Tottenham Hotspur playmaker Christian Eriksen may have been linked with a move to Barcelona this transfer window (Express), but one other Spurs star has already turned down the Spanish giants twice.
Spurs’ record signing Davinson Sanchez, who signed for the club in 2017 for £42m (Guardian), had multiple chances to join Barca, but decided to look elsewhere in his career.
After winning the Copa Libertadores with Atletico Nacional – the South American equivalent of the Champions League – Sanchez received interest from some of the big dogs, just a month after turning 20.
However, Barcelona apparently wanted the Colombian centre-back to join the B-side (Marca), while Sanchez was keen to play and train alongside the likes of Lionel Messi and push Carlos Puyol and Javier Mascherano for their starting spots.
Unwilling to drop down to a second-string team, Sanchez eventually moved to Ajax to further his career, playing there for just one season before transferring to Tottenham.
Sanchez said (Express): “I’ve grown up with my head one way. Life, football, every position is the same. You are here and you have one chance to be better.
“If that chance comes in your job – you take it. You don’t wait.
“When I was 15 years old I was alone in Medellin. I left my family to take that chance, to create that opportunity.
“My club, Atletico Nacional, had a house. We were all kids there. A lot of people in a small space, you had to fight for that space.
“You sleep, you wake up. But they didn’t manage you to do these things. You had to find a way to go to the training. You had to take responsibility.
“You can have friends who are doing the same thing as you but if your chance comes, you take it – and you say, ‘Sorry for my friend’.
“He can keep working but it’s my chance. My dream was to play football. I am here because I believed in myself.”
On Barcelona’s interest, Sanchez added: “I wanted to go into the first team. Alongside Lionel Messi, Gerard Pique – I’d have improved.
“Javier Mascherano and Carles Puyol were in the team at centre-back at the time. I’d have put pressure on Puyol, for example. Why not?
“I was doing so well and I felt it was better maybe to wait for another opportunity to play football with the best players in the world.
“I felt I could do it. At that moment I didn’t have doubts to say: ‘No, maybe I have to improve more.’”
Have something to tell us about this article?