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The Argentina international has revealed that he caught the attention of the Blaugrana during a tournament in Spain but ultimately decided to reject the Catalan club's advances

EXCLUSIVE
By Fabrizio Ponciroli

Roma starlet Erik Lamela has confirmed that Barcelona were interested in signing him when he was just 12 years old.

The Argentina international has been one of the Giallorossi's standout players this season following his arrival at the Stadio Olimpico from River Plate last summer for a fee of €18 million.

However, Lamela has revealed that he could just as easily be plying his trade in La Liga at present had he accepted an offer to move to Barca when he was younger.

"It's true," he admitted during an interview with Goal.com. "I was in Spain to play a tournament. I played all the games, and one in particular, went pretty well.

The young Argentine, who scored five goals in that one match he was referring to, added: "There were scouts from Barcelona present who noticed my performance, so they were asking for information about me. But I stayed at River."

Lamela does not regret his decision and is now enjoying himself at Roma, admitting that he revels playing alongside Francesco Totti and Daniele De Rossi not only because of their talent, but also their incredible passion for the club.

"Francesco and Daniele are Roma fans," he pointed out. "They suffer when things are not going well because they care enormously about the shirt. They are two true leaders on the field."

The 19-year-old also revealed that Totti played a key role in his swift acclimatisation off the field.

"Francesco made me feel at ease," he explained. "He was very kind."

Lamela has made 19 Serie A appearances for Roma so far this season, scoring one goal, on his debut against Palermo.

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