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Arthur Melo: I was wrong to refuse to play for Barcelona

Brazil international midfielder Arthur Melo

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil | THE INDEPENDENT |    Brazil international midfielder Arthur Melo has regretted having refused to play for Barcelona after securing a summer move to Juventus.

Arthur signed with the Italian Serie A side in June as part of a deal that saw Bosnian midfielder Miralem Pjanic join the Catalan club.

Despite being contracted to Barcelona until the end of the 2019-20 season in August, Arthur refused to rejoin his teammates for the last stage of the UEFA Champions League amid reports he had been offloaded against his will.

“I accept the criticism and in my opinion I made a mistake,” the 24-year-old said in an interview with Brazil’s Globo news outlet. “I could have done things differently. But it was what was going through my head at the time.

“If I could change some things, I think that I would. I am not ashamed to say that. But it is very difficult to judge, because no one knows what I was experiencing, what my family was experiencing. It went much further than what was happening on the pitch. There was a lot going on. But they are things that happen in life and you have to learn.”

Arthur insisted that it was his decision to leave Spain but did explain his reasons.

“I decided with my family what was best for me. The choice was mine,” he said. “Nobody forced me to do anything. I am very happy with the decision I made, my family is also very happy. And I have to thank Barcelona, because they opened the doors to Europe for me.”

After an inauspicious start to his time in Turin, Arthur has grown in confidence in recent weeks and is now a regular starter under manager Andrea Pirlo.

The former Gremio player praised the ex-Italy international midfielder for helping him improve his game.

“I’m lucky to have a coach like Pirlo. He knows the players’ feelings on the pitch very well, and the best part is that he played in my position. He’s been talking to me, giving me good advice.

“I know I have to improve in many areas. He talks to me, gives me good advice: for example looking for the longer pass. I’m playing in a slightly different position here than at Barcelona.

“Obviously, it takes a while to get used to the new position and I know I have to grow a lot. I’m grateful to him for helping me.”

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XINHUA

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