LaLiga

Who is Konrad de la Fuente? The American who could replace Ansu at Barcelona

Ronald Koeman may look to the 19-year-old American winger to make the step up and replace the injured Spain international star

 
6:45pm on Tuesday 10th November 2020
By
Robin Bairner

The news that Ansu Fati will miss four months because of injury has rocked Barcelona, though it could be that they already have the answer to their problem in their ranks in the form of Konrad de la Fuente.

On the books of the club since 2013, he moved to Spain two years earlier at the age of 10, having been born in Miami.

Although the 19-year-old has not debuted for the first team, he earned a call into the US national team squad for their November friendlies against Wales and Panama, and it may only be a matter of time before he features for Barca’s first team.

Indeed, having admitted to being starstruck the first time he saw Lionel Messi, he could soon be lining up alongside the six-time Ballon d’Or winner.

“He was having an interview at La Masia, and I was there,” De la Fuente told ESPN. “When the interview was over, I went to go take a picture of him and I have my phone in my hand, and I'm looking down at my hand is trembling.”

Head coach Ronald Koeman has reportedly been taken with his talents, having watched the B team player closely after singling him out for praise after a friendly with Girona ahead of Pedri or Ansu.

“If I had to highlight one of the youngsters, I would say Konrad. I’m very happy with him,” the coach said.

What type of player is De la Fuente

De la Fuente typically plays off the left wing, although as a right footer, this means he likes to come inside and get shots away.

It makes the teenager a goal threat, although he has produced only one strike in his six outings for the reserves.

Rather than a footballer, though, he retains some of the influence from his homeland, turning to basketball superstar Lebron James for his inspiration.

“I just like the way he plays, his work ethic, how he is off the field, his ambition to improve even though he is the best,” De la Fuente said. “Even though I am not a basketball player, but I want to be like that in the soccer world.”

He could soon have his chance to make his breakthrough at Barca, where he is under contract until 2022, with a massive €100m release clause if he plays for the first team.

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