Hector Bellerin admits he fulfilled his father’s wish by joining Real Betis from Arsenal in the transfer window, speaking to ABC de Sevilla.
The Catalan-turned-cockney may have honed his talent in Barcelona’s La Masia academy and grown from a fresh-faced boy into a moustachioed man in north London, but there was another club close to his heart all along.
In July, Liverpool goalkeeper Adrian, a close friend of Bellerin, admitted Spain’s international right-back comes from a family of diehard Beticos.
And, despite being linked with a move to Serie A champions Inter Milan before September’s transfer deadline, the 26-year-old always had his sights set on putting a smile on his old man’s face.
Arsenal star Bellerin may have taken £40k pay cut to join Real Betis
“Being able to make my father happy with a dream that is his, and fulfilling it for him, makes me very excited,” Bellerin said at his introductory press conference today, posing with his new number 19 shirt.
“It is a feeling my father has instilled since I was little. As a child I was a bit of a turncoat, but he forced me to wear the Betis shirt.”
Some have suggested Bellerin would have had to take as much as a £40,000-a-week pay cut to join a club that has started the new La Liga season with two draws and a defeat.
But, to him, there is more to life than lining your pockets.
“Two weeks before the end of the market, (sealing the move) seemed complicated – but it became a reality,” Bellerin adds.
“Football is not just money, sentiment is very important.”
Bellerin’s departure means Arsenal supporters may have to get used to seeing Calum Chambers at right-back, although the arrival of the versatile Takehiro Tomiyasu in a £16 million move from Bologna gives Mikel Arteta some much-needed options.