Gervinho has spoken of how grateful he is to have made it so far in football, claiming it has "changed my life”.

The skilful forward grew up in the Ivory Coast, spending his early career at the famed ASEC Abidjan youth academy before moving to clubs in Belgium, France and now Arsenal.

Close Up: Gervinho
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 The 25-year-old is also a fixture in the Ivorian national team and he admits he is thankful every day for his career.

“I didn't grow up in a good environment, I didn't get everything I wished for - but I was fortunate enough to have certain things, parents who fought for me,” Gervinho told Arsenal Player.

“When I decided football was going to be my priority I had to invest everything to show that I had the right talent. It wasn’t easy, there were some tough moments growing up. You have to take responsibility and fight for certain things because your family can’t take on everything.

“Football changed my life, my family's life and many people's lives. Thanks to football I have had success in my life and I can't complain.

“Through football I have seen a lot of beautiful things and I still have a lot of good things to experience. To have reached this level means a lot to me because I know I would never had these experiences in Africa.”

Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source Rob Kelly 18 Apr 2013