Arsenal playmaker Arteta: I almost wrecked career at Barcelona

Arsenal ace Mikel Arteta admits he almost didn't have a career after acting up as a kid at Barcelona.

Arsenal ace Mikel Arteta admits he almost didn't have a career after acting up as a kid at Barcelona.

He was almost led astray into the party lifestyle when he was a teenager trying to break into the big time with Barcelona.

Arteta recalled in The Sun: "There was a turning point when I was with Barca and staying at La Masia. It's where the club grooms all the young players aged from 13 to 17.

"I was in a room with Pepe Reina, Victor Valdes, Carles Puyol and Andres Iniesta. That was the quality we had there. I tell you, even then you could look at a young Iniesta and see that he was destined for the first team.

"You just knew he was going to do very well. But there were also guys there who were not so dedicated, who had different characters.

"The ones who would not do this exercise, who would skip this and that in training, who would say, 'Let's jump the fence and go party'. Because when you are 'nearly there' as a player, it is easy to lose your head.

"So I did that with them a few times, up and over the wall and into town. I didn't really want to do it, I did it because the other lads wanted me to, or were saying 'Oh, you haven't the balls to do it!'

"But then I was caught and Barca were really, really tough with me. That was the day that I learned that, if I really wanted to succeed at football, I had to be totally focused on my game — not following those other guys."

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