Seven years ago, Brentford winger Sergi Canos’ view on becoming a successful footballer was very different. Never having thought beyond Spain, his horizons naturally narrow for a 13-year-old freshly arrived at Barcelona academy La Masia.

But one-day Canos realized that he was wrong. After hearing the news that Jon Toral and Hector Bellerin decided to leave Barcelona’s academy in 2011 to develop their careers at Arsenal, Canos’ attitude towards his own career path changed too.

“I think they were the two biggest players in La Masia,” Sergi recalls, now 21 years of age and five years into his own English adventure.

“So when they left, everyone was like ‘Oh, wow…’ We were at Barcelona, a huge team, but that was something very different to what we knew, they left to go to another country.

“Because we were kids, our world was Barcelona, so if you don’t make it in Barcelona then there’s nothing else, but when they left it was like: ‘Wow, there are other ways to be a top player.”

‘‘In Barcelona they have steps, that’s why people leave. They don’t want to take you two steps up because they want: A, B, C, D. They don’t want to put one player from A to C, they don’t want to miss B. That’s why I think people leave, that’s why I left.’’

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