Barcelona midfielder Alex Song has paid tribute to former manager Arsene Wenger, claiming the Frenchman was “like a father” to him during his seven-year spell with Arsenal.
The Cameroon international moved to north London as a 17-year-old, and initially found it hard to adapt to life in the capital after leaving his family in France. Song claims that Wenger made the transition to a new country and culture easy, allowing him to focus on his progression as a footballer.
“I am who I am thanks to him [Wenger],” he told Barca Magazine. “When I came to England, he was a big help to me. I was very young, just 17, not 25 like I am now. Wenger was like a father to me.
“It was very hard for me at first because I had left my family behind in France, and so he treated me like a son. I have a great relationship with Wenger. I want to thank him for believing in me. I want to give him back everything he gave me I’m sure he's happy to see where I am now and the kind of player I have become. He always said ‘do you remember your first touches of the ball when you came to Arsenal? They’re not the same as they are now’. And I’d answer: ‘You’re right. They’re certainly not the same as they are now’”.
Song claims that he is settling into life in Spain well, but also offers his thanks to teammate Cesc Fabregas for helping him adjust.
“I have known him [Fabregas] for a long time and I slept at his house for the first few nights I was here," he said. "He’s a good friend. He tries to help me in training, in every game, on and off the field.”
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