Ivan Rakitic labels Ansu Fati, 18, as LaLiga’s biggest prospect and praises Barcelona star’s ‘incredible’ talent

IVAN RAKITIC tips Ansu Fati to become LaLiga's top star – but hopes Lionel Messi has "many years left" as the main man.

Former Barcelona midfielder Rakitic watched in awe at close hand as Spain wideman Fati, 18, broke record after record over the past 16 months.

And despite the Croatia legend, 32, joining Sevilla in the summer, he still names Fati as "the most incredible talent compared to the rest".

The Guinea-Bissau-born teen became Barca's youngest ever scorer in August 2019, aged 16 years and 304 days.

He has since become the youngest player to score and bag an assist in LaLiga, as well as being the Champions League's most youthful debutant, at 16 years and 321 days in December last year.

But he could be out until March following knee surgery two months ago.

And it still seems a lifetime away for Fati to even think of rivalling Messi, 33, who notched his 644th Barca goal on Tuesday, breaking the one-club record held by Pele with Santos.

But Rakitic has seen enough to identify Fati as out on his own in Spain's new generation.

He told LiveScore and LaLiga: "I think Ansu Fati, who is unfortunately injured at the moment, is the one with the most incredible talent compared to the rest. 

"I played with him for a time at Barcelona. He has been unlucky with his current injury, but I hope he can return as soon as possible.

"For me, he is a boy who can be a great player for Spanish football and I am sure that many people, including me, will enjoy Ansu playing at the highest level for a long time."

But switching to Messi, Rakitic stressed: "I hope he has many years left and that he decides what is best for him and for Barcelona. 

"I spent six incredible years playing with him at Barcelona and it is really incredible to have played with him and to be in the same team.

"So I hope he can stay at Barcelona for many more years." 

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