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'Thrilled' Nolito not distracted by transfer speculation

30   //    15 Jun 2016, 00:12 IST
Football Soccer - Spain v Czech Republic - EURO 2016 - Group D - Stadium de Toulouse, Toulouse, France - 13/6/16 Spain's Nolito REUTERS/Vincent Kessler Livepic
Football Soccer - Spain v Czech Republic - EURO 2016 - Group D - Stadium de Toulouse, Toulouse, France - 13/6/16Spain's Nolito REUTERS/Vincent KesslerLivepic

TOULOUSE, France (Reuters) - Nolito is adamant that he will not allow growing speculation about his club future to become a distraction as he "lives a dream" with Spain at Euro 2016.

The gifted Celta Vigo winger has been linked with a move back to former club Barcelona and also with a possible transfer to Manchester City in recent days in both the Spanish and English media.

Yet while the speculation continues that he could be reunited with former Barca coach Pep Guardiola at City, the 29-year-old told a news conference on Tuesday: "I'm just focussing on the European Championship.

"I'm like a boy living a dream and I'm enjoying every second of this unique experience. I'm thrilled."

Unlike some of his team mates, Nolito was not a member of the Spanish sides that won the European Championship in 2008 and 2012 and the World Cup in 2010.

The man who scored 12 goals and set up seven others in 29 La Liga games last season was never capped for Spain at youth level and only made his senior debut in November 2014.

Nolito featured in just two Euro 2016 qualifiers for the national team but his performances in La Liga convinced Vicente del Bosque that he deserved a chance to make the squad.

He helped his cause by scoring four goals in three friendlies and did so well in the build-up that he earned a starting place in Toulouse on Monday as the champions beat the Czech Republic 1-0.

"In 30 years, I'll be able to say that I played with Andres Iniesta," Nolito smiled.

"It was an unforgettable day. To have started with a win is crucial. But we have to continue. On Friday we have an important game."

As Spain seek to win a third successive European crown, their focus is now on Turkey, their opponents in Nice on Friday. "We are united and we know what we have to do," Nolito said.

(Writing by Adriana Garcia; Editing by Ian Chadband)

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