Depay opens up on Man Utd nightmare that left Pogba & Ibrahimovic puzzled
Memphis Depay is back in the big time at Barcelona, having left Lyon as a free agent this summer to head for Camp Nou, and the Dutch forward is looking to prove himself at the highest level following a forgettable stint at Manchester United between 2015 and 2017.
The Netherlands international was taken to Old Trafford by fellow countryman Louis van Gaal in a £25 million ($34m) deal, but struggled to unlock his full potential in England and eventually headed to France after being frozen out by Jose Mourinho.
His snubbing by a Portuguese coach left many team-mates confused, including Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, with a confident character left with little choice but to move on after seeing promising progress stall.
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What has been said?
Lifting the lid on his nightmare spell at United, Depay has told El Periodico: "I’ve thought a lot about why it went wrong. The first season I had to adapt and it didn't go well compared to my time at PSV.
"I lost a bit of confidence and I lost the confidence of Van Gaal and his staff.
"It was hard for me. The following season I felt like I had more experience, but they changed the coach.
"Jose Mourinho came and I fought to get into the team but I think the idea of giving me a chance was never in his head. He never gave me an opportunity. Never.
"I went to his office but it changed nothing. It was a very difficult period, I felt that I was training well and the players themselves did not understand it.
"Pogba and Zlatan told me: 'Why don't you ever play?' For me that was the confirmation that I had no chance. And I realised that I didn't want to be in a big club without playing.
He added: "I realised [at United] that I had to start over and show everyone that I could be one of the best.
"I had a long contract, of five years, and a good salary, but I did not feel comfortable. So I left and it was the best decision I could have made."
Is Depay back to his best?
After moving to Lyon in January 2017, Depay quickly rediscovered his spark and would hit 76 goals through 178 appearances for Ligue 1 giants.
Those exploits attracted plenty of admiring glances from afar, with Barca making their interest known from the moment that Ronald Koeman returned to Catalunya.
The Blaugrana had to play a waiting game, but they eventually got their man this summer and have wasted little time in handing Depay a prominent role in their plans.
Much is expected of him following the shock departure of Lionel Messi, but the early indications are that a man whose technical ability has never been in question can make a telling contribution as a talismanic presence under the brightest of spotlights.
Barca and Depay will be back in action on Saturday when taking in a trip to Athletic Club.