Wednesday, April 24News That Matters

Mikel Arteta picks his dream five-a-side team & there is a surprise name

Mikel Arteta, the current Arsenal manager, has stirred controversy by including a former Arsenal antagonist in his dream five-a-side team, consisting of his ex-teammates.

Although Arteta’s playing career is often overshadowed, the 41-year-old enjoyed successful stints at prominent European clubs such as Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain, and Rangers.

Retiring from professional football eight years ago, Arteta notably led Arsenal to two FA Cup triumphs as captain before joining Manchester City as Pep Guardiola’s assistant.

When asked to assemble a five-player team from his past teammates, Arteta promptly named Ronaldinho but hesitated before including Robin van Persie.

The duo shared the pitch for just a single season at the Emirates before the Dutch forward controversially departed for Manchester United.

‘Ronaldinho has to be there,’ said Arteta. ‘I never saw anything like it, he was 19 or 20-years-old at that time and I never seen anybody do the the kind of things he could do with the ball at that pace.

‘Thierry Henry has to be there that’s for sure. Iniesta has to be there. Arsenal I would put Robin van Persie there because he was in his best prime when we were teammates. I’m going to put Pepe Reina (in goal).’

Arteta undoubtedly aspires for Bukayo Saka, Arsenal’s current standout player, to one day be mentioned among the luminaries of the game who were all world-class talents in their prime.

Over the past two weeks, a debate has unfolded regarding whether Saka deserves to be labeled as world-class.

Rio Ferdinand has argued that the England international has the potential to maintain his current level of excellence over an extended period.

Asked for his definition of world-class, Arteta said: ‘At the end is a very consistent player that can win football matches almost on his own.

‘But then probably that defines better a world class attacking player than a world class goalkeeper. But then he can win you a game with two or three actions in the game.

‘And that happens in the Premier League level, then the European level then national team level but it has to be someone first of all who is extremely consistent and someone that can define a game that’s for sure.’

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