Hector Bellerin says that his Barcelona education helped him adapt to Arsenal when he moved to England.
The Spanish defender joined the Gunners in 2011 after progressing through the famed La Masia academy and has since established himself in Arsene Wenger’s first team, scoring twice in 67 appearances.
Bellerin is set to feature against Barcelona for the first time on Tuesday night, and the 20-year-old revealed how much his former club helped him develop when he was younger.
"Arsenal and Barcelona are both very big clubs and they have a lot of humility, like to play the ball and are very close to the fans"
“I remember being seven years old and a coach from the Barcelona academy asked me if I wanted to go and train with the year above at Barcelona because there was not an age group at my age,” the defender told Arsenal Player. "I spent six months training with them and the likes of Sergi Samper, who made his debut for the first team last year.
“Then the year after, when the academy started, they told me and Sergi that we had to stay with Barcelona, that they wanted us to stay. That’s where my story started, at seven or eight years old, travelling to training every day until I was 16 and I made the step to come to Arsenal.
“They are both very big clubs and they have a lot of humility, like to play the ball and are very close to the fans. It’s nice that you’re coming from a club that has a football philosophy about keeping the ball, being in advanced positions around the pitch, playing one-touch around the box.
“It’s nice that you come to Arsenal from that club and you’re doing the same stuff that you’ve learned already. You share all the knowledge that your team-mates have and that’s very important. It definitely made it easier for me to adapt.
“I’m wearing another shirt now and I’m very proud of it. I’m proud to wear the Arsenal badge. When the news came that we had them in the draw, everyone was really, really happy. I’ve got all of my family and friends over there so it will be a great night.”
Copyright 2023 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.