Barça Academy Miami dialled in for an Instagram Live chat with Barça B's Konrad de la Fuente on Wednesday afternoon, with the 18-year-old taking questions relating to his move to FC Barcelona as well as his career in general.
Though Konrad was sat at home, he recognised the Barça Academy Miami venue having trained there back in 2007 as a five-year-old. Even then, there was one player in particular who ignited his love for football generally, as well as for FC Barcelona. "Ronaldinho. He's by far my favourite player of all time and he inspired me to play soccer," he said.
Asked if he'd had people telling him he wouldn't make it as a professional growing up, Konrad explained: "Yeah, obviously, but I believed in myself and wanted to show what I could do. I kept working hard and didn't listen to other people’s negativity. The most important thing is to take advantage of every opportunity. You never know who is watching you train or play. There’s a lot of scouts around, and if you play well, you never know what could happen."
Clearly there was only ever going to be one club that the young American wanted to play for too. "I’m really happy. It was basically my dream to play for Barcelona," he added. "It was amazing to train with the first team. Incredible."
In answering another question on the skills and mentality required to get to the top, Konrad suggested that it's not all plain sailing but there's a reward to be had if a player is prepared to work hard for it. "Stay focused and stay confident, that’s the most important thing to keep going. You need to take advantage of all of the teaching you are given and work hard."
He was also asked how he ended up at Barça, what he brings to the team and how he relaxes when there's no training or matches. "My dad worked in Spain, so we moved. As a soccer player, I’m really fast, I like to dribble and score goals and I'm able to play in different positions, on different sides of the pitch. My life doesn’t revolve around soccer, as you can’t concentrate on it all the time. I like to relax with friends, to watch videos of old games and to watch the first team players that play in my position to see how I can get better."
Finally, in reference to question regarding the differences between football in the U.S. and in Spain, Konrad said: "The main difference is the way they (Spanish teams) play, the intensity. (US soccer) may be able to close the gap in a couple of years."