When Hector Bellerin first came to Arsenal, he was a 16 year old who had left his hometown club of Barcelona to live in England.
Even for mature players, that transition in terms of lifestyle, weather, language etc can be tough, but the young man found a friend in the shape of Mikel Arteta who took him under his wing and helped him settle in.
“Mikel and his wife adopted me when I arrived,” said Bellerin in 2016. “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.”
In 2022, Hector has just gone back to Barcelona on a free transfer, after a difficult last couple of seasons at the club.
However, he goes with the best wishes of Arteta, now obviously manager, who also sees a chance to rekindle the friendship which has to take something of a back seat because of the player/manager relationship.
Asked about the 27 year old’s departure, Arteta said, “He called me really late last night and it was more of a conversation that we used to have when we were teammates and really good friends.
“If you take away the coaching and player situation a little bit, I get back into that relationship as well.
“I love the kid, I love what he’s done for the club, he’s someone that I have really strong feelings about and I wish him all the best because I know that it’s one of his dreams to play there.
“Hopefully he can fulfil his dream and get his career back to where he can because he’s still very young and has a lot he can do.”
A really tough one to swallow that they get him for free, especially after the unabashed spree they have been on this summer.
Ah well, makes up for Alex Song I suppose.
Good luck Hector. Always a pro. Always a gooner. Unfortunately the premier league doesn’t have room for players who are 90% of their potential. And that’s not being harsh. That’s just what a bad injury can do.
Makes up for Thomas Vermaelen as well. You win some you lose some. Let’s look forward to this season for winning some trophies. COYG!
When I say he is our own Delle Alli, it is a testament to the quality he had in the past.
Hector is one of the most eloquent and likeable players in Arsenal’s history. He deserves better than to be compared with that nasty spud cunt.
And they will be selling him to Betis for a fee after a year a la Aubameyang.
Exactly, in January are we that stupid
It’s a 1 year deal, and there is a sell-on clause (active if they sell after 6 months or if he extends his deal there and they sell subsequently)
Hector is a legend. Not in the type of Henry and Bergkamp, but like Mertesacker. I am sure he will come back to Arsenal at some moment of time, and I am looking forward this moment.
I’m looking forward to the time when Hector retires, and hopefully returns to the club in a public facing role. Fantastic person and great player for us during a period of relative dullness.
It was a shame his career was so blighted by injury because at 27 he should be a player in his prime.
I hope it pans out well for him, but I suspect that the Barcelona he will find will be nothing like the Barcelona he remembers eleven years ago.
Barcelona have really declined it has to be said..
Just read his goodbye statement. The most classy and honest statement given. Wish him all the best and hope to see him come back to Arsenal with Santi as a coach.
I think Hector will be the first player Barcelona tell they have no money and ask if he can just play for free.
I think Blogs’ comments about this are perfect. Best of luck to one of my favourite players of the past decade and I hope he comes back when he is done playing.
We are short due to a number of injuries. Is it too crazy to think that players like Bellerin and AMN can still do a job for us instead of being shipped out for free?
I like to hear these conversations and it makes me think a lot of Arteta at a human level, something he doesn’t get enough credit for because of his discipline. He clearly has a strong bond with the players because he knows the value of our club and the weight of responsibility to represent us. Hector haas always been classy and it’s sad to say goodbye but maybe a couple of years too late. Hope he gets a chance to return to the club in some capacity in the future.
Was never the same after the big injury he had! Will remember him fondly though