By Chukwuka Joseph (AGENDAWATCHDOG) – Barcelona was teetering on the brink of complete disaster after Bayern Munich crushed its reputation in a historic 8-2 defeat that even made Lionel Messi believe it was time to abandon his club.
But less than two months after that Champions League loss, a new coach emphasizing a strong work ethic and a forward not even 18 years old have pumped fresh optimism into Camp Nou. Ansu Fati’s three goals in two wins have Barcelona off to an ideal start to the Spanish league. Added to three preseason wins, Barcelona appears to be on its way back.
Fati, who turns 18 on Oct. 31, scored two early goals and earned a penalty to lead a 4-0 rout of Villarreal in Barcelona’s opener last weekend. He followed that up by using a deft control before firing home a strike with the tip of his right boot to get 10-man Barcelona off to a 3-0 victory at a rainy Celta Vigo on Thursday.
The strong showings seem to have helped calm Messi after an incredibly tense period of bickering with club officials. Messi was blocked in his bid to leave the club in August. After complaining about his treatment by the club, Messi changed tact Wednesday by calling for “unity” and apologizing to fans for the ordeal of hearing that their idol wanted to leave.