Dani Ceballos says he rejected Real Madrid’s pleas for him to take his time before securing his second loan spell at Arsenal.
Ceballos, 24, established himself as a firm favourite of Mikel Arteta late in the 2019/20 season and played a crucial role in Arsenal’s victory in the FA Cup Final. The Spaniard also won the affection of his manager, team-mates and supporters for his unbridled passion on and off the pitch and his work to adapt his game to the Gunners’ defensive needs.
Arsenal secured his services on loan for a second season last month, agreeing to fund the entirety of his Real Madrid wages without paying a loan fee. However the Spanish champions initailly favoured either keeping Ceballos in their squad or a permanent sale with several La Liga clubs said to be interested in his services.
However Ceballos only had eyes for the Emirates Stadium.
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“I spoke with Madrid to say that Arteta wanted me to come back,” he said at a press conference with the Spanish national team.
“They asked me to wait, but I was clear that I wanted to return to my club, where I had found myself very well.
“You sit down to appreciate that the Euros and Olympic Games are coming and you know that you have to play an important role in my team.
“With Mikel, I found happiness as a player and as a person. And that is key for a player.”
Ceballos’ growth in prominence was somewhat surprising considering his slow start to life under Arteta. Having struggled in his recovery from a hamstring injury the midfielder found himself the subject of a public dressing down by his manager and briefly considered returning to Spain.
However when Ceballos eventually recovered his match sharpness he began to excel in a rather different role, playing deep alongside Granit Xhaka.
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