Cesc Fabregas has explained how it was harder for him to return to Barcelona than it was to leave for Arsenal eight years before.
The midfielder left the Catalan club as a 16-year-old to join The Gunners, before then returning to the Camp Nou in 2011 in a €29m deal.
For the 26-year-old, that second move back to his home city was actually more daunting than his original decision to leave for London.
“Actually, it was more difficult coming back to Barcelona at 24 than it was going to London at 16,” Fabregas considered in an interview with The Guardian published today.
“Much more. People said I took the easy option: ‘Ah, he's going to play with Messi, he's going to win’. But I think I took the difficult option – I have to work twice as hard to win a place.
“I've always been very independent, never afraid of challenges and I had nothing to lose when I first went to London – I was playing in Barcelona's youth system, in the Juvenil B, and although Barça valued me, Gerard [Pique] and Leo [Messi] had been promoted to Juvenil A while I stayed in the Juvenil B.
“Arsenal offered me the chance to train with the first team, to learn English, experience another culture, another football.
“And I went so determined to enjoy it and learn from it that it was exciting rather than frightening. Arsenal are a fascinating club.
“They give you everything. It's a family, it really is. The fans support you unconditionally, too. I couldn't have gone to a better place.”
Fabregas was asked of his former side’s signing of Mesut Ozil in the summer from Real Madrid.
“Spectacular. If you have the chance to sign Ozil, you can't let it pass you by. He fits Arsenal perfectly.
“It doesn't matter if you already have seven or eight players with a similar style, because they'll understand each other perfectly.
“I think he's going to enjoy it enormously. He's the man who has to make the difference in the final third. His last pass is brilliant, he'll get more space and with space he kills you. He's going to score more goals himself because of that space.
“There's no one better than him for that mediapunta role. In England opponents follow you, but if a player comes out to you it is easier to play a quick one-two and go beyond him into space.
“In a tactical-defensive sense, it is much more calculated in Spain – it's harder to score goals than in England.”