Picture the scene. You’ve just broken into the first-team at your club, and everyone is raving about your performances.
You’re feeling pretty good and then, to add to it, your agent tells you that Barcelona have been in touch and might make a move in future.
For Maxime Lopez, this was not a dream but a reality. That reality, though, ended up becoming a bit of a nightmare. Rather than helping his career, Barça’s interest only hindered it.
Lopez broke through at Marseille in 2017, making 30 appearances in Ligue 1 that year, scoring three goals and registering seven assists in the process.
That had Marseille fans raving, with many predicting a bright future for the then 19-year-old.
They weren’t the only ones taking notice either, with Barcelona showing their interest and getting in touch with his Lopez’s agent to let him know that if he kept it up, a move to the Nou Camp would be forthcoming.
Unfortunately, he couldn’t live up to that, instead managing just two goals in his next two seasons. And now, looking back, he’s admitted that interest from Barça affected him.
“Barcelona’s director of football was speaking with my agent, who said there was a real interest and that, not this season, but the season after, if I played well…,” he told Canal Plus.
“And then, yeah, immediately, in my head, I was telling myself ‘That’s it, I’m over there’, and that’s when I lost six months of the season.
“Even I didn’t recognise myself. I was young; it was my first season. Everyone knows I like Barcelona.
“I imagined too many things and football hits you on the back of the head so quickly, but maybe it’s because of living through moments like those that I’m strong mentally now.”