January 26, 2022

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Willian admits Arsenal fan abuse played role in decision to leave

3 min read

Willian has revealed that online abuse from Arsenal fans played a part in his decision to leave the club in the summer.

Willian has spoken out on his Arsenal exit as he has revealed that he wanted to leave just three months after he joined from Chelsea.

The Brazillian spent seven years at Chelsea between 2013 and 2020. He lifted the Premier League on two occasions with the Blues. He also won the FA Cup, Carabao Cup and Europa League.

Willian joined Arsenal ahead of the 2020/21 campaign on a free transfer.

However, the three-year deal he signed was a source of contention for many fans and this was not helped when he made an extremely slow start to life at the Emirates Stadium.

During his only full season at the club he managed just one goal in 37 appearances and opted to return to Brazil in the summer, signing for Corinthians.

Throughout the campaign Arsenal fans were not shy to voice their displeasure at Willian’s performances and, speaking on the Vibe with Five podcast, the Brazilian admitted this abuse played a role in his departure.

“I received a lot of messages on social media from them and also because I came from Chelsea,” he said.

“I think if I came from another club it would have been better for them but also because I came from Chelsea and didn’t perform well – I think about that and say ‘I have to go.’”

“I wasn’t happy. That’s why I didn’t perform. I don’t want to go into the details,” Willian stated via Rio Ferdinand’s YouTube channel Five.

“When I arrived there I was happy, from the beginning I was motivated, I wanted to do well – new club, new mates, new project.

“But after three months, I said to my agent: ‘Please, I want to go’. I don’t want to speak bad about the club, because it is a big club. Arsenal has a big history.

“In football, big players played there before as well. But it didn’t work, it didn’t work. It was, of course, the most difficult time of my career.

Such was the strength of Willian’s desire to leave, he even agreed to tear up his Gunners’ contract in order to sign for Corinthians.

“Yeah, it was big money that I gave up – money is not the most important thing in life, you need to be happy, to be getting pleasure and wake up and want to go to training,” he added.

“I wasn’t having that, so I said to myself, with my family and my wife ‘I cannot stay here, I am not happy here, I have to leave and find a way out to leave the club’.

“For me, it is unfair to stay in a place you don’t want to stay just because of the money.”

When asked why he opted to join Arsenal, Willian added: “It was difficult to decide, because I wanted to stay at Chelsea.

“But I wanted a three-year contract and Chelsea say: ‘No we want to give you two years’. So it was like this – they say two, I say three, they say two, I say three.

“At the end of the season, I decided to join Arsenal and also because before we had conversations with Edu and Mikel [Arteta] as well. They showed me a good project, they showed me a lot of good stuff that they want to do. It was because of that.

“I say well, I want three years, Arsenal wants to give me three years, I want to stay in England, I want to stay in London, my family is happy in London, maybe it is a good opportunity to go there and continue what I am doing.”

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