Samir Nasri has long since been scribbled off any Arsenal fans Christmas card list. The Frenchman is now a magnet to abuse from the Gunners, but has now hit back at ‘bitter’ Arsenal fans as he discussed his fractious relationship and his motivations to move to Manchester in 2011 – insisting he did not leave north London for the money.
Nasri has revealed how his passionate relationship with Arsenal fans went “from love to hate” after he joined Manchester City in 2011 but says that abuse from his former supporters doesn’t affect him anymore, it now just makes him laugh.
Understandably, the Manchester City midfielder immediately transitioned from a club hero to a villain amongst angry Arsenal supporters when he made the switch from the Emirates to the Etihad, with fans incensed that the Frenchman had betrayed the club that introduced him to the Premier League in favour of financial gain.
But after winning the Premier League during his first season in Manchester, Nasri admits that he is sad at how quickly his relationship with his former fanbase deteriorated, though he is adamant that the abuse no longer affects his on-field performance. As Nasri explains, it was never about the money… although his justification will certainly annoy Arsenal fans:
“Manchester City were a better team – that’s why I went there. It was my ambition, not because of the money,
“Whether you’re a fan or not, people should understand that, if a bigger company calls you, if you’re ambitious you’re going to go there.”
Whilst this may appear to be some sound career advice for any aspiring footballer, Nasri has hardly practiced what he’s preached at Manchester City – spending the majority of his Etihad career sitting in the stands.
For all his ambition, Nasri is yet to establish himself in the Manchester City squad, tallying just four goals in his past two seasons due to a poor run of form and a series of injuries.
Nasri was an adored figure during his period at Arsenal. After taking a while to settle into English football, he repaid the faith shown in him by Arsene Wenger, scoring some phenomenal solo goals as Arsenal surprised everybody… finishing 4th.
“I had so much love for this club because the fans were amazing towards me then after when I saw all of that, I became a little hateful because I was like ‘come on, why are they doing this? I haven’t done anything wrong to them’ and it became this relationship, from love to hate.
“It’s a bit sad because I spent three amazing years there – they brought me from Marseille and Arsene Wenger was like a father figure to me, he did everything for me. I’m still on really good terms with him but it’s sad to have this relationship now with the club.”
Nasri claims he has a strong mentality, pinning his steely demeanour down to his upbringing, explaining that he only has one type of reaction to abuse from Arsenal supporters and that’s laughter:
“People don’t understand where I grew up… I came from nothing. Someone boos me, that isn’t going to affect me.
“It’s not you telling me I’m a mercenary or I’m a snake that’s going to affect me. It makes me laugh and makes me want to prove them wrong even more.
“The thing is as a footballer you have a big ego so you’re never going to show some kind of weakness to someone else.”
At least there’s one thing that Arsenal fans and Samir Nasri can both agree on, the Frenchman certainly has a substantial ego.