Not many teams can say they beat Barcelona to a signing but Manchester City certainly can.
The Spanish giants were keen to resign Nolito this summer but the 29-year-old opted to join City in a £13.8 million deal.
The winger spent four years at Barcelona B and then, briefly, with the first-team before he ended up at Celta, via Benfica and Granada. And Luis Enrique’s side wanted to trigger a buy-back clause - like they have numerous times in the past, including earlier this summer with Denis Suarez - for the Spain international.
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But Nolito turned down the opportunity to line-up alongside the likes of Andres Iniesta, Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi to sign for the Citizens. The main reason for that? A certain Pep Guardiola.
"The truth is I enjoyed working with him [Guardiola] in Barcelona even though it wasn't much time. It's a reason for me to come here but not the only one,” he said, per Sky Sports.
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While Guardiola may have been the decisive factor in Nolito choosing Manchester over Barcelona, there were also other reasons for his decision.
Nolito's other reasons for joining City
"But it was also about City, they have a great team, it's a great project, they got to the semi-finals of the Champions League last season and the truth is I will try to help this club achieve great things,” he said.
"I thought it was the best decision for me and my career. I have come to the Premier League to play with City and under Pep Guardiola, who will play me in the first team, and I am very happy with the decision I took. It took me just two days to make the decision."
With the likes of Suarez, Messi and Neymar, Barcelona will hardly rue the fact Nolito turned them down but there is no doubt Enrique is keen to add competition to the formidable trio.
Barcelona want another striker
Catalan newspaper Sport are reporting that they are now targeting Sevilla’s Kevin Gameiro with them claiming that the La Liga champions have agreed a deal with the Frenchman.
But for Nolito, Barcelona are now in the past and he’s looking forward to his future with City.
"I wish Barcelona all the best. I am very proud of Barcelona's interest, but now I am here and I think I made the best decision to come here,” he added.
"I was fortunate to play in Barcelona, although not much in the first team, and now I am excited about playing at City and I will try to do great things here."
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