Former Barcelona defender Junior Firpo has opened up on his time at the Camp Nou and why he opted to leave the Catalan giants for Leeds United after just two seasons.
Firpo was seen by many as the answer to Barcelona’s problems at right-back after joining the club from Real Betis on a five-year deal worth 18 million euros plus 12 million euros in variables.
However, the defender quickly fell out of favor at Barcelona and opted to try his luck in the Premier League. Firpo’s been asked if his story with Barcelona might have been different if Xavi had been in charge but says he struggled with the pressure, as reported by Sport Witness.
“Maybe things would have gone differently, but hey. I ended up badly burned and needed to go. I couldn’t see myself holding on,” he told AS. “I was very young, I had been in the elite for a season and a half and it is difficult to deal with such strong pressure. At first it costs. Sometimes I think that I wish I was there now with the maturity that I have today.”
Right-back remains an issue for Barcelona. Xavi has used central defender Jules Kounde in the position this season, although Julian Araujo may take over in the 2023-24 campaign after signing from LA Galaxy.
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Firpo Amazed By Barcelona Youngsters
Firpo was just 22 when he signed for Barcelona. He’s been keeping tabs on his former club’s progress this season and has been impressed by how the club’s teenagers have become key players under Xavi.
“That’s why I say that what Pedri, Gavi, Balde are doing has much more value… It’s just that it’s outrageous,” he added. “It is true that it is another context. It was another Barça and now everything is positive, but even so, everything they do seems incredible to me. They want to win everything and that is essential.”
Barcelona have already lifted the Spanish Super Cup under Xavi and currently top the table in Spain by eight points from Real Madrid. Xavi’s side are also into the quarter-finals of the Copa del Rey and face Manchester United for a place in the last 16 of the Champions League.
Araujo Is Barcelona’s Latest Right-Back
The latest defender to be brought to Barcelona to solve the issue at right-back is Julian Araujo. The Mexican has signed from LA Galaxy where he played alongside former Barcelona starlet Riqui Puig.
The midfielder has explained that he thinks Araujo will be a good signing for the Catalan giants, as reported by Sport.
“Araújo is a player who can give Barça a lot,” he said. “He goes into space a lot, has a lot of depth and, as Barcelona play with very wide full-backs, he can be very good for them.”
Araujo has started training with Rafa Marquez’s Barca Atletic reserve team and will stay with his side before moving up to Xavi’s first team after a period of adaptation. However, he is ineligible to play for the club until next season.
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