Egypt's Elneny skipped lap of honour due to “heartbreaking” Arsenal departure

Ahram Online , Tuesday 4 Jun 2024

Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Elneny has opened up about his departure from Arsenal, describing it as a "heartbreaking" moment that left him too emotional to participate in the full lap of honour on the final day of the season.

Mohamed Elneny
File Photo: Arsenal s Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Elneny celebrates at the end of the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Everton at the Emirates Stadium in London on May 22, 2022. AFP


Elneny, who joined Arsenal in 2016, was among the 22 players confirmed to be leaving the club on Monday. Despite a decrease in his influence over the past two seasons, the Egyptian midfielder remained a popular figure in the dressing room, having made over 150 appearances for the team.

Speaking about his eight-year tenure at Arsenal, Elneny expressed that it was the "best of his life" and revealed that he was unable to take part in the lap of honour due to overwhelming emotions regarding his imminent departure.

Following their final-day victory over Everton, the Arsenal squad embarked on a lap of the pitch at the Emirates Stadium, however, Manchester City's triumph over West Ham secured their fourth consecutive title.

"It's meant the world to me being here for so long," Elneny told Arsenal's official website. "These were the best eight years of my life. I love this club, the fans, everything about Arsenal.

"It was heartbreaking, that's why I couldn't take to the field (on the lap of honour). I was filled with so much emotion. But that's life, my time here has come to an end, and I'm incredibly proud of what I've achieved with this club."

The 31-year-old midfielder expressed his gratitude towards the Arsenal fans, stating, "I love these fans, and I gave everything that I had. I appreciate everything they did for me, in the good moments and the bad, and they will always hold a special place in my heart."

Elneny's arrival at Arsenal was facilitated by the club's iconic figure, Arsene Wenger. The Egyptian joined from Swiss side Basel for a fee of approximately £6m, and he had the opportunity to play under both Wenger and current Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta.

"I played with Mikel for six months before he retired and became a coach," Elneny reflected. "I enjoyed playing with him and learning from him as a coach. I am grateful for everything he has done for me and for this football club."

Describing Arteta's leadership qualities, Elneny praised the former player for his intelligence and the valuable lessons he gained from working with various experienced coaches. He emphasized the unique bond within the Arsenal squad, characterizing it as a supportive and loving family.

"I've never seen a group of players like this. Everyone supports each other and loves each other, and works as a family," Elneny remarked. "I'm going to miss them—they've been my friends for so long. We're going to be friends forever."

Elneny assured that he would continue to support his former teammates by watching their matches on TV and occasionally attending the stadium. He expressed confidence in Arsenal's prospects for the upcoming season, believing they deserve a successful campaign.

Under Arteta's leadership this season, Elneny has featured only six times in the Arsenal squad, making three substitute appearances in the Premier League. His last appearance dates back to February 24, when he came late from the bench in the 4-1 home victory against Newcastle.

It remains unclear whether the Egyptian star will join another team during the summer transfer window or announce his retirement and pursue a career in coaching.

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