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Sergi Roberto Explains How He Snubbed Real Madrid, Chose Barcelona

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistApril 5, 2019

VILLAREAL, SPAIN - APRIL 02:  Sergi Roberto of FC Barcelona in action during the La Liga match between Villarreal CF and FC Barcelona at Estadio de la Ceramica on April 02, 2019 in Villareal, Spain. (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Barcelona star Sergi Roberto has explained how he snubbed Real Madrid as a teenager, with the Blaugrana swooping in just as Los Blancos offered him a trial. 

Roberto, who was born and raised in Catalonia, told Sport's Javier Giraldo he "didn't care" about Real once Barcelona came calling:

"Yes, I was playing for Nastic's U15 team. The director of Madrid's academy got in contact with the club to show interest and invite me for a trial. A few days later, Barca reacted and also sent a fax to Nastic. At that moment, I didn't care about Madrid.

"The truth is, even though it may seem the opposite, I felt really calm at that time. I went for a trial at Barca, it went well, they told me to stay and that was that. Eveything else has been forgotten. I've been a Barca fan since I was a kid and I didn't think much about it."

He has previously discussed his rise through Barcelona's famed academy and what it means to play for the Catalans:

The 27-year-old has patiently worked his way up the pecking order at the Camp Nou, spending several seasons as an afterthought and depth option before breaking out during the 2015-16 campaign.

He has been a regular since, splitting his time between the right-back and central midfield positions, depending on where he is needed. A natural midfielder, his attacking tendencies and passing range have played well at right-back in Barcelona's possession-based system.

This season he has made 19 La Liga starts, the bulk coming in defence. He has battled Nelson Semedo for the starting position, and the Portuguese has come on strong in the new year.

CASTELLON, SPAIN - APRIL 2: (L-R) Sergi Roberto of FC Barcelona, Vicente Iborra of Villarreal, Sergio Busquets of FC Barcelona  during the La Liga Santander  match between Villarreal v FC Barcelona at the Estadio de la Ceramica on April 2, 2019 in Castell
Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Given he nearly joined hated rivals Real, it's fair to wonder how his career would have played out if he had. Barcelona converted the Spain international to a right-back because they failed to adequately fill the position for years, but Los Blancos never had that problem, as Dani Carvajal became their default starter in 2013.

With Toni Kroos and Luka Modric in the fold, Real also didn't have a hole in their midfield to plug, so Roberto may never have had the chance to blossom into the player he is today if he'd played at the Bernabeu.

He is expected to be in the starting XI for Saturday's crucial La Liga match against Atletico Madrid, and he has said it will be a massive occasion:

beIN SPORTS USA @beINSPORTSUSA

Sergi Roberto: "We want LaLiga, then the Champions League and the Copa del Rey. Now it's about LaLiga and against Atletico it will be a vital game, a final." https://t.co/oN8G5TqUpH

Barcelona lead Atletico by eight points in the standings and will be all but assured another Spanish title with a win on Saturday.

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