Nico Gonzalez has had a rapid rise over the past two seasons. With Barcelona down to the bare bones at various points last season, Ronald Koeman gave him a chance in the first team and Nico has been flourishing since.
That being said, he did admit to Marca that he is still adjusting to the change of pace. Nico has already made 34 appearances this season, although has seen his role slightly reduced since Pedri’s return to fitness. His impressive showings for the Blaugrana have been enough to earn him recognition at the Spain under 21 level, but also on the street.
“To be honest, I don’t think I have assimilated everything. Gradually I am getting used to this being famous thing, people recognising you, being on television…”
“But if I’m being honest, I don’t like the fact that I’m famous, I would prefer to have a lower profile, but this is part of it and I am very happy. On top of that, when people come to you for a photo or to ask something, it feels good and you’re conscious of the fact your work is worthwhile.”
“You feel accomplished because they value you. But I’m adapting bit by bit and I will get used to it.”
Nico has been used to the limelight on a certain level since childhood, as his father was an exceptional footballer too. Fran, who won sixteen caps with Spain and a league title with Deportivo La Coruna, was a local hero in Galicia. He was also asked what it was like growing up with a footballer as a father.
“It’s true that my father was demanding with me, but in terms of effort and sacrifice. He has experienced everything that is happening to me and knows it’s a beautiful thing to get to the first team at Barca or the U21 Spain side, for that reason, it’s worth all the effort you make over many years.”
Nico was also keen to highlight the difficulties of growing up differently to the rest of your age group.
“People are not aware that you have to make a lot of sacrifices to get here that not every teenager makes.”
With Gavi, Pedri and Frenkie de Jong currently ahead of him in the pecking order, Nico has stiff competition to lock down a place in the starting team under Xavi.