Aaron Ramsey bids farewell to Arsenal
Ramsey: "Obviously it's very emotional, it's been a hell of a journey. I'm just grateful for the opportunity to play for this great club and spend so many years."
Last Updated: 05/05/19 10:14pm
Aaron Ramsey broke down in tears on the Emirates Stadium pitch as he bade an emotional farewell to Arsenal.
The Wales midfielder will join Juventus when his contract expires at the end of the season, bringing down the curtain on an 11-year stay in north London.
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Ramsey has been absent recently with a hamstring injury which meant his playing days with the Gunners ended when he was forced off during the 1-0 Europa League quarter-final win in Napoli last month.
Signed from Cardiff in 2008, the 28-year-old would go on to become Arsenal's highest-scoring midfielder of all time - hitting two FA Cup final winning goals in 2014 and 2017.
After receiving a guard of honour from his team-mates following a 1-1 draw with Brighton, Arsenal's final home game of the campaign, Ramsey was presented with a memento by club chairman Sir Chips Keswick.
He then broke down as he stood next to Petr Cech, who is retiring at the end of the season, before giving an emotional interview to Sky Sports.
"Obviously it's very emotional, it's been a hell of a journey," he said.
"Eleven years of my life, so much has happened in that, when I look back. You can tell by my voice how much it means to me.
"I'm just grateful for the opportunity to play for this great club and spend so many years.
"I spent 11 years here, I came here 17 years old - a boy - and I'm leaving a man. I've got a family, my wife, my kids, so much has happened, I'm just grateful for the opportunity here.
"Obviously I'm really excited for the new challenge and new chapter in my life [at Juventus] but today it's all about this", he added. "This is where I grew up here, I just want to take this in today and let it settle in for a few more days before I can really look forward and concentrate on that."
Ramsey will be sorely missed
Aaron Ramsey has played his last game for Arsenal. Nick Wright examines his legacy, wonders what might have been without the injuries, and assesses the huge void he will leave behind in Unai Emery's midfield.
'FA Cup win against Hull my best memory'
Ramsey highlighted his first FA Cup final goal, an extra-time winner against Hull which ended Arsenal's nine-year run without a trophy, as his favourite memory.
"The FA Cup win against Hull has to be the favourite because we'd gone a few years without winning the trophy," he said.
"I'd been playing really well that season until Christmas time when I got injured, and I had a few setbacks as well and it was really gutting, but then to come back and get a couple of games then to cap it off with a win in the final, that meant a lot."
"It's a frustration for Arsenal fans that they've seen too many players leave on a free transfer. A player of his quality shouldn't be leaving."
Jamie Redknapp on Ramsey
Ramsey looking forward to Juve challenge
Ramsey can also now look forward to returning to playing Champions League football with a Juve side who recently won their eighth successive Serie A title.
"I am going to club that's playing in the Champions League, and playing with (Cristiano) Ronaldo," he added.
"And that's going to really sink in now so I can get my head around that in the next few weeks and really look forward to that challenge."
😢 A tearful Aaron Ramsey waves goodbye to the Emirates Stadium!— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) May 5, 2019
"A player of his quality shouldn't be leaving."
How do @Arsenal replace him? 🏴
Watch live on Sky Sports Premier League or follow in-game clips and highlights here: https://t.co/ae9dwtS6hh pic.twitter.com/r8wTyZctVY
Cech: Ramsey a big loss for Arsenal
Cech paid tribute to his team-mate, saying his departure would be a "big loss" for the club.
"I think when he came from Cardiff nobody really knew how great a player the club brought in and I think he gave everything he could all those 11 years," said the goalkeeper.
"It's really a shame that today he couldn't be on the pitch, because, everything he has done for the club, he would have deserved to be on the pitch today and maybe the score would have been better."
Welbeck to leave Arsenal on free transfer
The 28-year-old England forward, who has been out since November with a serious ankle injury picked up against Sporting Lisbon, has already played for the Gunners for the last time.
And Welbeck said his farewells to the Arsenal faithful following their last home game of the season on Sunday - a 1-1 draw with Brighton that means they will almost certainly not finish in the top four.
About Welbeck, manager Unai Emery confirmed: "I spoke with the club and this situation, and the decision is he is going to leave."
Welbeck will leave the Emirates after 126 appearances since joining on a five-year deal from Manchester United in 2014.