Lucas Digne reveals he asked to leave Barcelona for Everton

Lucas Digne's past team-mates read like a Who's Who of world football; Eden Hazard, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Mo Salah, Kylian Mbappe, Luis Suarez and many more.
So who was the toughest player for Everton's new £18million defender to mark in training?
'Messi for sure,' he replies without hesitation. 'We trained every day for two years at Barcelona and he sees everything on the pitch before anyone else. It's pure talent - you know what he wants to do but can't stop it.
'You close down his left foot, he goes to the right. You close the right side, he goes with his left. It's crazy. When I saw Messi for the first time at Barca, I was like "Ooh, it's him". I knew I was in a good locker room!'
Gerard Pique also gets an honourable mention. 'He is a very good guy. Like a big brother to any new player which is important.'
A few minutes in Digne's company and you see the pedigree that manager Marco Silva has brought to Goodison Park.
Digne has Lille, PSG and Roma on his CV and went to the 2014 World Cup and Euro 2016 with France. Missing out on Didier Deschamps' squad this summer may have helped convince the left back he should swap the Nou Camp for Merseyside.
'Barcelona is the biggest club in the world, everybody knows that,' says Digne. 'But I had a very good feeling when I spoke with (Everton's director of football) Marcel Brands and the coach who said he wanted to play with possession.
'So I said to Barcelona "Please, let me leave for Everton. It is the best thing for me, for my career." Deschamps said I hadn't played enough games for Barcelona last season to go to the World Cup.

Hugo Lloris (France) - Javier Mascherano (Barcelona), Gerard Pique (Barcelona), Raphael Varane (France) - Mo Salah (Roma), N'Golo Kante (France), Paul Pogba (France), Eden Hazard (Lille) - Kylian Mbappe (France), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (PSG), Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
Subs: Jordan Pickford (Everton), David Luiz (PSG), Blaise Matuidi (France), Luis Suarez (Barcelona), Edin Dzeko (Roma), Edinson Cavani (PSG), Neymar (Barcelona)
'In the beginning, Barca didn't want to sell me but eventually they decided OK. I think it's a very good project at Everton. I already knew some players here like (Morgan) Schneiderlin who was at the World Cup in Brazil with me.'
At Barcelona, Digne's chances of being a regular were blocked by Spanish international Jordi Alba though he still made 46 appearances in two seasons, 35 of them starts.
He was undefeated in 27 league games following a loss to Alaves on September 10, 2016 and has since stretched his personal run to 29 by appearing for Everton in draws against Wolves and Huddersfield, when he set up a goal for Daniel Calvert-Lewin.
'My expectations aren't any different when I go onto the pitch. For me, we need to win every game. If you play against Manchester City, you can beat them. We have a good group with good quality.
'Our objective is to be better than last year and if it's possible to win a trophy, why not? The welcome I have received is amazing. They clapped me for three or four minutes in my first game against Valencia. I thought "Wow, this is only pre-season."
Digne, 25, also pulled off a PR masterstroke when he revealed on signing that he'd twice turned down Liverpool in favour of joining PSG and then Barcelona.
'I had a lot of Twitter messages from Everton fans after telling the truth about that,' he laughed.
Everton have made a steady rather than spectacular start but Silva will be satisfied they are unbeaten in the Premier League and made progress in the Carabao Cup. Significantly, Digne, known for his attacking runs and delivery, started the last game ahead of club legend Leighton Baines.
They will be fancied to beat bottom-of-the-table West Ham at Goodison on Sunday though Digne acknowledges: 'It's not like Spain where there is a big difference between top and bottom. Every club has money to buy players. We have a new project at Everton and West Ham do as well.'
Digne is affable enough to be happy about his countrymen winning the World Cup even though he missed out having played against Colombia in May.
'They are my friends. I know everyone there and won the Under 20s World Cup with some of them. I watched every game on television and saw the final on holiday in the south of France with my wife at a friend's house.
Affable, and sensitive too. Digne rushed from his city centre apartment in Barcelona last year to help victims of a terrorist attack on La Rambla when a van ploughed into pedestrians and killed 14 people. But it's a subject he doesn't comment on out of respect for the casualties and their families.
On the subject of films, he's more expansive. A self-confessed movie buff, Digne finds it is a perfect way to switch off from matches.
'One of my favourites is The Green Mile with Tom Hanks. I'm a big Tom Hanks fan, I think I've watched every movie he's made,' he says. 'I also loved Flight with Denzel Washington.'
What about Mama Mia? 'If my wife wants to see it, I'll have to go but I hope not! I'd prefer to see the new movie with Dwayne Johnson.' Ironically, Johnson's stage name is The Rock - something Digne needs to be for Everton to claim their first clean sheet of the season.
Everton's Lucas Digne visited Holy Spirit Catholic Primary School in Bootle, Liverpool, to meet children taking part in the Premier League Primary Stars scheme. Everton in the Community deliver the scheme in schools across Liverpool and Knowsley, using the power of football to inspire children to learn. Primary school teachers can apply now for free kit and equipment, visit for more information.

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