Ansu Fati became the youngest goalscorer in the history of the Spanish national team on Sunday by scoring in Spain’s 4-0 win over Ukraine.
Aged 17 years and 311 days, Fati scored in the 32nd minute at the Alfredo di Stefano Stadium, when he cut in from the left and curled into the bottom corner.
It came after a spell-binding opening half an hour from the youngster, whose driving run had already earned a penalty for Sergio Ramos to convert.
Ramos then headed in to make it two before Fati made history on his first start for Spain, beating the country’s previous youngest scorer, Juan Errazquin, who scored three goals aged 18 against Switzerland in 1925.
Manchester City’s new signing Ferran Torres made it four late on as Spain registered their first victory in this season’s Nations League to go top of League A’s Group 4.
Luis Enrique’s side had opened with a 1-1 draw on Thursday against Germany, whose second game ended in another 1-1 draw away at Switzerland.
Fati impressed off the bench against Germany, enough to be handed his first start by Luis Enrique on the left of Spain’s front three.
He took his chance by putting on a mesmerising display, the only shame that there were no fans in the stadium to see it.
“At that age it’s easy to get birds in your head,” said Luis Enrique afterwards. “But he is mature enough to know that the path he is taking is the best to take as a player. He’s quiet and humble.”
– Fati confidence ‘not normal’ –
Fati is now the youngest player to score for Spain, for Barca in La Liga and the youngest to score in the Champions League as well.
“When we choose the squad, we don’t look at the age,” Luis Enrique added. “That doesn’t mean you don’t have to understand that he’s going to play bad games and he’s going to make lots of mistakes. It’s part of learning but that kind of confidence isn’t normal.”
Born in Guinea-Bissau, Fati and his family moved to Seville when he was a young boy. He joined Barcelona’s La Masia academy aged 10 and made his first team debut at the start of last season, becoming the second youngest player ever to play for the club.
He became the their youngest ever scorer in La Liga after scoring off the bench versus Osasuna and then scored on his first start for the Catalans too, against Valencia in September, aged 16.
The next day, Barcelona newspaper Mundo Deportivo wrote “A star is born” and he continued breaking records by hitting the winner against Inter Milan in the Champions League in December.
Fati was expected to be given his debut for Spain earlier this year but he had to wait as fixtures were postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Ukraine never got to grips with the winger, who won a penalty in the third minute, converted by Ramos, and then almost scored with a bicycle kick.
He fired wide of the far post after another darting dribble down the left and after Ramos headed in, he finally scored, cutting in from the left and ripping the ball into the far bottom corner.
Spain eased up in the second half but there was still time for a fourth, Torres finishing well at the back post to cap a memorable night.