“It’s like me, if I’m training here, wherever, as an assistant... and Barcelona calls me, I’ll go to Barcelona. It’s my club.”
Guardiola pointed out that Arsenal was always the club closest to Arteta’s heart, having played there for five years. Arteta was a product of Barcelona’s youth system but never broke into the first team.
He continued: “We scored a lot of goals and he was always jumping and celebrating, except against one team. I was jumping, celebrating, turning and he was sitting. It was Arsenal. Then I realized: ‘This guy likes Arsenal.’
“Everybody has dreams and I know he went to his club, to the club he dreamed of. He was a fan of Arsenal by playing there, he was captain and he loved that club.
“I didn’t want to stand in his way. Life is too short. You have to fly.”