastiano Esposito (Venezia)
24. Dario Sarmiento (Estudiantes)
23. Nuno Mendes (Sporting Lisbon)
22. Adil Aouchiche (Saint-Etienne)
21. Adam Hlozek (Sparta Prague)
20. Josko Gvardiol (Dinamo Zagreb)
19. Amad Diallo (Manchester United)
18. Kaio Jorge (Santos)
17. Fabio Silva (Wolverhampton Wanderers)
16. Tanguy Nianzou (Bayern Munich)
15. Youssoufa Moukoko (Borussia Dortmund)
14. Jeremy Doku (Rennes)
13. Yunus Musah (Valencia)
12. Gabriel Veron (Palmeiras)
11. Rayan Cherki (Lyon)
10. Reinier (Borussia Dortmund)
9. Mohamed Ihattaren (PSV Eindhoven)
8. Jamal Musiala (Bayern Munich)
7. Ryan Gravenberch (Ajax)
6. Florian Wirtz (Bayer Leverkusen)
5. Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund)
4. Pedri (Barcelona)
3. Gio Reyna (Borussia Dortmund)
2. Eduardo Camavinga (Rennes)
1. Ansu Fati (Barcelona)
Promising for Barcelona, Ajax and more
Wowsers. Dortmund, Ajax and Sporting really have a penchant for wonderkids, don’t they?
But for all the evidence suggesting that La Masia isn’t the factory for young stars that it used to be, it’s reassuring to see that two Barcelona players have battled their way into the latest 2021.
Nevertheless, when we’ll be able to enjoy Fati in action again remains to be seen and his latest comments suggest that a dramatic return to action with Spain at Euro 2020 seems unlikely.
Speaking to Goal after his NXGN triumph, Fati remarked: “I wish I could be there, but first I have to recover from the injury.
“I don’t know what will happen in the future, but it is a dream for any player to be able to play a European Championship. I don’t set goals, but I do try to improve day by day, growing as a player, and as a person.”
With that sort of attitude and the unbounded footballing talent in his boots, there’s good reason to think that claims Fati will become Messi’s successor are by no means hyperbole. Bring it on.