Hector Bellerin says the success of Cesc Fabregas at Arsenal helped convince him that he could follow a similar career path when he swapped Barcelona for North London as a 16 year old.
Despite the fact that the former skipper has entered a rather distasteful blue phase in his career, he was an outstanding player for the Gunners, and when the chance came for the young right back to move to a new country and a new league, he used that as inspiration.
“There are so many people who have moved and they haven’t been successful,” he told Sky Sports. “At the same time I thought, if Cesc did it, why can’t I do it?
“It was a big change and a hard decision to make. I was at Barcelona for half of my life so it was obviously a big step.
“Coming to a new country, a new league and a new club was a challenge I really wanted to take. A lot of people called me crazy asking why I left the best club in the world.
“I was really happy when Arsenal told me they wanted to sign me. It’s been a big opportunity to grow up as a person.”
And having established himself a genuine member of the first team squad this season, he admits it wasn’t what he was expecting.
“I’ve been playing two seasons professionally, but this one has been really good,” he said.
“It was unexpected with regards to the game time I’ve been getting. I’m really happy and grateful for the minutes and I’ve just been trying to push myself.”