Aaron Ramsey has revealed that his decision to accept a call-up from the Team GB football squad went against the wishes of both Arsenal and the Football Association of Wales (FAW).
Gunners manager Arsene Wenger last year described the Games as “not a real football tournament” and insisted that appearing in the tournament would put too much strain on players’ fitness.
However, the midfielder says he did not want to miss out on the opportunity to win a gold medal in front of a home crowd.
"We had a meeting in which he gave his opinion and I gave mine," he told the London Evening Standard.
"The Olympics is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, plus it is the chance to play in an international tournament, an experience I have not had.
"I’ve followed the Olympics all my life and though I did some athletics at school, I never dreamed about being an Olympic athlete and I never thought about taking part because there isn’t normally a Great Britain football team. So to be part of it and perhaps win a medal is exciting."
The FAW had previously expressed concern over the implications of a unified Great Britain side for their independent membership of Fifa but Ramsey insisted the tournament can only benefit Wales.
"We had one meeting with the FAW and they said it was up to us. They made it clear how they felt but said the ball was in our court," Ramsey added.
"We are all mature enough to make our own decisions and we are here.
"The number of Welsh players in the squad shows how far Welsh football has come in the last few years and the experience of being involved in an international tournament can only be good for us."