Mikel Arteta opens up on lifechanging Rangers spell and admits leaving for Real Sociedad was mistake

Mikel Arteta has opened up on signing for Rangers being one of the best decisions he's made - and admits leaving for Real Sociedad was a mistake.

The Spaniard became a fan favourite during his time at Ibrox after signing from Barcelona winning a league and cup double in his first season. He had been recruited a youngster where he had struggled to break into the first team but shone on a loan spell at Paris Saint-Germain.

Arteta wanted to sign permanently for the French giants but the two clubs were unable to come to an agreement and that opened the door for Gers to swoop. The midfielder had played at Ibrox in a European tie and had been blown away by the atmosphere, meaning he didn't have to think twice when he got the offer.

Despite being a culture shock in a footballing sense when he came to Glasgow, he learned he had to adapt quickly and insists that made him a better player.

The Arsenal boss told BBC 5 Live: "We were there (in Paris) and I had a year-and-a-half. It went really well. I wanted to stay there but when Barcelona didn't find an agreement, I had to make an early call.

"We had played in the Uefa Cup against Rangers and we had to go to Glasgow. I witnessed it for the first time - I went there and said 'wow, I've never seen an atmosphere like this. Look how passionate these people are.

"They came in for me straight away after that game. I said maybe it's an opportunity, my only condition is that we have to reunite my family. I said I think we've been split up for a while, it's time we get together. Let's go to Glasgow, a different experience. My sister got a job at the BBC and we all moved there.

"It was really challenging, completely different football. You have to survive or die, in that context. An amazing club, a fascinating environment, a great city and I lived games that will live with me for the rest of my life. Different worlds open up. I went there and it was a completely different world.

"Alex McLeish, a Scottish manager, completely different methods, ideas. He talked about the game in a different way. I said ‘okay I'm going to have to adapt to this’ and go to stadiums in Scotland where the style is very different, with the surface very different, the weather is very different. The value for something positive is different. It was really really healthy for me as well. That made a better player."

Lasting only two years, Arteta went on to move back home to Real Sociedad. He admits he chose that club for the wrong reasons - his parents were going through a divorce which he felt guilty about and wanted to move back. His time at his hometown club didn't exactly work out.

He added: "It was a really difficult decision for me. I'm in Glasgow and when I'm about to finish the second season, I was clear I needed to leave. I needed a new challenge. I wanted to come to the Premier League or go somewhere else. It was great, but it was enough. That phase was done.

"I got the news my parents are getting divorced. I felt so guilty, I didn't know if that was because of me and trying to pursue my dream, going to Barcelona, going to Paris, going to Glasgow. I feel very responsible for that.

"A month later, Real Sociedad knocked on the door and said we want you. I never felt it in a sporting side that it was the right call. I never felt that it was the right call (to move back to Spain) but I had a duty and I wanted to reconnect my parents and my family again.

"And I think this was the best opportunity to do that. I go there and it has to happen. We were so close. I wasn't mature enough to understand the dynamics of a relationship. It was a disaster. It never worked in that sense. I never felt connected in any moment."