'A generational talent': Messi scores but Fati shades him with two stunning goals as Barcelona run riot against Villarreal (VIDEO)

Ansu Fati, the 17-year-old who was formally made a senior player at Barcelona last week, has shown why the club included a whopping $468 million release fee clause in his new contract by sending their Liga season off to a flyer.

The Spain sensation has made incredible progress since making his debut for the club last season, becoming the club’s youngest ever goal scorer just a week later and, in the months that followed, the youngest player ever to represent Barca in the Champions League and the European competition’s youngest ever goal scorer.

While all eyes were on Lionel Messi following the turmoil that almost saw the striker leave the club last season, his precocious pretender stole the headlines by taking just 15 minutes to open Barcelona’s account for the season in spectacular style as they entertained Villarreal.

A perceptive pass by Clement Lenglet began the lightning break from the home side at the Camp Nou, finding wideman Jordi Alba, who charged inside the penalty area on the left and cut a low pass back into Fati’s path.

The teenager still had plenty to do from just inside the penalty area, but the calmness with which he dispatched a thunderous effort beyond goalkeeper Sergio Asenjo was worthy of a seasoned superstar and showed why the club were so keen to ward off his suitors with the huge clause in his new contract.

“Such a cool finish,” marveled one fan. “Fati may have a big season ahead of him.”

Just as the plaudits were raining in for Fati’s scintillating strike, he added a second from a similar position following another slick move that began in Barcelona’s penalty area and ripped through the middle of the pitch at pace.

Midfielder Philippe Coutinho hared towards the penalty area before feeding Fati for his tenth Barcelona goal.

He relented for more than a quarter of an hour before tormenting the visiting defense again, winning a penalty and briefly looking like he might complete a 35-minute hat-trick before handing the ball to Messi.

Fati was barely a year old when Messi first turned out for Barcelona’s third team, and the club’s all-time top scorer converted an imperfect penalty to make it four goals in his last three Liga matches.

The goal ensured Messi became one of only four players to score in 17 consecutive seasons – a prospect that looked uncertain when he insisted that he wanted to leave the club he has spent his entire season at in late August.

The new youth academy graduate’s impact, meanwhile, was reminiscent of his outstanding performance for Spain against Ukraine in the Nations League last month, when he won a third-minute penalty and scored his country’s third goal as part of a series of dazzling runs cutting inside from the left.

That made him Spain’s youngest ever scorer, and he looked set to be part of an even more emphatic win in Barca’s first game under new coach Ronald Koeman thanks to a piece of brilliance from Messi just before the break.

La Liga’s all-time top scorer floated a superb cross from the left of center deep into the penalty area, and Sergio Busquets would almost certainly have scored from the opportunity without the intervention of befuddled defender Pau Torres, whose own goal made it 4-0.





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