When Manchester City travel to Barcelona on Wednesday, plenty of old friends are going to be reuniting.
All eyes will, of course, be on Pep Guardiola as the City boss heading back to the club where he made his name as one of the finest managers in the game, but he won't be the only one returning home.
Nolito also owes a huge debt to Barca boss Luis Enrique, whom he worked under at Celta Vigo three years ago.
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The attacker spent some of the early years of his career at the Nou Camp, which was where he first met the manager, then a coach with Barcelona's B side.
When they later linked up again at Celta Vigo, Nolito has revealed Enrique was instrumental in turning his career around.
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“Luis Enrique appeared at a moment in my career where it was either take a step forward or a step back,” he said, per the Guardian.
“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 was pesado [insistent], for my own good. It was hard, but there’s been a massive change. Brutal."
Plenty of footballers must find it difficult to manage their weight, but with City's summer signing revealing his ridiculously unhealthy diet prior to the intervention, it's easy to see why he wasn't playing to his full potential.
Nolito's odd diet
“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 s***.
"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].”
An impressive 39 goals in 100 league games followed, earning him his £13.8million move to the Etihad.
Ironically, though, he could have been gearing up to face Guardiola's side this week, as there was also interest from Barca.
“It was close with Barcelona but in the end I chose City,” he added.
Fearing that the famous 'MSN' trio of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, and Neymar would prevent him from breaking into the first team again, he opted for the Premier League, where he's been an immediate hit, bagging three goals in six games.
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