Mikel Arteta has openly expressed his love for his time at Rangers and the city of Glasgow.

EAST RUTHERFORD, UNITED STATES:  Victor Zapata (R) of Argentina's River Plate keeps control of the ball as he falls next to Mikel Arteta of Scotland's Glasgow Rangers (L) in the first half 13 July, 2002 at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ.  (Photo credit MATT CAMPBELL/AFP via Getty Images)
EAST RUTHERFORD, UNITED STATES: Victor Zapata (R) of Argentina’s River Plate keeps control of the ball as he falls next to Mikel Arteta of Scotland’s Glasgow Rangers (L) in the first half 13 July, 2002 at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ. (Photo credit MATT CAMPBELL/AFP via Getty Images)

Mikel Arteta joined Rangers in 2002 and spent two years at the Scottish club, where he played a significant role in their success.

The Barcelona academy graduate later went on to have a successful career with Everton and Arsenal before becoming Manchester City’s assistant manager under Pep Guardiola.

In a recent interview with the Rangers Museum, Arteta shared his experience of moving to Glasgow and how everyone at the club helped him settle in.

He brought his family with him to provide a sense of security and to aid in adapting to a new culture and language. Arteta credits the warm welcome from his teammates and the passionate fans for making him feel at home.

The Spaniard, who is now close to leading Arsenal to their first Premier League title in 19 years, cherishes his memories from his early playing days at Ibrox and continues to keep a keen eye on all things Rangers.

The Arsenal boss also had high praise for Glasgow, often recommending the city as a transfer destination for players. He believes that the passion, loyalty, and openness of the Scottish people, especially in Glasgow, are truly exceptional.

“I loved Glasgow, I always recommend it to people to move there if they have the chance,” Arteta said. “They will be surprised. It’s hard to find people as passionate as loyal and as open as the people in Scotland and Glasgow in particular.

“I always felt very welcome and I had the support behind me. I had a great time there. We went to New York that pre-season and it helped me as you spend a lot of time together and I got to know the players.

“I was very lucky as I had players that treated me almost like a father and son. I’m talking about players Ronald de Boer, Lorenzo Amoruso and Claudio Caniggia – I had a lot of help and they welcomed me into the group. From Day 1 I felt like I made the right choice.”

Arteta fondly remembers his first Old Firm derby, where he was taken aback by the intensity, passion, and atmosphere in the stadium.

“I was shocked in my first Old Firm derby but I managed to score,” Arteta said. “The intensity, the passion and the atmosphere in the stadium was superb. I always say I have never played in derbies like this.

“The 3-3 game was a great atmosphere, lots of aggression, commitment and passion from the players. There are a lot of things that make the game special.

“We lost in Europe early on that season and that was disappointing but we concentrated on the other games and won the Treble. We had a big rival in Celtic and they had a good team who had played together for many years.

“But we won the first trophy by beating them in the League Cup and that sent a message that we wanted to win absolutely everything. That win gave us confidence and a boost for the rest of the season.

“It was special game at Hampden and a great experience for me. I was young and I knew that experience would serve me well. It was the first trophy of the year and we won it. The fans were happy and it was a special game for them as well.

“Some people were saying, ‘Why are you going to Scotland?’ but I am so proud I played there and so proud of what I learned there. I had great moments and met some really nice people. I learned from big players and lived in a culture that for me was unbelievable.”

The 2002-2003 season was a triumphant one for Rangers under Alex McLeish, as they secured the Treble by winning the Scottish Premier League, the Scottish Cup, and the Scottish League Cup.

One of his most memorable moments was scoring the winning penalty that secured Rangers their 50th league title that year.

Arteta acknowledges the strong rivalry with Celtic, praising their quality team and the intense competition between the two sides.

Mikel Arteta’s time at Rangers and his love for Glasgow have left a lasting impression on him, and it’s evident that he holds the club and its supporters in high regard.

As he continues his managerial career at Arsenal, the memories of his days at Rangers and the city of Glasgow remain an integral part of his football journey.