It’s taken two long years, but Nélson Semedo is finally in his happy place at Barcelona. The Portuguese has been the second option to converted full-back Sergi Roberto ever since joining the club, but things are about to change this season.
Despite being linked with a move away from the club, Semedo was deemed untouchable by the club and the promise was kept: Barça rejected every approach made by Semedo before they even became real offers, and Ernesto Valverde has assured Semedo he’s going to be the starting right-back with Moussa Wagué as his backup and Roberto returning to his original place in midfield.
Of course everything could change in an instant and Semedo goes back to the bench, but for now he’s very happy with how the club as a whole has treated him. Below is an interview Nélson gave to the club’s website during the United States tour in which he talks about being ‘appreciated’ by Barça, as well as trying to fill the shoes of club legend Dani Alves.
On being appreciated by the club
It’s important for me to know that people appreciate me, the coach, the players, the president… And they want me to stay. I like that.
I only knew about Barça from TV but I knew it would be hard to play here, with so many good players and such a different way of playing. But with the help of the players and coaches I think I have improved a lot.
We’re getting ready for the start of official games next week. We’re improving out fitness and our tactics, doing all we can to start the season on the best possible form.
On the trips to Japan and United States
It was a great experience. It is also important for us to get close to our fans in Japan, and here in the US too.
On replacing Dani Alves
Dani Alves left a huge responsibility on the shoulders of new full-backs joining the team. He’s the best player I ever saw in my position. It makes me proud to think that I was chosen to take over from him in the role.
On friendship with Ousmane Dembélé
I really like playing with Ousmane because we are similar. We’re quick and understand each other. We also have a great friendship off the pitch and that always helps.
On the two league titles in two years
Winning the league twice in a row is not easy. Now we want a third. As Messi says, perhaps it won’t be as easy in future years and people will appreciate the achievement more.