Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde lavished praise on Ansu Fati following the teenager’s starring role in their 5-2 thrashing of Valencia.
Fresh out of the famed La Masia academy, Fati has been making waves in the Barcelona first-team over the last few weeks.
And, just two weeks after becoming the club’s youngest-ever scorer, Fati made history again by becoming the youngest player to score as a starter in Spain at the age of 16 years and 318 days.
It, in fact, took just two minutes for Fati to reach this landmark to give Barcelona the lead at Camp Nou. He then set-up Frenkie de Jong for the Dutchman’s first Blaugrana goal in the seventh minute of the game.
The teenage forward then continued to torment the Valencia defence before Valverde withdrew him for Luis Suarez on the hour mark.
“He is a player who has something special. For his age it seems that he is more mature,” Valverde told Movistar.
“What you see in training is what you see here. Today was something exaggerated – goal, give one assist and almost score another.”
When asked about the comparisons between Fati and Barcelona captain Lionel Messi, who remains sidelined with a calf injury, Valverde replied: “I’m not worried about the comparison.
“The ball is going to be very big and we have to take care of deflating it.”
Gerard Pique scored in the second-half to restore Barcelona’s two-goal lead after Kevin Gameiro pulled one back for Valencia. Suarez, who returned from a calf injury, then scored a brace on his comeback.
While substitute Maxi Gomez did score for Valencia, it was nothing more than a late consolation effort for the visitors.
“The best thing is that we have come out with determination, to try to score and arrive,” added Valverde.
“Sometimes we were in danger of putting a lot forward and leaving room for counters. They have fast players. We have done a good second half.”
After securing only their second win of the season, Barcelona move up to fourth in La Liga on seven points from four games.
The Catalan giants will next head to Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday for their Champions League opener in Group F.