The father of Las Palmas star Mauricio Lemos says the defender dreams of joining Barcelona, despite reports emerging that Real Madrid are in the race to secure his services. Lemos believes the Catalan outfit are "the best team in the world", according to his father, and has Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar among his favourite players, along with Diego Godin.
The 20 year-old defender has been linked with a move to the Nou Camp, with Barcelona launching an offer to lure him away from Las Palmas. Yet the Canary Islanders turned down the "insufficient" bid, having only signed him on a permanent basis from Rubin Kazan two months ago, following an impressive loan period in La Liga.
Barcelona's plans were further complicated by the news that Real Madrid were after the player. Las Palmas vice president Nicolas Ortega then suggested his club were ready to take advantage of the transfer battle, referring to the defender's €30m (£23.6m, $33.7m) release clause as a starting point for negotiations.
"If someone asks for Lemos, [we will ask for] the release clause," Ortega said to Onda Cero, as quoted by Sport. "There are several teams that have expressed their interest, but not consolidated [with an offer]. There are intermediaries, people who make comments and influence the negotiations for their vested interests. I know Barcelona [are in the race] as that is already public; it is said that Real Madrid are also pushing strong and there is another further team interested. All the clubs interested are Spaniards. We will refer them to the release clause and according to the offer made [we will negotiate]. But of course it must be much bigger than the one made by Barcelona."
Lemos himself said earlier this week that he is flattered at the interest from the La Liga duo, but refused to confirm whether he would rather move to Barcelona or to the Spanish capital.
"I have just found about the news that Real Madrid have also asked for me. It makes me very excited because to see my name linked with two big clubs from Europe is something that anyone would like," Lemos said to Canarias 7.
Now his father has clarified the situation, revealing that the Las Palmas defender considers Barcelona the best club in the world.
"[For me and] for Mauricio, Barcelona are the best team in the world. He is very happy at Las Palmas, he settled very quickly in the dressing room, but if [the move to] Barcelona goes through, which is a dream for any player, it would be welcome. It seems incredible to him, but if it happens, he has to forget about everything and work hard," Lemos' father revealed to Mundo Deportivo.
"Messi, Suarez, and Neymar [are his references in football]. We live on the border with Brazil so we watch a lot of Brazilian football. He mirrors Godin but before [his role model was] Diego Lugano. He likes to be a leader. Mauricio is quiet but has a lot of personality on the pitch. That's why he loves Lugano and now Godin."