Manchester City forward Nolito has been one of the most pleasant surprises of City's season, scoring four goals for the club in just seven appearances and looking like a steal after moving to the Sky Blues for just £12 million in the summer. The Spaniard served a three-game domestic suspension in September, but he's ready to come back and help the team after the international break.
Currently in duty with Spain, the 29-year-old spoke to Spanish media about his first few months in England, the differences between La Liga and the Premier League, his relationship with Pep Guardiola, and revealed he nearly joined Barcelona this summer, who Nolito will face in their Champions League clash in two weeks. It's a really nice interview, and you should read it.
Vigo to Manchester. How has it changed your life?
Nolito: “I lived in Vigo for three magnificent years, the best of my career, and am very happy with how things are going for me in Manchester. It is a project I wanted to be part of, which has started very well and hopefully will finish well. Life is changing for the better and I can’t complain.”
Is there a lot of difference between English and Spanish football?
Nolito: “Yes, English football is much more physical, stronger and faster when attacking and defending. They are different, but are the two best leagues in the world.”
How about your relationship with Guardiola?
Nolito: “Good, pretty good, I’m not complaining. It is a privilege for me to work with him and try to learn every day, seizing the opportunities he gives me.”
They say that he controls mobiles, meals, dinners… is it that strict?
Nolito: “No! (laughs) We have WiFi, 3G and 4G. It’s not as strict as they are saying.”
On October 19, you face Barcelona in the Champions League…
Nolito: “We all know Barca is a great team, one of the world’s best, and we’ll see what happens. When we come back from international duty, we’ll be focusing on the Everton game, and then we will look at how we can tackle Barca. It’s a nice game to play in, it’ll be difficult and complicated, but this is the Champions League, and all matches are complicated.”
Messi will be fit for that game…
Nolito: “(laughs) Man, it would have been better if he’d recovered for the next game after ours. Barcelona, whoever is playing for them, has a great team. If Messi plays well… we know how he is, we have to try and stop him, and we’ll see how it goes.”
You went to Manchester when it seemed that your destiny was to join Barca. Were you really so close to the Camp Nou?
Nolito: “I was quite close (to joining Barca), but in the end decided to go to City. I think it was the best decision for me and my family. I’m happy to be playing for City.”
Last year, City reached the semi finals of the Champions League. Are you as favoured to win as it seems this time?
Nolito: “We do not talk about it. We look at it game to game, but it’s true, you have to be at the highest level, because if you are not, any team can beat you. We have started well, but have to improve in many aspects. We’ll go bit by bit and see what happens across the season.”
Source: Mundo Deportivo via City Watch