Mikel Arteta pays tribute to Hector Bellerin after defender leaves Arsenal and joins Barcelona

·1-min read
 (Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
(Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Mikel Arteta hailed Hector Bellerin for his impact as an Arsenal player as the right-back joined Barcelona on a free transfer.

The deadline day move brought an end to Bellerin’s 11-year spell at the Emirates, though the right-back has been out of the first-team picture at the club in recent campaigns and spent last season on loan at Real Betis.

In the early years of his time at the club Bellerin broke into the first-team under Arsene Wenger, playing alongside Arteta, and established himself as one of the most exciting full-backs in the league.

Arsenal allowed the 27-year-old a free transfer to Barcelona to get his £100k-per-week wages off the books, and they retain a 25% sell-on clause.

In a statement on the club’s website, Arteta paid tribute to Bellerin’s time in north London.

“We today say goodbye to Hector and we thank him so much for his loyalty and commitment to Arsenal Football Club,” Arteta said.

“During his 11 years with Arsenal, Hector won three FA Cups and made nearly 250 appearances – such a huge contribution to the club. I’m privileged to have played in the same squad as Hector for three seasons, wearing the Arsenal shirt and sharing many great moments on and off the football pitch together.

“We thank you Hector and wish you and your family all the best for your return to Barcelona.”