But after Kevin-Prince Boateng, a player whose profile is strikingly similar to Vela’s, was signed by Barça, the apparent interest for the Mexican was over and the reports have completely died.
It’s safe to say Vela is here to stay.
Vela himself was asked about the reports, and with the benefit of some time to reflect, he was fairly open about the whole saga.
When asked how close he was to actually joining Barcelona, Vela seemed to hint that it was legitimate, but he’s not looking back with regret at not leaving.
“In sports you never really know,” he said. “Sometimes you feel like it’s close and it’s not. I never felt like there was any problems or like in a bad position. All the time was good things for me, for my future and in the end, I’m here, I’m really happy to be in LA with my team and try to get better in preseason to start well this season.”
Probably the biggest question is going to be whether this whole situation means a downturn in intensity from the star, who was a Best XI player in MLS last year. For now, he’s saying the right things.
“When I got here it was after a long time in Europe, so I say, ‘Look, I want to finish my career in LA,’” Vela said. “But when some team comes to ask about your situation it’s always a good thing, because you are doing a good job. So I take it in a good way and after it [didn’t] happen, it’s like ‘No problem.’ I’m really well here. I don’t want to leave LA, I don’t want to leave LAFC, so I’m still really happy.”
Vela said that the objective for the coming MLS season was to be better, individually and as a team, and any built-in excuses, like being a new team, are gone.
And with Atlanta United winning MLS Cup in their second season, that was the objective for LAFC to match this year, according to Vela.
“We will try and of course, we can do it.”
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