Chelsea new boy says leaving Barcelona was one of the best decisions of his life

Chelsea new boy says leaving Barcelona was one of the best decisions of his life

Chelsea new boy Marc Cucurella has looked back upon his decision to leave Barcelona, dubbing it as the best move of his career.

Cucurella joined Barca’s U16 academy from Espanyol in 2012. Progressing through the ranks, he ultimately made his first-team debut in July 2017, against Real Murcia in a Copa del Rey round-of-32 fixture.

It turned out to be his only first-team appearance for Barca, with him spending the next three seasons out on loan to Eibar and Getafe, respectively.

The Spaniard left Barcelona permanently in 2020, joining Getafe for an €11 million fee. Looking back, the Chelsea left-back has called it the best decision of his career. Speaking to Football.London, he said:

“Of course, it’s difficult because in my case, I had always stayed in Barcelona, my family is always here. It’s difficult to change to another city, another club, and the style is different.”

Cucurella added:

“I understood I needed to go one step down to play a lot of minutes and play well. I think it was a long time – maybe four or five years – I stayed at maybe not the biggest clubs. But in my mind, I always focused on playing, and maybe one day I would have the opportunity [to sign with a big club].”

He continued:

“I think maybe one of the best decisions in my life was leaving Barcelona to join maybe smaller teams. They give me opportunities. Maybe if I didn’t leave, I would have stayed on the bench for a long time and I never come here [to Chelsea].”

Having spent a season at Getafe, Cucurella signed for Premier League outfit Brighton & Hove Albion in the summer of 2021 for an €18 million fee. Joining Chelsea from the Seagulls in a €65.3 million (including add-ons) deal earlier in August, Cucurella has become the most expensive left-back of all time.

Former Barcelona star Cucurella recalls nervy Premier League start

Cucurella enjoyed a stellar 2021-22 campaign at Brighton, emerging as one of the standout left-backs in the Premier League. He featured in 35 Premier League games last term, recording a goal and an assist.

Looking back, Cucurella has attributed his success to Brighton coach Graham Potter, who kept faith in him despite his sub-par debut performance. The 24-year-old defender revealed:

“I remember my first game [Premier League]: Brentford away. When I finished the game, I was very frustrated. The team won but I didn’t play well and I thought I had maybe lost an opportunity. The next week I thought I’d start on the bench because we played against Leicester, a big club, but the gaffer gave me again the opportunity and I think this is the key for me.”

He added:

“I remember this game: we won 2-1 and I played really really good. This is maybe the moment that changed me or my life because maybe if the coach put me on the bench, maybe I lose my confidence and I never play to this level.”

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