Alex Song has admitted he left Arsenal for Barcelona for the money and adding that he didn’t mind about his playing time at Camp Nou.
The 32-year-old had risen to become a core member of Arsene Wenger’s squad in his final few years at the Emirates Stadium. He moved to Barca in 2012 in a £15 million switch and made 65 appearances in four years.
In an Instagram live video with Cameroonian basketball star Pascal Siakam, Song confessed that he was careless with his spending during his time in England, and when the Spanish giants offered him a deal, he wanted to make up for the future.
“Most footballers live beyond their means. I was at Arsenal for eight years but only began to earn a good living in the last four,” he said.
“That was because my salary went up a lot – but also because I came to realise what a waster I was.
“When I first joined them I was getting £15,000 a week. I was a young lad, and I was ecstatic. I wanted to rub shoulders with the big boys. I could shop wherever I wanted and have crazy nights out.
“I would go to training and see Thierry Henry – the King – turn up in an absolute gem of a car. I told myself I wanted the same car at all costs.
“I went to the dealership, signed the papers and arranged to pay for it by standing order – and just like that I had the same car as The King.
“But I swear that I had to hand the car back inside two months. All my money was going on filling it with petrol. I told them, ‘Give me a Toyota – this car’s too much for me’.
“When I next went to training Thierry asked me, ‘Where’s your car, son?’ I told him it’s on a higher level than me.
“During my entire time at Arsenal I couldn’t even save £100,000, while people thought I must be a millionaire.”
Song says when Barca showed up, the prospect of earning more money at the Nou Camp appealed to him.
“When Barcelona offered me a contract and I saw how much I would earn, I didn’t think twice. I felt my wife and children should have comfortable lives once my career is over,” he added.
“I met Barca’s sporting director, and he told me I would not get to play many games.
“But I didn’t give a f*** – I knew that now I would become a millionaire.
“I’ll always say that a 20-year-old who drives a Ferrari is a poor man, as at that age he’s not yet achieved anything. But a man of 50 who drives a Bentley is a man to be respected.”
Song left Barcelona in 2016 after spending the last two years on loan at West Ham. He was with Swiss side Sion this year before he was released from the contract in March for refusing to take a pay cut.