The 18-year-old has been out of action since November with a knee injury, but is hopeful he will recover in time to represent Spain this summer
NXGN 2021 winner Ansu Fati has admitted that it would be a dream to play at this summer’s European Championship.
The Barcelona starlet was crowned as the top male wonderkid in football on Tuesday, as the 18-year-old topped the annual NXGN list of the top 50 players born on or after January 1, 2002.
And, as he battles back from a serious knee injury, the youngest goalscorer in the history of the Spanish national team is now eyeing a spot in Luis Enrique’s squad for the delayed tournament.
What was said?
Speaking to Goal after receiving the NXGN 2021 award, Fati said: “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.”
He added: “I don’t set goals, but I do try to improve day by day, growing as a player, and as a person.”
When will Fati return from his injury?
Fati has been out of action since the start of November after suffering a torn meniscus in his left knee in Barca’s 5-2 win over Real Betis.
After undergoing surgery, the Blaugrana’s original diagnosis was that the teenager would be out of action for four months.
In early February, however, it was reported in Spain that complications in Fati’s recovery had led to him going under the knife again, and there was a fear that he would need to undergo a third operation to fully repair the problem.
There is hope, however, that he will play again before the end of the campaign, with the youngest goalscorer in the history of the Champions League having posted a series of videos on social media of him stepping up his recovery.
Will Fati be in the Spain squad for Euro 2020?
If Fati is able to prove his fitness, then he has a good chance of being included in La Roja’s 23-man group for this summer’s continental championship.
Having made his international debut in September, Fati became his country’s youngest ever goalscorer when finding the net at the age of 17 years and 311 days against Ukraine on just his second appearance for Luis Enrique’s side.
The previous record was set in 1925 by Juan Errazquin, who netted his first goal for Spain 21 days short of his 19th birthday.
Fati’s impressive performances during the UEFA Nations League meant led to him being regarded as a shoo-in to make Spain’s squad for the Euros before his injury.
He would likely have to beat off competition from the likes of Adama Traore, Dani Olmo and Bryan Gil to be considered now, presuming he is injury-free come June.
Who are the previous NXGN winners?
Fati is the sixth male winner of the NXGN prize, following in the footsteps of the likes of Jadon Sancho, Gigi Donnarumma and Rodrygo.
Youri Tielemans and Justin Kluivert have also previously taken home the award, which has been run annually by Goal since 2016, with journalists from 44 editions worldwide voting for the best teenage footballers on the planet.
“First of all, I want to thank the people who have voted for me and, of course, my team-mates – without them, this would not have been possible,” he said. “Also, thanks to all the coaches I have had.”
The Sweden international midfielder follows in the footsteps of the first female winner, Lena Oberdorf, who claimed last year’s trophy.