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    FC Barcelona youngster’s father revealed how close he was to joining Manchester City

    Ilaix Moriba

    Football   |   March 15, 2021

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    FC Barcelona wonderkid Ilaix Moriba’s father revealed that he was about to shift his son to Manchester City but cancelled it at the last minute.

    The youngster has grabbed the headline with his first senior debut and now with his first goal for the Catalans against Osasuna in their 2-0 win. The young midfielder is very highly rated by everyone around the club and people feel that he can be a player who can rule the midfield for FC Barcelona in coming years.

    Moriba joined Barcelona’s academy back in 2010 after a stint at Espanyol and since then he has learned the ropes at the academy has gone from strength to strength. During his time at Barca B, he earned comparisons with Manchester United star midfielder Paul Pogba for his presence in the middle of the park, exceptional ball control and passing and also vision to find the right passes.

    There were also comparisons with Manchester City and Ivory Coast legend Yaya Toure especially due to the similarities in the style of play.

    Currently, the youngster is tipped to make it big at Barcelona as he has shown capabilities to flourish at the very top level. However two years ago he was almost set to join Manchester City as talks with Barcelona did not materialize for him.

    Moriba’s father Mamady Kourouma told SPORT: “With Barca, the negotiations [over his first professional contract] did not advance. We met with Txiki Begiristain [Man City sporting director] and he explained his entire project to us.

    “We liked it because they bet a lot on him. A few weeks later we had the tickets to travel to Manchester and sign the contract.

    “I cancelled it the morning that we had to go there. I wanted Ilaix to be an example and a reference for the next generations of Barca.

    “His friends were gone. If he stayed, it was proof that Barca was betting on the youth players. We managed to reach an agreement where we all came out winning.”

    Manchester City were hopeful that they have unearthed a talent like Moriba who could really play the role that was carried out by Toure with the same amount of intensity and technical ability. However, the youngster’s father decided against it and he stayed in Barcelona.

    He has impressed manager Ronald Koeman as the Dutchman looks to believe in his abilities and therefore have handed out some opportunities. He is set to make it big at Barcelona and for the time being it looks like Manchester City’s loss.

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