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Former Manchester City star Nicolas Otamendi brutally taunted Ansu Fati in Benfica's win over Barcelona by asking him, "Are you Leo?"
Following Lionel Messi's decision to swap Barca for Paris Saint-Germain, Fati has emerged as a potential heir to the Argentine's throne.
The 18-year-old, who like Messi is a product of the club's famed La Masia academy, made his debut for the Catalan giants in the 2019-20 season, scoring eight goals in 33 appearances.
His progress has stalled since, largely because of a serious knee injury that required four surgeries, but he's now back and available after nearly a year out.
After marking his return with a goal against Levante last weekend, Fati got another 22 minutes under his belt against Benfica in the Champions League as Barcelona crashed to a 3-0 defeat.
Despite being unable to make any real impact on the match, the teenager was involved in a small altercation with former Etihad ace Otamendi towards the end of the contest.
When Fati fouled the Argentine late on in the humbling loss, Otamendi taunted the youngster for wearing the No.10 shirt that used to belong to his international team-mate Messi.
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The defender gave his opponent a wry look and appeared to ask: "Are you Leo?"
Barcelona fell to a second consecutive 3-0 defeat in the Champions League, with Darwin Nunez finding the net either side of a goal from Rafa Silva.
Ronaldo Koeman's side also had Eric Garcia sent off late on for two bookings and are now winless in their last five European games.
The Blaugrana are bottom of Group E and are facing a real battle just to qualify for the Europa League, let alone make the knockout stage of the Champions League.
Despite the current doom and gloom around the club, the return of Fati gave fans something to smile about on what was otherwise another dismal evening for Barca.
When it was confirmed that Fati would wear the No.10 shirt, the player's father, Bori, went down to the club shop to buy eight replica shirts.
"I couldn't sleep," Fati senior told Deportes Cuatro of his excitement.
"I said to myself, as soon as the shop opens I've got to be there.
"I have no words to describe what it means that Ansu inherits the 10 from Leo Messi . I have no words. It is a moment of emotion that must be kept forever."
- Barcelona FC
- Lionel Messi
- Champions League
- Manchester City FC
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