Bellerin: Why I had to leave Barcelona

The right-back departed the Camp Nou as a 16-year-old, having failed to break into the first-team, and signed his first professional contract with the Gunners
Hector Bellerin has revealed that he left Barcelona to give himself the best chance of success within the game, having now established himself in Arsenal's first-team.

Bellerin joined Barca as an eight-year-old in 2003 but didn't make a first-team appearance for the club and left to join the Gunners in 2011, signing his first professional contract with the north Londoners.

And the right-back – who has made 19 appearances in all competitions this season – says that he would make the same move again if he were given the chance.

"I got the chance and I took it," he told Marca. "Wherever you are, you have to work. If I'd stayed at Barcelona, I don't know if I'd have made it to the elite, you just never know.

"I've worked as hard as I could and always had the mentality of reaching the top. Whether I was in one place or another, I'd have done the same."

Bellerin also says that the Premier League is an elite division, though he concedes that the Gunners may have taken Monaco lightly prior to their Champions League exit at the last-16 stage.  

"A lot of people in Spain watch Premier League games and know what kind of a league it is. It would be madness to say that it isn't among the best leagues in the world," he added.

"The Spanish league is also at a very high level, with Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico. In the Champions League maybe we should have done things better. Perhaps we underestimated Monaco."