Mikel Arteta had to use Emiliano Martínez in goal at the end of last season after Bernd Leno picked up a knee injury in June 2020.
The goalkeeper did well and impressed for the Gunners as they went on to win the FA Cup and the Community Shield last year.
Despite his fine displays, the north London club sold the 28-year-old to Aston Villa in the last summer transfer window. The Argentine has been excellent for Villa this season, keeping 14 clean sheets in 28 league matches.
Efe interviewed the keeper and ESPN Argentina have relayed his comments. During the course of the discussion, Martínez was asked to detail his exit from the Emirates.
“I wanted to change. I think I succeeded, because I left with two titles under my arm and playing every game in one of the best clubs in the world,” he said.
“I did not leave as a failure, I left super happy, but in the end, you want to change your scene after ten years at the club, from so much fighting. I showed what I had to do and that they could have given me the opportunity a little earlier. But I left very happy.”
The South American also admitted it was his decision to leave Arsenal and thanked Arteta for granting his wish.
“At no time did they tell me that I was not going to play or that I was. It was not a losing battle, because I showed my level, but it was my decision to go through the front door,” Martínez explained.
“Nobody told me to stay or go. Nobody told me I was going to be number one or two. It was purely my decision. I thank Mikel for letting me go and supporting me in my decision.”
Arsenal defeated Chelsea to win the FA Cup last season and it was Arteta’s first trophy of his managerial career. Martínez was seen in tears after the tie and he has now detailed why it was the happiest moment of his career.
“Yes, not for having won a final, but for having overcome my frustrations at a professional level at Arsenal. They were many years of suffering and having a bad time for not having my chance,” the custodian stressed.
“Not because I didn’t deserve it, but because they didn’t give it to me. At that moment all the bad Sundays that I have spent when I was not summoned at the club came to me, or I went on loan to places I did not want to go because I needed games.
“They never sent me on loan to get me out, but to improve me. That’s why they kept me at the club for so long, because they saw something in me. When I won the cup, I took out the anger that I had inside.
“I am an emotional boy and everything I do I do for my family and that is why those tears came to my eyes.”