New Sevilla signing Munir El Haddadi claims Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde was "forbidden" from playing him by the club's hierarchy after the forward said he did not want to renew his contract.
Munir came through the ranks at Barca and had been highly rated as a teenager, but unsurprisingly he found it difficult to hold down a place in the side among the club's star-studded attackers.
An underwhelming loan spell with Valencia was followed by a more productive one at Deportivo Alaves last season, scoring 10 times in 33 LaLiga games, and he was rewarded with a spot back in Barca's squad this term.
However, after making only one start in the first half of the campaign, Munir told the club at the start of January he intended to leave when his contract expired at the end of the campaign.
But Sevilla managed to strike a deal with Barca on Friday and Munir is grateful, as he claims Valverde had been barred from playing him after he announced his plan to leave.
"When I returned from holiday [at the start of January] I told the club that I did not want to renew," he told reporters on Monday at his Sevilla presentation.
"The coach [Valverde] told me that he was forbidden from counting on me by those above him. I kept working and I was lucky to come before [June] to Sevilla."
🎙 @Munirhaddadi: ‘When I heard #SevillaFC were interested in me I had no doubts about coming. I’m positive I’ll enjoy my football at this club with these fans.’ #vamosmisevilla pic.twitter.com/cPyA6A94Pm— Sevilla FC (@SevillaFC_ENG) January 14, 2019
Munir made his debut as a second-half substitute in Sunday's 2-0 LaLiga defeat to Athletic Bilbao.
He could make his first start for Sevilla against the same opposition on Wednesday, when the Basque club travel to the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan looking to overturn a 3-1 first-leg deficit in the Copa del Rey's last 16.