With a smile on his face, Marc Cucurella greeted SPORT on a Zoom call from the Spain U21 camp last week. He spoke about interest from elsewhere this summer, facing Barcelona this weekend and Lionel Messi nearly leaving...
You could have left Getafe in the summer?
There was interest from several teams but no one offering what I have at Getafe. My family and I are really happy. We have a great team and we've kept the block from last season. Last year was a great season until the lockdown. Things didn't end as we wanted. I have faith in the coach and that's important for me because I can develop my game.
On Saturday, you face Ronald Koeman's Barça. Do they seem different?
I think they still have the same spine as recent years. They've made some changes in some aspects. They're still a great team. They will fight for every trophy.
Do the youngsters deserve more chances?
When they show faith in La Masia, the [players] always respond, as Ansu and Riqui have shown. If you give them games, they will deliver. The toughest thing is that a young player has an amazing first day and plays a great game, but if you show confidence in them, if they feel at home and have the level, they can succeed.
Were you disappointed to leave?
Yes and no. I don't think they gave me a chance. I played five minutes in a Copa game and it's difficult to show if you're up to it or not. On the other hand, that decision has made me the player I am now. For an academy player it's tough but I have the chance to succeed in the world of football. It wasn't to be in Barça and I had to look for it elsewhere, but thanks to Eibar and Getafe I have become a La Liga player and can play for Spain U21s.
The door will always be open to go back?
Barça will always be Barça. It's my home. We would all like to return home one day. I work for myself, to have a good career. If one day the chance comes up to return to Barça, the truth is I would be delighted.
But the 'haters' say you're not a full-back anymore…
I've played left-back my whole life. From U10s until Barça B. When I left, I played higher up the pitch because they felt I could add more pressing. I also spent a lot of time at Barça high up the pitch. My game has not changed much even though in the system I am positioned a little higher.
Messi almost left as well…
At first, I didn't believe it. I thought it was just anger with the management for what was happening. I suffered. That shows that they're not doing things well at the club. A player like him, who is club history, wanting to go to another team that competes with Barça for trophies exemplifies that people aren't happy.