KEY POINTS

  • Ansu Fati scored twice in Barcelona's 4-0 win over Villarreal
  • Fati did not receive the Player of the Match because of his age
  • The award was eventually given to defender Jordi Alba

FC Barcelona’s teenage sensation Ansu Fati, who is tipped to be Lionel Messi’s "heir", was denied the Player of the Match award despite scoring a brace in the Catalans’ 4-0 win over Villarreal on Sunday.

Fati scored a brace in the Villarreal game, which was Barcelona’s first match under the management of new head coach Ronald Koeman. The goal-scorers for Barcelona were skipper Lionel Messi and an own goal from Spanish center-back Pau Torres.

It was a great start for Barcelona in the 2020-21 campaign, especially after their dreadful end to the previous season when they lost 8-2 to Bayern Munich at the UEFA Champions League.

While Fati played alongside star players such as Messi, Philippe Coutinho and Antoine Griezmann, the 17-year-old made his presence felt in the match. Even before the half-time break, Fati scored twice and earned a penalty for Barcelona.

Fati’s opening goal of the match, at the 15th minute, was courtesy of an excellent finish from Jordi Alba. Four minutes later, Fati managed to put the ball past Villarreal’s goalkeeper Sergio Asenjo, which was set up by Coutinho. At the 35th minute, Fati earned a penalty for Barcelona before Messi converted it into his first goal of the 2020-21 campaign.

At half-time, Barcelona went 4-0 after Messi’s cross was turned into the net by Torres.

Even though Messi made a vital contribution, as usual, the start of the match was undoubtedly the teenage sensation Fati, who was eventually subbed off and replaced by Ousmane Dembele in the second half.

Fati was denied the Player of the Match award, which is also called the "King of the Match" in Spain because the 17-year-old was underage.

The ‘King of the Match’ was instead given to Alba because the award was sponsored by a beer company, Budweiser, - and Fati, who does not turn 18 until the end of October and is not old enough to drink alcohol, was not eligible for the award sorely because of the sponsors.

Ansu Fati became the youngest player to score in the Champions League when he netted Barcelona's winner away to Inter Ansu Fati became the youngest player to score in the Champions League when he netted Barcelona's winner away to Inter Photo: AFP / Isabella BONOTTO

Ever since Fati made his first-team debut for Barcelona last year, the youngster has made and broken several records in European soccer, especially in Spain. When Fati scored against Osasuna in La Liga last season, he became the youngest-ever La Liga scorer. When Fati started for Barcelona at Nou Camp aged 16 years and 318 days, he was the youngest ever starter at their home stadium.