Inheriting the blessed number 10 shirt after Lionel Messi is a cross not many can bear. In fact, not many would even try in the first place. Why bother? The chances of success are non-existent to minimal, the inevitable comparisons with Messi are more an anchor than a boost and expectations are on an unhealthily high level for anyone, let alone a teen with little senior football exposure.
But if there was someone who could be deemed worthy through his inherent ability, talent and background then that someone would be Ansu Fati. After all, he is the prodigal son destined to take Barcelona back to glory and do it in style. The arrival of Xavi as the coach seemed to have only confirmed that scenario too. Catalonia’s favourite son coaching Messi’s heir apparent to restore the greatness that was once Blaugrana? The script couldn’t be more perfect even if it was written in the pantheon of the footballing deities themselves. Alas, things rarely pan out the way we’d like them to and at the moment of writing, Ansu seems closer to the exit door than he is to greatness.
When you’re 10 points clear with a game in hand, are playing a bottom-of-the-table club in Getafe regardless of the difficult away history you have with them, are fielding an already weakened squad and Ansu still can’t make the cut, it’s time to ask questions. And I mean the serious and seriously uncomfortable ones. Are Barça hiding something from us? I’m not one for conspiracy theories but Dan Hilton of the BarcelonaPod recently put a bug in my ear with this one.