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Sergi Samper keen to make Barcelona breakthrough after Granada spell

On-loan Granada midfielder Sergi Samper hopes to return to parent club Barcelona next season.

Samper, 22, faces Barca on Sunday as the strugglers look for an unlikely win to boost their hopes of avoiding relegation.

"What I want is to return to Barca -- that has been my dream since I was a boy," he told Cadena Cope radio.

"It's the second time I will face Barca and it's very special for me. I don't know if I will play but I hope I can have some minutes."

Barcelona are without the injured Arda Turan and La Liga top scorer Lionel Messi, who is serving a one-match.

"Leo will not play, so that is better for us," Samper added.

Samper, who was strongly linked with Arsenal, revealed that he could have left the Camp Nou for good in the summer.

But he ended up signing a new three-year contract, with the deal seeing his release clause set at €50 million.

"I turned down offers because I wanted to remain at Barca and my dream is to play for the first team," he said.

Samper has been at the club since he was six, progressing through the ranks and captaining the B team last season.

He said: "It's impossible not to think about Barca when I saw that Sergio Busquets could not play certain games [through injury].

"Had I had the chance, I would have stayed. The club said they trusted me, but the coach [Luis Enrique] preferred other players this season.

"They wanted me to gain experience and to return next season."

His hopes of being a part of Barca's first team next season could be helped if assistant coach Juan Carlos Unzue succeeds Luis Enrique.

Unzue, who coached Samper in Barca's youth teams, is one of the candidates to take over when the current coach steps down at the end of the season.

"I know Unzue very well," Samper said. "But the important thing will be to have a good preseason with them."

Adriana Garcia is a Valencia-based football writer who covers La Liga for ESPN FC.

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