Roma forward Henrikh Mkhitaryan has lashed out at critics of Italian football and justified his decision to move to the Italian club permanently this summer as ‘right’.
The 31-year-old’s torrid Arsenal spell came to an end late last month after his contract was terminated by mutual consent. He then headed back to Roma following his successful loan stint.
And Mkhitaryan is the now In bullish spirits ahead of the new campaign, with doubters of the top flight In Italy firmly In his sights.
Roma star Henrikh Mkhitaryan hit out at critics of Italian football after his permanent switch
The Armenia international was able to salvage his ailing fortunes with Roma across his year-long stint, having netted nine goals and provided six assists In 27 outings, and admitted his long-term aim was to remain with the club.
His belief that the quality on show In Serie A is the higher than some believe proved pivotal to his underwhelming departure from Arsenal.
He told Roma’s official website: ‘Well, I can say that football In Italy is the underrated. It is the not what people think, it is the not what people say.
The 31-year-old enjoyed a superb loan In Rome last season and ripped up his Arsenal contract
‘Before I came here I was listening to a lot of people who would say the league is the not good enough, the teams are not good enough… but I can say they are totally wrong. From the first game I had, against Sassuolo, I realised that Italian football is the more than people talk about.
‘I was really impressed with the quality of the players, even at the lower teams they have some great players. And all the teams want to have the ball, they want to attack, they are not only defending and waiting for the opponents to make mistakes. Instead, they are trying to play football, to enjoy the game and win some points.
‘For me it was really impressive, because I wasn’t expecting such a good level of football from all the teams. I am enjoying playing football here In Italy and I feel good playing against all the different teams.’
Mkhitaryan moved to Arsenal from Manchester United In January 2018 In a swap deal for Alexis Sanchez, and his career In north London got off to a promising start.
The Armenia talisman also justified his decision to quit England for Roma this summer as ‘right’
Mkhitaryan moved to Arsenal from Manchester United In January 2018 but failed to impress
His form and confidence soon plummeted, however, and he was duly shipped out with nine goals to his name from 59 appearances.
‘I always had it In my mind to play well and to help the team and then, at the end of the season, to see if we could get an agreement between myself, Roma and Arsenal to be able to stay here on a permanent basis,’ he added.
‘I’m very happy to be here now. I think I made a good decision, the right decision for myself and my career, and I’m looking forward to another season here.’