Song ‘happy to join best team in world’
Barca beaten by Sampdoria in Joan Gamper Trophy
Cameroon international Alex Song says he is “happy to join the best team in the world” after signing with Barcelona from Arsenal in a transfer worth €19 million (£15 million).
“A few weeks ago, I was set to extend my contract with Arsenal and it was taking some time. But when Barcelona arrived, I said yes straight away, because Barcelona is not a team to be turned down and when the train arrives once in a lifetime, you have to take your chance,” he told reporters as he was unveiled at a club presentation yesterday.
The 25-year-old – who is related to Cameroon legend Rigobert Song – had three years left to run on his contract with Arsenal but scrapped that in favour of a five-year deal with the four-time European champions.
“I am happy to be here and it is a pleasure for me to come to Barcelona, because it is a dream come true. Barcelona are the best club in the world, the best team in the world with some of the most talented players in the world,” he added.
“It is an immense joy for me and my family,” he added.
“I have two boys who adore (Lionel) Messi the whole year long and only speak about him and it will be a great joy to have the opportunity to play with him.
“Today, I am a Barcelona player and I will do everything to give the best I possibly can, because it is Barcelona and it is a team of winners, a team of champions”.
Song becomes the second key player to leave Arsenal after Dutchman Robin van Persie signed with Manchester United last week for €30.4 million.
Barcelona opened their La Liga season last Sunday with a 5-1 thumping over Real Sociedad, helped by two goals from Messi.
During manager Arsene Wenger’s reign at Arsenal, Marc Overmars, Emmanuel Petit, Giovanni van Bronckhorst, Thierry Henry, Alexander Hleb, Cesc Fabregas and now Song have made the switch to Barcelona.
Song believes his former Arsenal team-mate Fabregas, now established as a key figure at the Nou Camp a year after moving from the Emirates Stadium, can help him settle.
He said: “I know Cesc very well, I slept at his house (on Sunday). He’s a very good friend of mine, he will help me to integrate.”
Late Monday, Song joined his new team-mates for the official team presentation at the Joan Gamper Trophy at the Nou Camp, where the Catalan lost to Sampdoria 1-0.
He received a standing ovation from the Barcelona support, having become the club’s second major signing of the summer following the capture of Spain full-back Jordi Alba from Valencia.
Almost 60,000 were present for the early-season match but the honours went to Serie A newcomers Sampdoria for whom Roberto Soriano scored the winner in the opening half.