Dong-Bortey: How Messi could hamper Fati's progress

Dong-Bortey: How Messi could hamper Fati's progress
Barcelona's Argentinean striker Lionel Messi (L) celebrates with teammates Ansu Fati (C) and Clement Lenglet

by Staff Reporter

Thursday Apr 02, 2020. 12:00

Former Ghana international Bernard Dong-Bortey says Ansu Fati’s progress could be hampered by Lionel Messi at FC Barcelona.

Fati, who is one of the brightest prospects in world football, was born in Guinea-Bissau, but he pledged his international allegiance to Spain.

A one-time Ghana prodigy Dong-Bortey has compared the 17-year-old attacker with other highly-rated starlets in world football.

“I watch Marcus Rashford and Vinicius Jnr a lot. I think Vinicius is the most exciting young player for me because to play for Real Madrid is not an easy thing. If you get the chance, you have to play your heart out. Vinicius is even making the first XI. He’ll be a great player one day,” Dong-Bortey told Goal.

“Fati is also good but there are the likes of Messi at Barcelona and you can only become the star man when Messi is not there. But at Real Madrid everybody has the chance to shine.”

Dong-Bortey was one of Ghana’s best performers at the 1999 FIFA U-17 World Championship in New Zealand, where he played six games and scored three goals.

“Everything is confidence. No matter your age, be it 15, 16. We can see Fati, he’s just a 17-year-old boy. The coach will give you the chance to show what you have but everything will be down to your confidence,” he continued.

“If you have it, you can play with anyone, be it [Cristiano] Ronaldo, Messi or any kind of player. You can see Vinicius Jnr. We have a lot of young talented players who are coming to dominate world football. We have to encourage them.”

Dong-Bortey, who is now 37-years-old, has represented the Black Stars of Ghana 27 times and netted seven goals.

“They would have to be careful with the media hype because hearing your name everywhere can get you swollen-headed. They also have to respect the game. They have to work hard, do self-training and not just rely on team training,” he said.

“Looking at how the coronavirus has ground all the teams, as a young lad, you have to keep training on your own or else you may lose your touch.

“They must respect the people they work with and they must fear God too because he gave them the talent. They must also respect the fans and the media who carry them higher.”

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