Exclusive interview: Barcelona target Yerry Mina speaks to SPORT

Yerry Mina kindly opened his doors to Diario SPORT, at his house in the neighbourhood of Perdizes, in the west of Sao Paulo, close to Palmeiras' stadium Allianz Parque, his current team. The 22-year-old Colombian centre-back is in Barcelona's orbit. In May 2016 he signed a five year deal with the Verdao, but Barcelona were assured of the inclusion of an option for them to buy, 9 million euros, which the club can execute in June.

Joaquim Piera

The huge Colombian, a leader on the pitch and famous for his celebratory dances, analyses his future with extreme prudence. He is conscious that his chance of coming to Camp Nou depends on keeping improving, and he is doing so, with the fans loving him there. 

Last May he had the chance to move to Barcelona, but he prefered to sign on with Palmeiras with the option for Barcelona to move for him included.

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You received offers from England and Germany in this window, but you prefer to wait for Barcelona?

I have objectives for 2017. To be well, mentally 100 per cent and to do things well so that Palmeiras can be champions. And afterwards, I will tackle moving to Europe. Everything in time.

You have no rush to leave?

I want to do things wel. I am happy at Palmeiras, a club with which I identify a lot. When I go to Europe I want to be 100 per cent so I can have the best adaptation period possilble. 

You are being watched by the sporting director. What do you do to stop it affecting you?

Each day I do the same. I always try to keep my feet on the ground and dreams in the sky. I am not an anxious person. 

What do you think caught Barcelona's attention?

The style of play is the same as mine. I always want to play out from the back. And Barcelona start with Ter Stegen. When the ball gers to Messi, Suarez and Neymar it's always touched. I like to see a team that isn't tired of touching it 30 or 40 times. 

You like playing with the ball as a defender?

Yes, definitely. I don't like teams that don't want the ball. I always like touching it, playing as a playmaker on the first line. If I can reach the opposition box, I will do it.

There are trains that only pass by once in life...

I always think of greatness. My mama told me "Look at the greats and you will one day be great."

Barcelona have never had a Colombian... you know that?

Yes (laughs). If with the help of God this opportunity comes I will try and take it and I will go there to break that. For now I'm at Palmeiras, where I feel happy and I will keep making my name in the history of the club. 

You played against Uruguay, scoring a header and marking Suarez...

It was a difficult duel. Everyone knows the quality this Senor has. We fought, scrapped and said ugly things but this is part of football. It was me or him.

Did he say anything like "well, we will see each other again"?

More than that there were other things. We were fighting and scrapping for our national teams.

How can a player of 1.95m be so fast?

I work in double sessions to improve and I have the desire to do things well. This helps me be so fast.

Who are your reference points?

I admire players for how they play and their attitude. Pique, Yaya Toure, Sergio Ramos and Thiago Silva, I learn from each of them.

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