Interview: Bellerin on Barcelona, Valverde and earning a World Cup spot with Spain

The Arsenal defender says anything can happen in the future amid Barça interest

Bellerin spoke to SPORT from Las Rozas, where he's preparing for the U21 Euros

A Bellerín le halaga el interés del Barça | Ignasi Paredes

Hector Bellerin's arrival at Barcelona could be a soap opera which goes on throughout the summer. For now, Barça are taking the first steps to convince the player. Ernesto Valverde's appointment is something which they have in their favour. His idea of playing football matches Bellerin's.

One problem is the 40 million euros Arsenal are demading, but the player's desire to return home, to return to Barça, could move mountains... 

How do you feel after an inconsistent season which ended with the FA Cup?

I've learned a lot this season, with ups and downs as a team, difficult moments with the pressure we were under... It's been a new experience as a player. I think it will prove an important experience for my career. And we ended up winning the FA Cup, a tournament we usually do well in. It was a good final. It's good to end the season on a high, the fans deserved it.

Did you feel bad when Wenger left you on the bench at times? 

My relationship with Wenger is good. With the change of sytem (Arsenal went to a back three) he wanted another player at wing-back. It's something you can understand, that with another system he picks different players. He was thinking other players were better-sutied, but in the end, due to injuries and other things, I was able to play. My relationship with the manager didn't go through a bad moment because I wasn't playing. You have to respect decisions.

How does Wenger's contract renewal affect your future?

With Wenger I have a great relationship. But if another manager had come in, my team would still be Arsenal. Nothing changes. My contract is still here. That the manager's staying is good for a lot of players, but it doesn't change anything for me.

Do you think there will be talks with Barça beginning soon?

That's something I'm not aware of. I have a deal with Arsenal, but in football you never know what can happen.

Missing out on the Champions League could change your plans?

Everyone who has played in the Champions League wants to get back to playing in it again. We all want to be at the top level. To not play in the Champions League is a disappointment, something negative. It’s not ideal and it could condition [plans] a little, yes.

What did you think of Athletic under Ernesto Valverde?

It's difficult to see games which aren't Barça or Madrid in England, but I've followed him and he's a coach who likes to play good football. He's always done well wherever he's been and he will be a good coach for Barça.

Valverde's given the green light to sign you, what does it mean to you that Barça want you?

It's huge praise to hear that, I've always said that. It's the club I grew up at from a young age, the best club in the world and their interest fills me with joy. It's flattering, of course. But I am an Arsenal player, with a contract there and the rest is kept away from me. 

Does it mean more having had to leave Barça?

That's football. When I left I didn't know what my path would be. It's a decision which sometimes goes well, other times it doesn't. I've developed well in England and that there's news about Barça [being interest] is flattering.

Do you think the €40 million Arsenal want is what you're worth?

It's not up to me to talk about that. I have to play well in each game and do the best I possible can on the pitch.

Would it settle an old score to come back and wear Blaugrana?

I'm a person who likes new challenges. That's why I went to England. I was looking for the best for me. I'm not someone who is afraid of challenges and I don't know if it would be to settle an old score because there's still a lot to do. Now I am with the U21s and I am focused on the European Championships.

Do you prefer to be a wing-back or a full-back in a back four?

Playing as a wing-back has less pressure defensively, you have more freedom in attack. I was a winger and I like to attack. In recent years I have played in a back four, though, and I like that as well. I will always do what the coach asks of me.

What calue do you give being involved with the senior team and then going to the U21 Euros?

To be able to take part with the senior team was a surprise, a privilege. As for the Euros, I'm really looking forward to it. The team is really good and we can do really well. 

And are you thinking about the World Cup next summer?

It's an objective for any player. All footballers want to be internationals and be seen in these tournaments. Now it's the U21s, which is an important step and next season I will do everything possible to be able to be at the World Cup. 

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