I was too heartbroken to join in with Arsenal tradition after something I've never seen before

Albert Stuivenberg, assistant manager of Arsenal embraces Mohamed Elneny of Arsenal
-Credit: (Image: Photo by Catherine Ivill - AMA/Getty Images)

Mohamed Elneny has opened on his emotional departure from Arsenal, revealing he was too 'heartbroken' to join in the traditional post-season lap of honour at the Emirates.

After a stint spanning seven-and-a-half years with the Gunners, during which he clocked up over 150 appearances and clinched an FA Cup and two Community Shields, the Egyptian midfielder is set to leave North London. His exit comes after he wasn't offered a new contract by the club.

Despite having the opportunity to say goodbye on the last day of the season when Arsenal secured a 2-1 victory over Everton, Elneny opted out of the lap of honour, later explaining the depth of his emotions made it too difficult to participate.

In a heartfelt conversation with Arsenal's official website, Elneny expressed his profound connection to the club: "It's meant a lot to me being here for so long, it was the best eight years of my life. I love this club so much, I love the fans, I love everything about Arsenal.

"It breaks my heart that's why I refused to take to the field [on the lap of honour] because I was so full of emotion. But that's life, my time here has come to an end and I'm very proud of what I've done for this club.

"I love these fans and I gave everything that I had. I appreciate everything they did for me, in the good moments and the bad, and they're always going to be in my heart forever."

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Mohamed Elneny has expressed his deep appreciation for Mikel Arteta, both as a former teammate and as his coach at Arsenal. The Egyptian midfielder, who recently bid farewell to the Emirates, reflected on his time playing alongside Arteta and under his management.

"I played with Mikel for six months before he retired and became a coach," Elneny shared. "I enjoyed playing with him and him coaching me because I learned so much from him. I appreciate everything he has done for me and this football club.

"When he was playing he was clever, and then he's had so many good coaches he got to work with. You could see his leadership and that he could be something special."

The bond within the squad also received special mention from Elneny. "I've never seen a group of players like this. Everyone supports each other and loves each other, and works as a family. I'm going to miss them, they've been my friends for so long.

"We're going to be friends forever. I'm going to be supporting them now in front of the TV and sometimes I'm going to come to the stadium to watch them. I'm sure they'll have an amazing year next year as well because they deserve it."

While Elneny's next destination remains undisclosed, he leaves behind a legacy of camaraderie and respect at Arsenal, having been linked with various clubs after a successful loan stint at Besiktas.