It was the most perfect comeback for Ansu Fati when he took to the field for Barcelona against Levante on Sunday afternoon.
After 322 days out injured, the 18-year-old needed only 10 minutes to get on the score sheet and send the Camp Nou crowd wild.
With Lionel Messi having left the club and Barca coming into the game on the back of two disappointing results against Granada and Cadiz, Fati’s cameo couldn’t have been better timed.
However, manager, Ronald Koeman, is resisting the clamour for the youngster to be given even more than 15 minutes in the upcoming games.
“He still lacks a lot [to be 100%], as we spoke about the other day,” the Dutchman said in his press conference on Tuesday, cited by Sport.
“Things went well on Sunday, he got the 15 minutes we said and to score as well was perfect for us.
“[…] What I can say is he’s just been out for 10 months. He’s trained with the team for a couple of weeks and has only played 15 minutes of football.
“He was very tired on Monday. What happened also had a huge emotional impact on him after so long out, coming on, scoring, being with his family. We have to keep the mental aspect in mind.
“He trained today without problems. We will keep trying to give him more time in games. It depends on how Ansu is. We have to increase (his minutes) but I can’t say before every game how many minutes he can play, it depends on the player.”
Ansu Fati is BACK! ?
The young superstar marks his return from injury after 323 days with a goal, goes to the bench to celebrate with the Barcelona staff, and then into the stand to celebrate with his brother ??
What a moment! ? pic.twitter.com/s11E7Bguzr
— Premier Sports (@PremierSportsTV) September 26, 2021
It’s a sensible decision even if the supporters don’t see the logic in brining him back into the fold slowly.
The club simply can’t afford for him to break down again, so if it means being cautious for the next few weeks, so be it.