Story By: Juan Mayes, Sub Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Golder’s News And Sport
Wolves star Adama Traore has revealed he was asked to join street gangs when he was growing up in Barcelona and was involved in fights but just “wanted to be a football player”.
Wolverhampton Wanderers superstar Traore, 24, made the comments in an exclusive interview with Spanish newspaper ‘Sport’ where he spoke about his childhood in Spain and his physical transformation since moving to the UK.
He said: “I was born in Barcelona next to Camp Nou. I spent most of my life in a part of Hospitalet called Los Bloques (de la Florida) which is like a small town with a lot of people from outside, immigrants and different cultures.”
The municipality of L’Hospitalet de Llobregat, usually called L’Hospitalet for short, is located in the autonomous community of Catalonia in northeastern Spain. It is immediately to the southwest of Barcelona.
Traore went on to say: “My brother and I started playing football in the streets with friends in Los Bloques.
“It was an indoor football pitch in the middle of ‘Los Bloques’ which is not there anymore. My brother and I were known because I played for Barcelona and he played for Espanyol, the entire neighbourhood wanted to play against us.
“We had little tournaments where our team played against everyone. As we went on winning people would say ‘hey, there are two black guys that very good’ and squads would come to try to beat us.”
When asked if he was ever asked to join a gang as the area is known for being troubled the winger said: “Yes, yes, yes. Many times. Me, my brother, a Dominican friend, everyone.
“At that time, belonging to a gang was a popular thing. But we had different mentalities, we wanted to be football players, we did not want to be in any gang or in any fights. You saw fights every day.”
When asked if he personally ever witnessed a fight, he said: “I have been in them! Yes, of course. There were gangs in my school and they fought among each other constantly.
“They have done an incredible job in Hospitalet, it has calmed down a lot.”
He went on to reveal he even saw guns and “I have also seen fights with bats, knives, bottles, everything.”
Traore explained the difficulties of growing up in that environment by saying: “Gangs were separated into zones. Depending on where you went people asked you ‘what gang are you from, where are you coming from, why are you here’.
“If you did not know them or hadn’t had confrontations with them, they could get you in trouble. So maybe you would take that rage and join a rival gang.
“That happened a lot, that is why it is complicated, you have to be sure of what you want, be focused.
“No matter where you come from, even if the neighbourhood is rough, there are always noble people that have things clear.”
When speaking about how his hometown friends reacted to his incredible physical transformation after his move to English football, Traore said: “After my first year, I went back.
“They asked me ‘what happened to you, look how big you got! Where did that physical change come from’ I would tell them ‘Well, English football, it is what it is’”.
The ViralTab page is created by and dedicated to professional, independent freelance journalists. It is a place for us to showcase our work. When our news is sold to our media partners, we will include the link here.