Mikel Arteta picks Arsenal villain in dream 5-a-side team | Football

Mikel Arteta has included an Arsenal villain in his dream five-a-side team (Picture: Stadium Astro)

Mikel Arteta has included a controversial Arsenal villain in a dream five-a-side team comprised of his former teammates.

The current Arsenal manager’s playing career is often overlooked, but the 41-year-old enjoyed successful spells at some of Europe’s biggest clubs, including the likes of Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain and Rangers.

Arteta hung up his boots eight years ago having captained Arsenal to two FA Cup triumphs before joining Manchester City as Pep Guardiola’s assistant.

Asked to name a team of five players he shared a football pitch with Arteta named Ronaldinho instantly, but paused before including Robin van Persie.

The pair played together for just one solitary season at the Emirates, before the Dutch striker defected to Manchester United in controversial circumstances.

‘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).’

Robin van Persie and Mikel Arteta were teammates at Arsenal for one season

Robin van Persie and Mikel Arteta were teammates at Arsenal for one season (Picture: Getty)

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Arteta will no doubt hope that Bukayo Saka, Arsenal’s man of the moment, will one day be able to stand beside those luminaries of the game who were all world class talents at their peak.

The debate has raged over the last fortnight as to whether Saka is worthy of the world-class moniker with Rio Ferdinand claiming the England international can sustain his current level of excellence over a longer period.

Asked for his definition of world-class, Arteta added: ‘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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