ESPN Brasil aired two interviews with Arsenal defender Pablo Mari over the past couple of days.

The first one, which went on Wednesday, was only about his love for his former club Flamengo and his efforts to follow the Brazilian side.

In a new one today, Mari talks about his first year with the Gunners, as despite the injury issues he’s had, he’s now ready to make his 10th appearance for the club.

“It was a very difficult year, but in the end I really enjoyed this period. You always have to learn things. And I learned that when you work hard every day, in the end you get a reward,” Pablo Mari told ESPN Brasil.

The defender also thanked Arsenal’s coaching staff for the help in recovering his physical form, and detailed the hard work he went through to get fit again.

“My reward is to be very well physically, I believe it is my best moment in my football career, thanks to the physical trainers and all the staff that we had here, who helped me for six months.

“I worked very hard for a long time, there were even times during my injury that I worked in the morning and in the afternoon at my house to be prepared and stronger. I had to take this opportunity and not let go.”

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On Arsenal finally putting together a winning run, Mari said: “We had a locker room where everyone was rowing to the same place, to change that dynamic as soon as possible, but the results we needed weren’t arriving.

“I think that before the game with Chelsea we had matches that we deserved more, but we didn’t get the victory to give the team that air, to change that dynamic. We managed it against Chelsea.”

Pablo Mari was also asked to talk a little about Gabriel Martinelli, who went the same way as him, from Brazil to Arsenal. The defender could only send praise towards his young teammate.

“Speaking of him as a footballer, I think he has something different, I believe he’s a different talent from what we are seeing. I had the opportunity to get to know him in depth during these months of injury that we work together almost every day, I know how good he is, he’s a wonderful person. He’s a boy who’s very professional, he likes to come to work, to work hard, he’s always thinking about others, he’s a very humble boy.”

As reported by the Brazilian media this week, Arsenal are now set to pay Flamengo €1m as Mari completes his 10th appearance for the club. That’s a bonus agreed in the transfer which can be repeated eight times.