Ansu Fati has been left out of Spain’s squad for the upcoming Under-17 World Cup in Brazil and will remain in Barcelona.
Spain U17 coach David Gordo revealed last month that if Ansu were available for selection, he would be included in the roster.
However, Gordo named a 21-man group on Wednesday without the 16-year-old included.
Speaking on Wednesday after the squad announcement, Spain’s youth team sporting director Francisco Hernandez said: “The decision we have taken, in this case made by the sports management, is for the player not to come to the U17 World Cup.
“We believe that the aim of the federation when beginning the process to nationalise Ansu was that — at some point — he could be available for the national team and not for a given national team squad.
“Having made a general sporting analysis, we consider that the best thing is for the lad to stay and to have an option in the upcoming November callups to take part in a higher category. For that to happen, he can’t go to the World Cup.
“Our aim is for Ansu to be available for selection and that one day he can make his debut with the senior team, to be a part and have a starring role in the senior team.”
Spain coach Robert Moreno said last week he considered calling up Ansu for the upcoming Euro 2020 qualifiers at Norway and Sweden.
However, Ansu was left out of both Spain’s U21 squad and the senior team for bureaucratic reasons. The Guinea-Bissau born forward recently acquired Spanish nationality after 10 years in the country, but family documents required by FIFA for the player to be eligible to play for Spain are still missing.
“We presented this week the last documents that FIFA had requested and I think we are close to getting it done,” Hernandez said. “Our legal department is working hard to get this eligibility.”
Ansu’s exclusion from the Spain U17 World Cup is good news for Barca coach Ernesto Valverde, who said it would be a “setback” for the Catalan club if the youngster were included as he would have missed up to seven games, including the Clasico against Real Madrid on Oct. 26.
Ansu became Barca’s youngest ever goalscorer in La Liga in August against Osasuna and the youngest ever player to debut in a UEFA competition against Borussia Dortmund last month.
Gordo, meanwhile, says he is happy with his selection.
“I’m delighted with the list we have chosen,” he said. “We consider that Ansu has to compete in superior national teams.”