Arsenal’s on-loan defender Pablo Mari says he always believed he would make it at a big club, despite never being given a chance at Manchester City.
The Spaniard joined City from Gimnastic in 2016 but was immediately sent out on a series of loan spells – to Girona, NAC Breda, and Deportivo La Coruna.
Mari then made a permanent move to Flamengo in 2019, and his performances for Jorge Jesus’ all-conquering side earned him a loan move to Arsenal in January.
The 26-year-old says he never even met Pep Guardiola or his squad, but he bears no ill will towards City.
“You go [to City’s training campus] for medicals each year – blood tests, urine, scans – but when I went to the Netherlands and Coruna, the [City] first team hadn’t started pre-season, so there was no one there,” he told the Guardian.
“You never cross paths. That can feel a bit strange, but City were transparent. The plan was always to go on loan.
“They help you find teams but never oblige you and the last word always has to be yours. After two years, I said I wanted to return to Spain, go step by step awaiting a chance in the Primera.
“Look, a player has to have one thing very clear: how much you’re prepared to lose to be a professional.
“You have to ask yourself that question and be honest. It will never, ever be all lovely. Or all awful.
“My objective was clear: whether it was City or not, I was going to get to a big club. I was absolutely convinced, ever since I left home at 13.”