New Barcelona signing Yerry Mina got goosebumps when he encountered “the best in the world” Lionel Messi for the first time since joining the club.
The Catalan giants announced an €11.8 million deal to bring Mina from Palmeiras on Thursday, the Colombia international putting pen to paper on a five-and-a-half-year contract.
The 23-year-old is pleased to join a club possessing top-tier talent, detailing the impact his first meeting with Messi and Luis Suarez had on him.
“For me, he [Messi] is the best in the world. The first impression I got of him was one of humility. I got goosebumps when Messi approached me with Suarez in the dressing room,” said Mina.
The centre-back raised eyebrows by stepping onto the Camp Nou pitch with bare feet during his presentation to supporters.
“There is a saying in my country that says, ‘Touch the land you want to conquer with the sole of your feet.’ And here I want to make history with everyone. I always do it and I hope to succeed,” he said.
“I have come to work. To contribute to the team and learn from my team-mates. This is a great club and since arriving you can feel the atmosphere here.”
Mina will compete with Gerard Pique, Thomas Vermaelen, Samuel Umtiti and Javier Mascherano for a spot in the centre of Ernesto Valverde’s defence.
It could represent a risk just five months before Colombia’s participation in the World Cup, but the former Palmeiras man has no concerns about potentially missing out.
Mina said: “I was given the opportunity to come now and I did not think twice. I’m going to work to bring something to the best players in the world.
“I’m calm. I came to work, to contribute, to be with the best. With the work that we will all do, I will fight to be at the World Cup.
“I have to go step by step. I have to do things well and fit well in the group.”