Nico Gonzalez’s father has revealed the midfielder opted to join Barcelona as a 11-year-old even though he had received a bigger offer from the club’s fierce rivals Real Madrid.
The midfielder has broken into the first team this season, making 27 appearances in all competitions from the Catalan giants. His father Fran, who won the league for Deportiva La Coruna as a player, has told ESPN how he impressed Barcelona when he scored against them while playing for Montaneros at the age of 10.
“That game was the deciding factor for Barca to say: ‘Bloody hell! We’ve got a player here,'” he said. “It was an easy decision for the kid to come to Barcelona. He had the chance to go to Madrid or Barca and he chose Barca. Well, him and his mum chose Barcelona!”
Fran Gonzalez also revealed that Nico hadn’t always been football mad. The former Deportivo man says his sondid not show too much of an interest in the game when he was a young child.
“Nico didn’t want to play football at first. When he was 6, he had no interest. I was still playing and maybe he was tired of going from place to place,” he explained. “But then one day arrived and, I don’t know why, but he just started to play.”
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Nico’s ‘Dream’ Was To Play For Barcelona
Nico went on to join Barcelona and went through the club’s La Masia academy but it wasn’t all plain sailing, according to his father. Fran explains that while it’s been dificult at times his son is now reaping the rewards.
“It was difficult when he was 15 because he grew 25cm [10 inches] and he didn’t have much strength,” he said. “I was working at Manchester City at the time and when I came to see him he was very thin and very tall. That was perhaps the worst moment for him so far.”
Gonzalez Senior also admitted that Nico has received plenty of offers during his time at Barcelona but the midfielder has only ever wanted to play for the Catalan giants.
“He had offers from abroad, very big offers, a lot of money, but his dream was to play for Barcelona,” he added. “It’s been a huge sacrifice, above all for his siblings, who didn’t want to go to Barcelona, but the dream has been fulfilled this season.”
Europe’s Top Clubs Eye Nico?
Nico appears to have attracted more admirers this season for his impressive performance for Barca. The youngster “has caught the attention of Europe’s biggest clubs,” as reported by Marca.
Three Premier League teams, two Serie A sides, and a club from Germany are believed to be interested in the 20-year-old, but his priority is to stay at Barcelona as “he feels comfortable and happy.”
Nico is part of an exciting crop of youngsters at the Camp Nou along with Pedri, Gavi, Ansu Fati, Sergino Dest, Ronald Araujo, and Ferran Torres.
Barca confirmed in January that he has been officially promoted to the first team and handed the No. 14 shirt.
Nico’s current contract runs until 2024 and contains a buyout clause set at 500 million euros. However, it would be no surprise if Barca decided to offer the midfielder a new and improved deal in a bid to secure his long-term future and ward off any potential admirers.