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Dublin: 1°C Friday 7 May 2021

'I was paying for Messi's shopping!': Colombia star Mina admits to foolish free-kick bets with Barca stars

Stick to the towering headers, Yerry.

COLOMBIA DEFENDER YERRY Mina says he effectively paid for Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez to go shopping after making bets with the strikers over free-kicks in training.

The centre back’s future remains a hot topic this summer, with a move away from Camp Nou looking a certainty as Everton, Manchester United and Lyon continue to be linked with an interest.

It has been a tough road for the Colombian since his arrival in Spain in terms of minutes played, but it hasn’t been all doom and gloom as the 23-year-old explained to Bocas magazine.

“When I arrived, to create a good atmosphere I started to bet with Messi and Suarez to see who took the best free-kicks in training,” he said.

I did it just to watch them.  Before I knew it they were taking €50 a day off me. And I was like, ‘What, I’m paying for these guys to go shopping!’ But the truth is those monsters put the ball wherever they want it.

“They are fantastic people and they are wizards.”

Jokes aside, Mina’s time in Catalunya has not been easy, with playing time difficult to come by and the Liga champions eager to move Mina on this term to make space for non-EU players.

Even when he did play, though, Mina admits that nothing felt like it was going his way.

“I thought a lot of things, a lot of bad things,” he went on. “I thought I was finished.

“I felt so bad and [Philippe] Coutinho and Paulinho tried to encourage me all the time and told me that everything would be fine.

“For me, I understand that there are spectacular players [at centre-back] but I just wanted to have a minute to impress and it didn’t happen.

Colombia v England - FIFA World Cup 2018 - Round of 16 - Spartak Stadium Source: Tim Goode

“The few minutes I did get, they were bad … it felt at times like everything was going wrong and coming down.

“I felt like I couldn’t do anything right, such as even giving a pass in training.”

With a fresh start elsewhere all but assured, Mina claims he has no idea where he will be plying his trade come the beginning of the season.

“In terms of my future, I have no idea but I’m calm about it. I’m 23 years old and have a lot of football left to play.”

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