Former Barcelona and Real Madrid striker Javier Saviola says he would never have left Barcelona
Former Barcelona striker Javier Saviola has revealed that he may not have left Barcelona had he considered the club’s history. The Argentine believes that he would not have been able to leave the dressing room had he thought about the immense pleasure of playing for Barca.
Speaking to Omnisport, Saviola disclosed that he was able to enjoy his career at the Catalonia because he did not allow himself to get distracted over the illustrious history of the club. The player, apparently, also overlooked the price tag that got him to Barca from River Plate at just the age of 19.
"Because I was so young, I don't think I ever realised about the place I was going," he told Omnisport.
"I never became aware that I was at such a big club and the amount of money that had been paid for me, nor that I was about to start playing at a fully crowded Camp Nou.
"I benefited from the fact that I never internalised all of this. Maybe if I'd thought about the money that was paid or the packed stadium, or that I was part of a club with such a history, then I wouldn't have left the dressing room!"
The 35-year-old Argentine striker joined Barcelona from River Plate in a deal worth £15m in 2001. The player then enjoyed a superb debut campaign at the Nou Camp, scoring 21 times in all competitions. Although the player continued his strong form in front of the goal, first team opportunities at the Catalan club was tough to come by. Saviola was loaned to Monaco and Sevilla before leaving for Real Madrid in 2007.
No pressure after making move to Barca: Saviola
The player’s move to Barcelona was in the same year of Zinedine Zidane’s €77m move to the Los Blancos.
"It wasn't extra pressure because I didn't see myself as being close to Zidane," he said. "I was 19 years old when I had just arrived in Europe. I knew that this kind of comparison came from the press, rather than because of my arrival. That's why I think that I was taking the pressure off myself. I didn't embrace certain things."
Saviola moved to Benfica after making only 28 appearances for Real Madrid across two seasons. The player went on to have spells at Malaga, Olympiacos, and Verona. His nomadic life came to an end in 2015, returning back to River Plate.
Would like to be part of football, says Saviola
"I would like to continue being part of football," he said. "I will start the coaching staff course in January. It's a goal, a future that I have put forward to myself.
"If I have taken wrong decisions during my career, I have no regrets. I have always tried to make sure that my decisions haven't hurt anyone. I only looked for the best for my future.
"I always say that football gave me more than I expected or could have imagined. I have played in so many teams, such prestigious teams with such history, with so many great players. I feel part of them. It was wonderful," said the Argentinian.
Known for his ability to score from anywhere in the attacking position in the field, Saviola amassed 196 La Liga appearances and 70 goals over the course of eight seasons, starting and ending his career at River Plate.