MOSCOW, June 28 (R-Sport) - Russian footballer Andrei Arshavin insisted Friday he does not regret his troubled four-season stay at England's Arsenal and that he learned “life lessons” with the Gunners.
The 32-year-old forward joined Arsenal from Zenit St. Petersburg in 2009 and started his time in London brightly, but later struggled for playing time. He has signed a two-year deal to rejoin Zenit when his Arsenal contract expires Monday.
“I don’t regret a single thing,” he told Russian newspaper Sport Express. “I saw a big club from within, worked alongside strong players and lived in new surroundings with a completely different mentality.”
Despite his optimism, Arshavin appeared to concede that being at Arsenal had not improved him as a player.
“I think it’s worth, above all, talking about life lessons rather than football ones,” he said of his time in London.
Arshavin played for Zenit between 1999 and 2008, winning the Russian title and the UEFA Cup.
His career at Arsenal memorably included a four-goal haul against Liverpool, but soon tailed off. Arshavin spent part of the 2011-12 campaign on loan at Zenit, while last season he was a peripheral figure for Arsenal, making only scattered substitute appearances.
Arshavin has 75 caps for Russia and was part of the side that reached the Euro 2008 semifinals. After captaining Russia at Euro 2012, he has suffered a humbling at an international level.
He was booed by fans in manager Fabio Capello’s first game in charge, a 1-1 friendly draw with the Ivory Coast in August, and has not been selected since.