Ex-Arsenal star reveals friends called him ‘crazy’ for leaving club | Football

Willian scored just one goal for Arsenal (Photo: Visionhaus)

Willian has revealed that friends told him he was ‘crazy’ for leaving Arsenal despite enduring an awful season with the Gunners.

The Fulham winger made a surprise switch from Chelsea to Arsenal on a free in 2020, signing a three-year contract with Mikel Arteta’s side.

The transfer seemed to be something of a coup for the North Londoners, given the Brazilian’s ability, experience and impressive trophy haul that included two Premier League titles.

But he would end up spending just one season at the Emirates, describing the experience as ‘the worst time that he had lived as a professional’, agreeing to rip up his contract and leave for boyhood club Corinthians, before joining Fulham in 2022.

Arsenal were paying Willian £240,000-a-week, and the player has now opened up a little more on his decision to leave, and revealed how everyone thought he was mad for giving up the astronomical wages.

‘When I left Arsenal everyone knows it was not good. It was a difficult year for me,’ the 35-year-old told The Telegraph.

‘I decided to leave and, at that time, I still had two more years contract and I just said to them: “Listen, let’s break the contract. It has not worked the way we wanted. I will go somewhere else and I will continue to play football”.

Chelsea FC v Fulham FC - Premier League

Willian is enjoying far more success at Fulham (Photo: Getty)

‘People were saying to me: “You are crazy. You cannot give up this kind of money.

‘”Any other player in your position would never do that. They would sit on the contract and collect the money”. Stuff like that.

‘But I don’t think about money. I know money is important, for sure. But it’s not the first thing in my life.

‘For me, God first. Then my family, then football. Then the other things. But I wasn’t happy so that’s why I decided to leave.

‘I turned the situation around and, now, three years later I am at this club, enjoying myself. It’s an amazing club, to be honest.’

So far, Willian has scored a very credible 10 goals and made eight assists in 56 appearances for the Cottagers, and with his help they look to have established themselves as a Premier League side once again.

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