FC Barcelona forward Ansu Fati says he feels “no pressure” in wearing the No 10 shirt at the Nou Camp, after it was vacated by Lionel Messi.
Messi left Barca in the summer after he was unable to sign a new contract due to financial issues at the Catalan club.
They were unable to retire his number as the Spanish FA’s rules require La Liga teams to assign their 25-man squad the numbers 1-25.
As a result, the iconic shirt number was given to La Masia graduate, Fati, who says he is “proud” to wear the jersey.
He said: “It is not a pressure. I am proud to wear the number 10 after Leo. I am happy with the club and captains for the opportunity.”
When the decision was announced, Barca explained why the 18-year-old was the perfect player to be handed the unoccupied shirt number.
“Ansu Fati has a new shirt number. After wearing the No 22 then No 17, the young Barca striker will proudly wear the number 10 shirt – a famous jersey previously worn by legends such as Leo Messi, Ronaldinho and Rivaldo,” the statement read.
“Despite being just 18 years of age and still recovering from injury, Ansu Fati forms part of Barca’s history as a record breaker and also with the Spanish national side.
“Since his debut in August 2019, the youngster has set records in the league and Champions League.
“Just six days after his debut for the first team he became the youngest ever player to score in the league for FC Barcelona. He is a record breaker who will now wear the magical No 10 shirt.”
Fati returned to action on Sunday after ten months out injured, coming off the bench late on against Levante, scoring Barca’s third as they won 3-0.
Speaking after scoring his goal, the teenager said: “I did not imagine a return like this. I am happy for the victory, there is still a long way to go.
“Thanks to the doctors and physios who have been with me.
“I am happy to help the team and for my family who have been suffering these months. I am very grateful to all.”