Nolito has revealed he turned down the chance to re-join Spanish champions Barcelona because of his desire to play for Pep Guardiola at Manchester City.
The Spain winger signed for City last month after the club activated the £13.8 million release clause in his contract with Celta Vigo. Nolito played just five senior games for Barcelona under Guardiola between 2008 and 2011 before being sold to Benfica.
But the 29-year-old insisted the prospect of working for the Catalan again was too good to pass up and said he was keener to do that than play with Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Neymar and company.
Asked if it had been a straight choice between City and Barcelona, Nolito said: “Yes. It’s something I spoke about with my family and my management. I thought it was the best decision for me and my career. I have come to the Premier League to play with City and under Pep Guardiola, who will play me in the first team and I am very happy with the decision I took.
“The truth is I enjoyed working with him in Barcelona even though it wasn’t much time. It’s a reason for me to come here but not the only one. It was also about City, they have a great team, it’s a great project, they got to the semi-finals of the Champions League last season and I will try to help this club achieve great things.
“I have had luck to play with Messi a bit but what I want in life is to enjoy my football, play football and be happy. I was fortunate to play in Barcelona, although not much in the first team, and now I am excited about playing at City.”
Nolito has had a nomadic career, spending some time on loan at Granada from Benfica before joining Celta but he says he is a late developer and confident of shining in the Premier League.
“I am 29 I am in the best form and shape of my career and I had a good year last season,” he said. “I am relaxed about. I have followed my path in life, but things have started to come together now.”