‘I was in fights… I saw guns, knives and bottles’: Wolves star Adama Traore reveals gangs tried to recruit him during a tough Barcelona childhood before he became a Premier League star
Adama Traore is flying high at Wolves but admits it could have been very different had he succumbed to a life of violence in the Barcelona suburbs.
Traore’s father moved from Mali to l’Hospilatet in his mid-20s before starting a family, with Adama brought up in Bloques de la Florida, a poor area on the city’s outskirts.
Although eventually finding his way to a career in professional football, Traore has opened up on life as the child of an immigrant parent in the city.
Adama Traore is flying high at Wolves but his upbringing was tough on outskirts of Barcelona
Traore says he was asked to join gangs but managed to stay on the straight and narrow
When asked whether gangs had tried to recruit him, the Wolves star told AS: ‘Yes, a lot of times. Me, my brother, a Dominican friend, everyone. At that time, being part of a gang was something that made you popular.
‘But we had a different mentality. We wanted to be footballers, not part of some gang. You saw fights almost every day and we didn’t want to fight.
‘Of course, I was in fights [anyway]. There were gangs in the school I went to. They fought each other constantly. I saw guns, fights with bats, knives, bottles… everything.
‘They’ve done a great job in Hospitalet now though and everything is a lot calmer.’
Traore started his career at Barcelona before moving to Aston Villa in England when he was 19
Traore joined Barcelona’s academy in 2004 and played predominantly for the B team before moving to Aston Villa in 2015 at the age of 19.
He has since moved on to Middlesbrough and Wolves, where he finds himself as one of the star men in a side battling towards the top end of the Premier League.
On Thursday night, he returns to the city of his birth when Wolves face Espanyol in the Europa League last 32 second leg.