Hector Bellerin has ribbed former club Barcelona over their training methods as he claimed theirs and Arsenal’s sessions were like ‘night and day’.
The Gunners full-back was speaking at an event at Oxford University on Tuesday (via the Metro) when he was quizzed on how much difference there was between the training methods implemented by the two clubs.
Bellerin came through Barcelona’s famous La Masia youth academy before he opted to join Arsenal as a 16-year-old and establish himself as one of the finest full-backs in the modern game.
Speculation has linked him with a return to his old stomping ground in the past but, judging by Bellerin’s latest comments, he harbours no ambitions of heading back to Camp Nou anytime soon.
He said: “It was like night and day, the difference between Barcelona and Arsenal. At Barcelona I was just 8-16, when I came to Arsenal I was a professional footballer. At Barcelona we were just kicking around on the pitch, at Arsenal, my first day, there were no balls.”
Bellerin became the first active Premier League footballer to speak at the Oxford Union, which is renowned for its high profile speakers.
The 22-year-old joined Arsenal’s academy set up in June 2011 and, after working his way up the youth ranks and spending time out on loan at Watford, returned to north London and made the right full-back position his own.
Bellerin’s comments will be something of a surprise considering how lauded Barca’s youth set up is, with the club able to churn out a number of world class players such as Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta and Xavi in the past 15 years.
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Whether the Spain international was playing it up for his audience remains to be seen, but we imagine if he ever returned to north east Spain he would change his tune quickly.