Hector Bellerin has paid tribute to Mikel Arteta and his wife for helping him settle in England when he first arrived from the Spain.
The 20 year old has enjoyed a meteoric rise in the last two seasons, and will now be part of Spain’s Euro 2016 squad after a hugely consistent Premier League campaign for the Gunners.
Speaking to El Pais, he spoke about how the Arsenal captain helped him in his early days at the club (worth noting that Arteta predicted Bellerin’s rise some time ago), which has played a major part in his development as a player.
“Mikel and his wife adopted me when I arrived,” he said. “I was just a kid and he was like a father to me.
“He was fundamental to my integration at Arsenal. I’m very close to him, Cazorla and Monreal.”
He also spoke about former Gunner Bacary Sagna as somebody who taught him the position he plays in today.
“When I was at Barcelona, I always paid attention to Dani Alves. And Sagna was like a professor, because we were very close at Arsenal and he was very experienced player. I always took note of him.”
Asked if he felt more a product of Arsenal or Barcelona, he replied diplomatically.
“I’m a mix! I had eight years at Barcelona, and I’ve been six at Arsenal. I’ve learned so much with the Gunners, but the base I acquired at Barcelona was invaluable. How to train, the philosophy … the defensive side is very English.”
It’s quite a mix, a good one too, and it’s notable how the press interest in Bellerin has really ramped up over the last few weeks. Shows what playing well and consistently does, I guess.