The Premier League side play the Blaugrana in the Last 16 of the Champions League next week, and the former Blaugrana man has conceded that it will be tough facing his ex-employees.
“It's difficult because I don't really want to play Barcelona,” he told uefa.com.
“It's a club I have a lot of respect for, a club which taught me a lot and where I have many friends who helped me. I will play against these guys at the Camp Nou.
“It's the stadium where I always wanted to play and now I'll be coming back wearing a different shirt.
“I didn't want to play in front of the fans who gave me so much love and respected me, but that's football.
“At Barcelona it was my job to hold and organise. It was all about being focused and never losing concentration. Now I can drop into defence or join the attack.
“I was limited to playing in the middle at Barcelona. I like playing in England because it's an open league and very fast-paced.
“The first two campaigns were difficult, but now everything is going well. We have a manager [Manuel Pellegrini] who has a very good vision of how we should play.
“He understands football and teaches us a lot.”
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