Gerard Deulofeu has said that he is not planning to return to boyhood club Barcelona again, and that he is content at Watford.

The 24-year-old spoke of the difficulties he faced during his Blaugrana career, being labelled the ‘new Messi’ as a youngster.

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Speaking to The Offside Rule Podcast, Deulofeu said: “I said I will not go back to Barcelona again, no. It’s too hard. I have been back twice, so I don’t want to go back again. I had been there since I was nine years old and sometimes you don’t feel hope, that’s why I don’t want to go back.”

Born in Girona, a province of Catalonia, Deulofeu joined Barcelona’s famous La Masia academy as a youngster, playing for the youth sides right up to the first team.

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Speaking of his time there, he said: “It was difficult, because when I was young it was terrible; every day in the media you are the ‘new Messi’ and that’s not good for a young player.

“I didn’t take the chance of Barcelona because playing there is so difficult and sometimes I didn’t have the confidence.”

Despite being just 24, Deulofeu has had a whirlwind career. During his first spell at Barcelona, he was loaned out to Everton and Sevilla. After signing permanently for Everton in 2015, he spent a season and a half at Goodison Park before being loaned to Milan in 2017.

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Barcelona then bought him back to the Camp Nou later that year, before being loaned to Watford this January and bought permanently in the summer.

“Now I’m thinking I can play my best football in the Premier League and Watford put a lot of confidence in me. I’m at Watford now and I’m young and I want to show my best football.”

Deulofeu made his season debut in Watford’s 4-0 defeat to Bournemouth last month, after being sidelined for five weeks. He registered his first goal of the season last Saturday, scoring in the Hornets’ 3-0 win over Huddersfield.

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Watford sit seventh in the Premier League, after a fantastic start to the season under Javi Gracia. The Hornets are at St. James’ Park next, as they take on Newcastle on Saturday afternoon.