Nico Gonzalez was one of several Barcelona youngsters sent on loan by the club to gain more experience at the highest level of football.
The youngster was rated highly by coach Xavi Hernandez. But it appears the player wanted to move elsewhere in order to gain more opportunities and continue his progress. As such, he joined Valencia on a season-long loan deal.
A month into the new season, Nico is starting to gain traction in the Valencia first team, having featured in all six league matches so far.
In a recent interaction with El Larguero, Nico was asked about his prospects at Valencia for the remainder of the campaign. He also made it clear that his loyalty lies with Barcelona and he has no intention to join Real Madrid in the near future.
When asked if he would ever consider joining Real Madrid in the future, Nico replied: “No, I’ve been a Barça fan since I was little. I’m very happy in Valencia, I’ve been very happy at Barça and I don’t think I’ll end up at Madrid.”
Nico went on to offer more clarity on Barcelona’s decision to loan him out in the summer, suggesting it was his desire to leave the club. “I asked Xavi Hernández to go on loan and he understood. He wished me a lot of luck and he made everything easy for me to go out on loan,” he added.
Regarded as one of the most talented players to come out of the famed La Masia youth academy, Barcelona have major plans for Nico. The youngster was notably identified as the ideal alternative for Sergio Busquets earlier in the summer.
Although he ended up joining Valencia, Nico still has a significant chance of breaking into the Barcelona first-team next season, especially with Busquets likely to depart in the summer of 2023.
And unlike a former La Masia graduate, Gerard Deulofeu, the 20-year-old Nico has no desire to join Real Madrid any time in the future.
UFC Champion to kick off Real Madrid vs Sevilla, sends message to Mbappe: “Lucky to play for the best club in the world”
Coming on the back of his triumph at UFC, Featherweight champion Ilia Topuria has announced he will take honorary kick-off in the upcoming Real Madrid vs Sevilla in La Liga this weekend.
Topuria confirmed this in a recent press conference in the Spanish capital this midweek.
A self-proclaimed Madridista, Topuria expressed his deep connection with the club and even sent a message to Kylian Mbappe, who is widely expected to join the club on a free transfer this summer.
Ilia Topuria: A hardcore Madridista
Ilia Topuria did not hold back his affection for Real Madrid, stating, “For me, the team that represents the values of Spain the most is Real Madrid.”
The Georgian-Spaniard UFC champion went on to confirm that he will meet Florentino Perez on Sunday and take the kick-off.
“I’m going to meet Florentino Perez on Sunday and take the kick-off,” he said (h/t Mundo Deportivo).
Although born in Germany, Topuria made Spain proud last Saturday when he beat Alexander Volkanovski in the second round. In the process, he became the first fighter from Spain to capture a UFC belt.
Topuria’s triumph has granted him overnight success in Spain, with the 27-year-old even becoming a cultural icon for many.
Topuria’s message for Mbappe
Other than professing his love for Real Madrid, Ilia Topuria also had a message for Mbappe.
When asked about the Frenchman potentially joining Real Madrid this summer, he said, “Welcome. He’s lucky to play for the best club in the world.”
Real Madrid, for their part, also congratulated Topuria on his triumph. “Congratulations on your historic triumph for Spanish sport, Ilia Topuria. We are proud that a great Real Madrid fan like you becomes UFC world champion,” the club posted on X.
Real Madrid fans, meanwhile, will be excited to witness Topuria taking the honorary kickoff as Los Blancos take on Sevilla this weekend, with three crucial points on the line.