The matchday programme spoke to Arsenal captain Mikel Arteta in the lead up to his final game for the club.
Read an excerpt from Mikel's honest, insightful and at times emotional notes below:
Planning these notes was quite emotional for me because this will be the last time I address you as an Arsenal player. My next step is to decide what I want to do next. I have a few options open and I have a very clear of what I want to do, but I won’t be revealing that now. What I will say is that I’m excited about the future. I’ve been preparing myself for that. What’s clear is that I love the game and I cannot live without football and my family - the most important thing in my life. I’ve enjoyed every minute.
"t’s been a huge honour, a privilege, and I can only promise that I’ve done my best"
For me it was a dream to come here because I always admired this club. My Arsenal debut was something special. I was so happy and privileged to be a part of this club. When you have the chance to get up on those steps at Wembley and lift a trophy, it’s unbelievable. Arsenal was my favourite club in England when I was a kid.
To become the Arsenal captain and to share the nice moments that we’ve been through has been a spectacular experience for me. I’ve tried to take on board all the help and commitment that has been shown by all the players and the staff in every department, who I have tried to bring together. I hope whoever follows me as captain carries on trying to maintain the values of this club because that is what sustains us in the long term.
In the last few years, I’ve tried to encourage the younger players in the squad to make a step forward, to participate, organise things and become more vocal. They are the future of the club - it’s in their hands and they have to be able to manage that. Hopefully they are prepared for it. Sometimes at the highest level of sport, age can dictate whether you can carry on or not. But some aspects need to be passed from generation to generation. Hopefully they can follow the standards that have been set.
I’ve always had a very good relationship with Arsène Wenger. We’ve been through difficult moments and really nice moments but what I will take from him more than anything is the way he’s managed the club - the way he handles the pressure and prioritises the principles, ambitions and restrictions of the club in front of his own commitment, ego and what people are expecting. He has the whole picture. Even with massive pressure, he’s not guided by it. He’s guided by his feelings and what he thinks for the club. He’s so loyal and it’s very hard to see people like that in football.
Finally, I would just like to thank you all so much for the way in which you’ve supported me during my time here. It’s been a huge honour, a privilege, and I can only promise that I’ve done my best. I tried to behave in the most professional way and maximise the resources we have. I’m at peace with that. Our ambition this season was to win the Premier League and we’re so disappointed that we came short with that aim, because it’s not good enough for this club.
But I’ll always be proud that I was able to help give the fans some trophies, which they had been waiting for a long time for. Winning two FA Cups in a row was special but for me, it’s not enough for a club like this. It shouldn’t be the ambition. Hopefully the new generation will be better than us and will become fantastic leaders and heroes here.
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