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Ansu Fati: “From the first day, I wanted to stay at Barça”

Ansu Fati during the press conference of his contract renewal / JOSEP LAGO / AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES

Ansu Fati and Joan Laporta answered questions from the press after announcing his contract renewal, which keeps him at the club until 2027.

After weeks of speculation, the word has been out since yesterday: Ansu Fati (18) has renewed his contract with FC Barcelona. The talented youngster has signed a deal that will keep him at the club until 2027. To ensure that Barça’s new number ten doesn’t get signed by another team, the new contract includes a release clause of a billion euros.

Barça released the news on its social media channels shortly after yesterday’s Champions League victory over Dynamo Kyiv (1-0). Today, the official press conference took place at the Auditori 1899, the media room Barça usually uses for occasions like these. Other than Ansu Fati himself, President Joan Laporta, Rafael Yuste and Mateu Alemany were also on stage and available for questions from the journalists. Ansu’s family and his agent Jorge Mendes were also present, proudly sitting in the front row.

After thanking everyone for coming, Laporta opened the press conference: “Today is a great day. We’ve been talking about the affection that we have for each other, how much of a sacrifice all these years at La Masía have been for Ansu and his family. For us, it was very important to take care of this situation. He’s only 18 years old, but he’s extremely mature and is incredibly talented. I’ve told you many times that at Barça, we’re going to help you achieve all your goals, your goals are our goals.”

“Today, we’re very happy to be able to announce Ansu Fati’s renewal with FC Barcelona. For us, it’s a very important day because with players like Ansu Fati, the present and the future of the club is assured.”

After Laporta’s opening, Fati himself also took the opportunity to say a few words: “First of all, I’d like to thank the club and the President for trusting me for a few more years. My dream has always been to succeed here and luckily I’ll be able to do so. I’ll work harder every day to be able to succeed here and give back to the club for what it has given to me.” After the opening statements, there was time for questions from the press.

About being one of the many stars to come from La Masía:

Ansu: “It’s a dream to see me there, but I haven’t done anything yet. Hopefully, one day I’ll have a career as they’ve had.”

Laporta: “As he has said himself, he still has space to improve. He’s already being called a great star but we have to help him. He has to find his way, but he is very intelligent and has his family around him, who keeps his feet on the ground. We have to be careful, we obviously hope that everything we’re hoping for will happen, but we have to help him together. We have to connect with Guinea-Bissau, we have seen fans from there, and we have spoken with his parents to make things happen between the club and Guinea-Bissau.”

Ansu: “I’m very calm. I feel very loved, it’s what I value the most. For me, there’s no pressure, but rather a motivation to get up every day to continue improving and that’s what I do.”

Laporta: “It would be a dream come true to field a lineup of only La Masía players.”

About his knee injury:

Ansu: “The truth is that the knee is something that I’ve already forgotten about. Right now, I feel the fatigue in my legs. I don’t have any discomfort and I hope it continues like this.”

“No, I never doubted that I would play again. I already went through a similar situation a few years ago and that helped me overcome this situation.”

About the option of signing for another club:

Ansu: “From the first day I told my agent that my first choice was staying here at Barça and he understood that. Yes, he may have received offers from abroad, but it was always clear to me that I wanted to be here.”

Laporta: “I wasn’t worried because he was very clear about wanting to stay. Both his family and his representative were clear that the best place for Ansu was at Barça. There’s always a point of uneasiness because there were many teams that wanted him.”

Rafael Yuste, Joan Laporta, Ansu Fati and Mateu Alemany during the announcement / JOSEP LAGO/ AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES

About wearing the number ten shirt:

Ansu: “I’m very grateful that the club trusted me, along with the captains. It could’ve been taken by another player but I was ready because I’m at Barça, and here you have to be prepared for anything. It’s not extra pressure, nobody is going to match what they (earlier number tens) have done, I have to find my own way.”

Laporta: “We haven’t put pressure on him, he said that he would take it if the captains authorized it. We want to take the pressure off him, but the number ten suits him very well because of the way he plays. He has the public’s love and the public is with him. He’s very motivated.”

“It’s a natural process, we gave the number ten to Ansu and many shirts started to sell, many of Frenkie and Memphis are also being sold.”

About the help of former Barça goalkeeper Víctor Valdés:

Ansu: “I’m very grateful to Víctor, he helped me a lot at the first stage of playing with the first team. I wish I’d spent more time with him. I’m very happy with all this, there have been many emotions.”

About el Clásico coming up:

Ansu: “Playing el Clásico is always a motivation because Madrid is our big rival. You always have to be prepared for the big games. I’m very calm because I know that the team is going to give everything to win.”

“We’re going to compete, in el Clásico there’s not a favourite. We have to take advantage of playing at home.”

Laporta: “I’m feeling good, we have won two games, we’ve been recovering players, Ansu and Kun (Aguëro) are already back, and we’re playing in front of our own fans. I take this opportunity to encourage the fans because there’ll be a great show. If we win against Madrid, and Ansu scores, it’ll be nice to celebrate this moment.”

Ansu: “For us, the fans are everything. Our biggest motivation is to play in front of them. That the Camp Nou is full is extra motivation because we like it when people support us. From other editions of el Clásico, I remember the 0-4 in which Luis (Suárez) and Ney (Neymar) scored, and I think Ivan (Rakitić) as well.”

Laporta: “I think the pandemic has created new habits. I think that when there are messages from the health authorities saying that the pandemic has ended, there’ll be more people in the stadium, also because tourism will return.”

About the future of the team:

Laporta: “I think we’re building a team, and for me, the most important thing is the team. The eleven starters and those on the bench. I don’t know if Pedri will be back before Sunday, but he’s part of a generation of young people who are doing well and showing that they can be important players for the team. Our strength is going to be the team we’ll have in the coming years. There’ll be more references than just two players. We’re going to have a stronger team.”

Ansu: “All of us who are here are going to work so that the club does as well as possible. Not only the players but also the President and all the staff.”

“Last year I couldn’t play in the cup final, but I still felt part of it because I was with the team at all times. This year we will fight for everything.”

“We have a squad that can fight and we’re going to work for it. We’re at Barça and we are obligated to win everything. That’s what all the players have in mind.”

About not passing the ball when he had a chance against Dynamo Kyiv:

Ansu: “Busi gave me hell, but as a forward, I tried to shoot. It was a bad choice and yes, maybe I have to improve on that. If not, the next time Busi is going to kill me (laughs), and also Philippe (Coutinho), who was there too.”

About Memphis Depay and Eric García:

Ansu: “I hope to have the opportunity of playing with Memphis for a long time.”

“I’m super happy for Eric and for his family. He wanted to be here. We have a very good relationship from when we were together in youth football.”