One of the least exciting and at the same time one of the best signings of the summer transfer window in the Premier League was Manchester City bringing in Spanish winger Nolito, who has quickly become one of the top players in his position in the league, with three goals and very good performances in his six appearances so far.
The Spaniard scored on his 30th birthday on Saturday's 1-1 draw against Everton, and now prepares for the biggest game of his young City career: a Champions League night at Camp Nou.
Playing against Barcelona will be special for Nolito, who played at the club's youth system and was coached by current Barça manager Luis Enrique. Enrique helped Nolito become a star when the two worked together at Celta Vigo, and Nolito's performances there earned him a move to Manchester.
In fact, Enrique's effect on Nolito's career goes beyond just a few years of coach-player relationship. According to Nolito himself, "Lucho" helped him become the elite player he is today by never giving up on him:
“Luis Enrique appeared at a moment in my career where it was either take a step forward or a step back. I was at Barcelona B with him, then Celta. He bet very, very heavily on me and supported me. He made me see football differently, convincing me I could really make it.
“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 waspesado [insistent], for my own good. It was hard, but there’s been a massive change. Brutal.
“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 shit. 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].”
Source: The Guardian