Merida: The decision to leave Barcelona and join Arsenal was not easy, but I would repeat it

Live Broadcast, December 5th: Spanish foreign aid Fran Merida, who plays for the Tianjin Jinmen Tigers in the Chinese Super League this season, accepted an exclusive interview with the Spanish media Relevo. During the period, he talked about his football experience in Barcelona, Arsenal, and Atletico Madrid, and said It was not easy to make the decision to leave Barcelona and join Arsenal, but I would repeat this crucial choice. He also called Wenger the guide in his career and the coach who had the greatest influence on him.

The 33-year-old Merida was born in Barcelona’s youth training camp, and later joined Arsenal’s youth training camp, and then moved to Real Sociedad, Atletico Madrid, Braga, Huesca, Osasuna, Espanyol and other teams. In August 2022 , Merida joined the Chinese Super League Tianjin Jinmen Tigers on a free transfer.

On training at Barcelona when he was eight years old

Merida: “It was a brutal experience. Imagine being an eight-year-old boy playing football with his friends and suddenly you have the option to play for Barcelona. At that age, it’s a gift. I was there Stayed there for eight years and learned the football philosophy of how to play, how to play but most importantly how to win, which I have always carried with me to this day. It was the most attractive football game and I enjoyed it very much during those years It. It’s been a great eight years and an incredible experience.”

Talking about going to London to join Arsenal when he was 16

Merida: “When my father told me, my first reaction was to tell him that I didn’t want to leave because I was afraid of such a big change at that age. I was leaving school, leaving the team I’d been with for eight years, leaving me friends, family, my daily life… in short, it was all out of my comfort zone, that’s why my first reaction was to say no, but then after analyzing it with everyone, you will realize this The opportunity was impossible to refuse.”

Is this a key choice in your career?

Merida: “Yes. This choice allowed me to see the outside world of football. Before that I played in the Barcelona youth team, but I did not consider becoming a professional player. It was not until Guardiola coached the first team that Barcelona Such a big bet was made on the youth team. At Arsenal, I knew that if I earned my chance, they would give me a chance to play in the first team. Leaving Barcelona was not easy. It was the most important decision, no matter what. I would make this choice again if I have any doubts.”

Is Wenger the coach who has had the biggest influence on you?

Merida: “What I can tell you is that without him I probably don’t know if it would have been possible for me to become a professional footballer because he and Francis Caguigao came to see me play at Barcelona and they were concerned about marking me Two people. They opened the door to my world of football and my career, and the gratitude and affection will last a lifetime. I owe a lot to them for being a professional football player over the years.”

Talking about the short experience of cooperation with Simeone

Merida: “We really have very little contact because I’ve only been working with him for a few months, but he seems like a genuine and direct person. I like the way he coaches and the way he prepares for training. I like it a lot They, and the intensity with which they train for games is very intense. I tried to learn everything I could, but really, when I was with him, he was genuine with me. We have nothing to blame ourselves for, quite the contrary, I was able to enjoy the experience, even if it was just for a short time.”

Is Simeone’s coaching style tough?

Merida: “Yes. What I can feel is that he will not look at football any other way than with high intensity. As he said, hard work is non-negotiable. He will become the best player in Atletico Madrid’s history. Good coach.”

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