Exclusive Murillo interview: When Umtiti got injured, I told my agent to take me to Barça!

The centre-back sat down with SPORT ahead of his probable debut on Thursday

Murillo explica cómo llegó al FC Barcelona y cómo está siendo su adaptación | Maite Jiménez

A humble person who deposits all his faith in God hides behind the serious face. In one of the offices at the Ciudad Deportiva, Barcelona's Jeison Murillo welcomes SPORT with the face of someone who's enjoying wearing his new colours. 

Albert Rogé

@albert_roge

Five years ago, when you were at Las Palmas, you said you'd play for Barça one day. And here you are. As well as a visionary, you must have another superpower? 

(Laughs) It was all down to hard work and thanks to God. I enjoy what I do and I live every day to the full. 

How do you remember the day that Barça's interest came up?

I found out about Umtiti's injury and as a joke I said to me agent: 'How about you take me to Barça?" But it was nothing more than that, a joke. After 20 days, my agent called me and he told me that there was a possibility of signing for Barça. 

How did you react?

I was in shock. I always dreamed of playing for Barça and I was crossing my fingers at that point. 

Then it was announced officially...

When they told me it was all done, all the hard work and suffering came to my head. Not just now as a professional, but when I was younger. My family put their hope in me. Dreams become reality and now it's time to show that [Barça] have not made a mistake. 

Who did you call first?

My partner. I told her to take it calmly...! Then I met with my parents, my in-laws and a nephew at my house and I told them. The reaction was really nice. I still remember my mum crying with happiness. My dad was shaking with emotion, too. Those reactions only happen when something big happens to you. 

Ernesto Valverde's partly to thank for the move. 

I was lucky enough to speak with him and to thank him for his confidence. It's not easy to come to Barcelona. I committed to working hard and doing things the best that I can. I have to give everything because they've shown faith in my quality. 

How does your style fit in at Barça?

I'm a player that can cover well. I am not excessively quick, but I defend well in races. I like to play with the ball from the back and to link with my teammates. 

What will you do to show your potential in six months?

The day to day is what marks you. Since I arrived at Barcelona, the intention and the mentality is to work hard to earn my place and to have as many opportunities as possible. I'm here to give everything of myself. In six months, we will see what happens, but the important thing is that things go well. 

Would you like to stay?

Obviously. Defending Barça's shirt is a dream and a priveledge. Now I am living that [dream] and I want to take advantage of it. 

Has it been easy to adapt to the dressing room?

The players are open and happy. There are a lot of stars who have won everything but it surprised me in a good way how natural they all are. I've played some of them on various occasions and that they recognise me as a [good] player excites me. Having played against them for the national team and other clubs, it makes the adaption easier. 

Yerry Mina told you about what you will find here...

The truth is that everything is like he told me. I always ask advice to get to know the club as quickly as possible. 

What advice did he give you?

To know how to enter the dressing room, how to look after myself in Barcelona and the issue of finding somewhere to live. He's helping me a lot. He's one of my best friends and we always talk. 

You like to dance. Yerry surprised us with a dance after his first goal. Do you have anything planned?

(Laughs) We like dancing, yes. I don't have anything prepared. I am focused on working hard and proving my vale. After that we will see if the moment arrives. Maybe something will come out, it depends on the circumstances. You never know how you'll react. 

It wouldn't be bad if it was on your debut against Levante in the Copa del Rey on Thursday…

I was already called up for the Getafe game and when they coach wants me, I am ready to debut. You always have to have that mentality to be able to get chances and take advantage of them. 

In the dressing room, which trophy do you think is wanted the most?

Barça's objective is always to win everything because they're the best team in the world. For me, that mentality is great, it helps me a lot. 

Everything's easier with Messi…

Having the best player in the world as a teammate is a huge advantage. It's an honour to share the day to day with him. Now I have the luxury of doing that, I am enjoying it to the full. 

Are you superstitious?

I am religious and I always pray. In addition, before the game, I always call my parents and my partner. 

Are the tattoos part of the superstitions?

Yes, it's all related. I have my mum's name and my dad's name [as tattoos], eight stars which identify my family. I'm the youngest of my siblings. A hand, mine, holding a watch. The time of birth of my daughter, the days and the initials of my partner. On my hand I also have a cross, because I am very religious. 

Family's important for you. 

For me, it's key. If they're OK, I can give my all. We're already installed in Barcelona and my daughter was delighted at my presentation! 

What do you want from 2019?

Achieve the team's objectives and for everything to go in the best possible way on a personal level, that I can take advantage of the time I am here and enjoy defending the Barça shirt on a day to day basis. 

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