Hector Bellerin signed to Arsenal from Barcelona at the age of 16 and hasn’t looked back since.
Although the right-back appeared as if he would remain in the youth squad or be sent out on loan like many before him last season, injuries to Mathieu Debuchy and Calum Chambers meant the 20-year-old was summoned to the first team.
The Cockney-Spaniard has since before a regular starter and it’s clear Arsene Wenger trusts him deeply.
Speaking ahead of our Champions League clash with his former team, Bellerin admitted that his time spent in Spain actually helped him prepare for life in north London.
“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 said to 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.”
Saying this, as much as Bellerin enjoyed his time at Barcelona, he seems genuinely happy at Arsenal.
“I’m wearing another shirt now and I’m very proud of it,” he said.
“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.”
I completely believe him when he says he’s proud. He’s made friends easily and even adopted an endearing London accent since moving here. I’d be surprised to see him leave us any time soon. I have no doubt where his loyalty lies.