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Manchester City's Nolito reveals he was "very close" to Barcelona transfer this summer


Manchester City v Everton - Premier League Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Manuel Agudo Durán, better known as Nolito, was a Barcelona transfer target for the better part of a year before signing with Manchester City this summer. The Spaniard has quickly become a fan favorite in Manchester, and is perhaps the bargain of the season in the Premier League, costing just €15 million to Pep Guardiola.

Nolito was a Barça B and Celta Vigo star during his time in Spain, thanks in most part to the help from current Blaugrana manager Luis Enrique, who coached Nolito in both teams. In fact, it was Lucho who helped Nolito become an elite player by helping him lose weight and believe in himself.

Nolito and Enrique will meet again on Wednesday as Barça and Man City face off at Camp Nou in a massive Champions League game. In a very good interview with English media, Nolito spoke about Lucho's influence in his career, and even revealed he nearly signed for Barça this summer before making the final decision to join the Sky Blues of Manchester:

“Luis Enrique appeared at a moment in my career where it was either take a step forward or a step back. I was at Barcelona B with him, then Celta. He bet very, very heavily on me and supported me. He made me see football differently, convincing me I could really make it.

“I [had] always played carrying extra kilos. He made me see that it was fundamental to lose weight, 10 kilos, to make the breakthrough. He waspesado [insistent], for my own good. It was hard, but there’s been a massive change. Brutal.

“He was on at me every day; he’s been fundamental for my career. The cakes, the bread, the Coke: it’s all good but for my profession it was shit. I’d train then eat: train, eat, train, eat. I was a fish biting its own tail. Eventually, you realise: an elite player has to be fino [slim].”

“It was close with Barcelona but in the end I chose City. The last three years at Celta have been the best of my life but it was time to go, the right moment. I’d like to win something before my career is over and I think I can at City.”

Source: The Guardian

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