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Arsenal's longest-serving player explains why he refused to join lap of honour after last game

Arsenal's longest-serving player explains why he refused to join lap of honour after last game

He's been at the club since January 2016.

Arsenal's longest-serving player has explained why he "refused" to join their end-of-season lap of honour.

The Gunners ended their 2023/24 campaign with a 2-1 win over Everton on May 19, as goals from Takehiro Tomiyasu and Kai Havertz sealed all three points.

Given how close they came to securing a first league title in 20 years, it was an afternoon of mixed emotions; especially for midfielder Mohamed Elneny.

The Egyptian midfielder, who joined Arsenal from FC Basel in 2016 for a reported £5 million, has struggled for first-team minutes this season.

In fact, he was restricted to just three Premier League appearances under Mikel Arteta.

Now, after playing 161 times for the club, Elneny will leave when his contract expires at the end of June.

“It’s meant a lot to me being here for so long, it was the best eight years of my life," he told Arsenal's official website.

"I love this club so much, I love the fans, I love everything about Arsenal."

Elneny, who scored six goals during an eight-year spell in North London, went on to explain why he never took part in the final lap of honour.

"It breaks my heart – that's why I refused to take to the field [on the lap of honour] because I was so full of emotion," he added.

"But that's life, my time here has come to an end and I'm very proud of what I've done for this club.

"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're always going to be in my heart forever."

Image credit: Getty
Image credit: Getty

The Egyptian midfielder also reflected on playing, and being managed by, Mikel Arteta.

"I learned so much from him," Elneny said. "I appreciate everything he has done for me and this football club.

“When he was playing he was clever, and then he’s had so many good coaches he got to work with. You could see his leadership and that he could be something special.

“I’ve never seen a group of players like this. Everyone supports each other and loves each other, and works as a family. I’m going to miss them, they’ve been my friends for so long.

“We’re going to be friends forever. I’m going to be supporting them now in front of the TV and sometimes I’m going to come to the stadium to watch them. I’m sure they’ll have an amazing year next year as well because they deserve it.”

Image credit: Getty
Image credit: Getty

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Featured Image Credit: Getty Images

Topics: Arsenal, Premier League, Egypt