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Nolito plays down Barca link, ready to sign new Celta deal

Spain forward Nolito has dismissed rumours linking him with a return to Barcelona and pledged to sign a new deal with Celta Vigo in the near future.

The 29-year-old, who began his career at Camp Nou, has been in scintillating form this season – scoring eight times in 15 La Liga appearances and winning call ups to Vicente del Bosque’s national squad.

His performances have sparked suggestion that a return to Barcelona could be on the cards, where he played under current boss Luis Enrique during his time in charge of the club’s B team.

Earlier on Tuesday, Nolito – who also played under Luis Enrique at Celta in 2013-14 – was ruled out for a month with a hamstring injury but, in an interview with Marca, he insisted he would not spend the downtime looking to engineer a high-profile move.

“They are only rumours,” he said. “I want to be loud and clear, it is only what I have read in the press and what my friends have told me.

“I think that if Barca really want me they’ll call Celta, and as far as I know they haven’t done so.

“The truth is that I am happy in Vigo and that is why, some minor details pending, I will be renewing with Celta soon. I am only sure that I am doing well here and I have decided to renew.”

Nolito, who scored in a sensational 4-1 win over Barcelona earlier this season, paid tribute to the role his former club played in his footballing education and gave particular credit to Luis Enrique.

“I was [at Barca] for three years. They were the most important of my career because I took a big step forward,” he added.

“I realised I could make a living from football. I started to take it more seriously, not as a hobby but rather as a job.

“Luis Enrique saw me at 20 and taught me a different philosophy, a different way to live life and football. He pushed me hard on nutrition, for example. He has always been straight with me, for good and bad.”

Tue 15 Dec, 2015
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