There were not many Arsenal fans that had heard of Nacho Monreal when he arrived from Malaga three years ago, but he has grown into the role and is now one of the clubs most consistent players after coming to terms with the style of play in the Premier League.
He admits that he does miss Spain, but he has absolutely no intention of leaving Arsenal until he is nolonger playing at this level. “I’m happy because the beginning was tough,” Monreal said. “The swap from La Liga to the Premier League was difficult. They are two completely different leagues, one more tactical and technical and the other one more physical. I came from doing some impressive seasons in Spain and here at first it was hard. I was not even in the line-up. I had to adapt to the English football but in the end the hard work paid off.
“(Now) I am very happy here, playing in one of the best clubs in England. I am very happy with my team mates, with the club… The idea is to continue here. I’m not planning to go anywhere but to stay here and then, when the contract expires (in 2019), we will see how the body reacts and which level I can give at 32-33-years-old. Then, let’s see if I get the opportunity to continue here and if find myself in a good shape I am sure I will continue here. If not I will return to Spain, because after several years away (from home) I miss it.”
I’m not surprised he’s missing the sunshine from the South Coast of Spain, but he is obviously enjoying his football and his life in London, but he rues the fact that, despite his excellent form for Arsenal, he has been mostly overlooked by the Spanish national side when it has come to the major tournaments. “I feel lucky because I have learned the feeling of playing for my national team.” Nacho continued. “I have played a number of games and being in many call-up but I would have liked to play in a major tournament. The most I got was to play in the Confederations Cup in Brazil but it is true that I would have liked to play a European Championship or a World Cup. But we are talking about the best Spanish players and in this sense I just try to be positive and feel myself proud to have been part of it.”
N>acho is 30 years old now, but he still plays like a (very fast) tennager down the wings, and I am sure he will still be on the top of his game for the next couple of seasons at least. His skill and consistency would be sorely missed….