Former Everton loanee Gerard Deulofeu admits he was surprised that Barcelona sent him out on a second successive season-long spell, after completing his switch to La Liga rivals Sevilla.
Deulofeu spent the 2013-14 campaign at Goodison Park under fellow Spaniard Robert Martinez, scoring three goals in 25 Premier League games to help the club to a fifth-place finish and European qualification.
Earning a call-up to Spain’s pre-World Cup camp on the back of his performances, before making his international debut against Bolivia, the versatile forward had been hoping to break into the Barca first-team upon returning to the Catalan giants, but has stressed that he is still pleased with his switch to the Europa League-winners.
‘I'm very happy to be here. Luis Enrique told me that I wouldn't be playing, and from the first moment I had my mind set on coming to Sevilla,’ he said at his official presentation.
‘It's a very good club, I have high expectations and hopefully we can have a great year together.
‘I was surprised by the decision that the manager took, but I'm going to enjoy this year very much. I want to focus on Sevilla.’
A product of Barca’s famed La Masia, Deulofeu made his La Liga bow for the club in October 2011, before going on to net 18 times in 33 appearances for the B side during the 2012-13 season.
Signing a new contract at the Camp Nou until 2017 last summer, the promising attacker showed clear glimpses of his potential during his time with the Toffees but, at 20, admits he is still far from the finished product.
‘I could be stronger with my defending, so I'm going to work on that,’ he added. ‘I hope that it's a better year than last, which wasn't bad but I failed to take that little step forward and I hope to be able to do it here.
‘I want to have a good year because it's key for my career.’