Interview with Andrey Arshavin: Arsenal were not strong enough to win Premier League at my time, now they are
Andrey Arshavin was one of the most enigmatic players to have ever taken the field in the Premier League. The Russian enthralled the footballing world not only with his nimble feet but also his nonchalant demeanour both on and off the field.
The Russian playmaker has spent the most part of his journey in football plying his trade for Zenit Saint Petersburg (198 games, 46 goals, 56 assists). He started his career there and after ten years, Arsenal (145 games, 31 goals, 46 assists) came calling in 2009. However, after taking the Premier League by storm via a 4-goal performance against Liverpool, the Russian struggled to find consistency in his performance with the Gunners.
And thus, most of his games for the Gunners came from the bench. After loaning him back to Zenit in 2012, the Russian sealed his exit in 2013. The same year, he returned for the third time to St. Petersburg.
With the team from Saint Petersburg, he has celebrated all the club titles he holds, like the Russian Premier League (2007, 2012, 2015), Russian Premier League Cup (2003), Russian Super Cup (2008), UEFA Cup (2008) and UEFA Super Cup (2008).
Arshavin, 35, spent last season with Russian club Kuban Krasnodar and this season, he is plying his trade for Kazak side Kairat, who were runners-up in the Kazakhstan Premier League this year. In 32 games he had amassed 10 goals and 10 assists.
Arshavin is one of the best Russian footballers of modern times and had been a Russia international for ten years (2002-2012), collecting 75 caps and scoring 17 goals.
Andrey Arshavin speaks with Sportskeeda about Arsenal, Arsene Wenger, the highlights of his career and his current goals.
Are you content with what your team, Kairat, achieved this season?
Of course, we wanted to finish at the top, but we have to be realistic. After the difference in points became too big, it was very hard for us to get back on track.
2016 was your first year in the league of Kazakhstan. How was your experience there?
Personally, I liked everything. I am very happy.
What are your plans for the future? Will you stay in Kairat? Will you return to your country Russia? Or is there another destination for you?
I had an offer from China at one time, but after I visited China and Japan a couple of times, I did not feel comfortable there. Qatar was also an option that I could have considered, but it wasn't interesting for me at that time. I have ambitions, but I am realistic too. I don't dream. I have realistic goals, which are achievable and I am trying to reach them.
You are one of the best Russian footballers of all time. Which football players were your idols?
I had never had idols.
Which moments of your career do you consider as unforgettable? Do you have any regrets?
I wouldn't break my career into parts. Three games which I remember the most are (Russia) against England, UEFA Cup Final (Zenit) and when Zenit won at Ramenskoye and became Premier League (Russian) champions.
Which goal of yours was the best you have scored in your point of view? Which team did you like scoring against the most?
I scored many good goals, but I was delighted for the most recent goal against Taraz. I like to score against any team. Of course, the higher the game profile, the more important the goal is, but I have always celebrated the goals that I have scored.
Who in your opinion was the most talented player you played with at Arsenal and English Premier League? What about the opponents?
Speaking about players who I have played with, Cesc Fabregas was the best. Choosing from the teams I have played against, (Lionel) Messi.
You had played for Arsenal for several years. This year Arsenal looks strong and currently are in the top positions of the table. Can they win the Premier League?
At the moment, it looks like them and Manchester City are the favourites to win Premier League this year.
Why Arsenal have so many years to win Premier League? What are they missing comparing to the past years?
In my opinion, there was a time when Arsenal did not have the strongest squad in the Premier League; other teams had a stronger squad.
In 2006, Arsenal reached the Champions League final, but during the years their performances had limits that prevented them from going until the end. What do they need to be successful in European competitions?
I think Arsenal has everything, a very strong team.
How do you rate your relationship with Arsene Wenger?
I do not rate - I think he should rate - whether he was happy working with me. Overall, we both treated each other in a very professional and decent manner. I gave 100% in all games and training sessions at Arsenal.
What is your opinion that Arsene Wenger is in Arsenal almost 20 years? Some of the fans of Arsenal believe that it is time for a change in the managerial position. What do you think of it?
He is a great person. Nowadays it is unique for the modern football (Wenger having spent 20 years at Arsenal). Of course, now Arsenal is Arsene Wenger. He is the person who created Arsenal that we see now. Maybe, the club which has so many supporters and such high ambitions want to see themselves in the leading positions, but I think, there are people, who invest big money in the club and are the ones who need to decide who will work with the team.
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