Pablo Mari cherishes ‘wonderful’ Flamengo spell
Arsenal defender Pablo Mari says his 6-month spell at Rio club Flamengo was a ‘wonderful’ time in his career, the Spaniard is currently on loan at Arsenal.
The Gunners have an option to buy in the summer and Mari is hoping the London club exercise it, but he looks back fondly on his time in Rio, where he won the Brasileirão and the Copa Libertadores.
“My footballing curve; I never thought this could happen,” Mari told the Guardian. “But over the years of work, injuries, without opportunities, I’ve learned that deep inside an attitude builds which says: ‘The moment someone gives me the chance, there’s no way I’m letting go.’
“Flamengo gave me that. Any doubts went up in a cloud of smoke. 80,000 people never stop singing, living their day like there’s nothing else in the world. If I’d gone younger, it might have been different. It’s thanks to those years fighting, hard times, that those six months were so wonderful.”
Mari says that winning the Copa Libertadores against River Plate in Lima in November is his career highlight, “I still don’t have the words and don’t think I ever will. I’ll never forget it; it’s etched on my heart.”