Andrei Arshavin has revealed his relief at not joining Barcelona and explained that he never wanted to play in Italy while openly hopes that Manchester United will lose in the Champions League final.
The outspoken Arsenal forward did not hold back as he explained why he did move to Camp Nou and why he could never play in Serie A due to the league’s defensive nature.
After moving to England in January, Arshavin has shown glimpses of just how good he can be yet he feels that he would not have been good enough to forge a place in Pep Guardiola’s team.
“I did have an offer from Barcelona but Zenit were not happy. I try not to think about what could have happened and at least at Arsenal I am playing. At Barcelona I think I would be sitting on the bench, like Aliaksandr Hleb,” he told the Daily Mail.
“Which player could I replace? Thierry Henry? No, he is too good and I think Messi will be the World Player of the Year. If I could vote it would be for Messi. Even if you just count the goals and the beautiful passes and look at it statistically, Messi would win over Ronaldo.
“It has been close but Messi has been better. So where would I play at Barcelona?
“Last season, once I knew I was leaving St Petersburg, the choice was always England or Spain, never Italy. I think the English league right now is the best league there has ever been, whereas in Italy it is very defensive, very closed football. I do not like it.
“I enjoy the honesty of English football, because nobody gives up, and almost all the best players are here. Italian football is at the bottom because of all those scandals. Their league is not very interesting.
“I love Barcelona for the same reasons I love Arsenal. It is as if they do not even think of the result, they just want to play and score and if they lose, OK, then they will go out and do it again and win next time.
“At Arsenal, all we think about is how to attack, how to score, how to dribble, how to make a pass. We do not think so much about defence. Probably, for results, this is no good: but I like it.
“That is why I hope Barcelona beat Manchester United in the Champions League final. United look very solid but they play like machines, whereas Barcelona are dreamers, they are more creative. Sometimes United kill everything and I like Barcelona’s football more.”