Nacho Monreal has named Alexis Sanchez as the finest footballer he played with during his time at Arsenal.
The 33-year-old left-back ended a seven-and-a-half year spell with the Gunners this summer when he joined La Liga outfit Real Sociedad on a two-year contract.
Unai Emery warned Monreal that his first-team opportunities would be limited after Kieran Tierney, 22, arrived from Celtic at the beginning of August.
Monreal went on to have a dream debut for Sociedad, scoring the side’s second goal in a 2-0 victory at home to Atletico Madrid last weekend.
The Spaniard was a popular figure at Arsenal and has fond memories from his lengthy stint in north London, taking to the field with many of the Premier League’s top players.
Sanchez, now at Inter Milan, has had a torrid time since leaving Arsenal for Manchester United in January 2018, but Monreal insists the Chilean was the best he ever played with at the Emirates.
He also claims he was ‘privileged’ to play alongside the likes of Alexandre Lacazette, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Santi Cazorla and Petr Cech.
‘It has been one of the most beautiful experiences of my life,’ Monreal told Marca.
‘I was there seven years, I have shared shirts with many good players. The best? I stay with Alexis, he is a different player.
‘After seeing him train for a minute, you realise the kind of player he is.
‘I have felt privileged putting my boots on next to him, Lacazette, Aubameyang, Santi Cazorla, Petr Cech and more.’
Monreal is convinced he left Arsenal at the right time and insisted there was no bad blood between himself and Emery.
‘It all started the year of the World Cup,’ the Spain international added.
‘We started talking, but at that moment Unai Emery arrived at Arsenal and made it clear that he was counting on me.
‘I was happy, I had a contract and the project was new.
‘And this summer I have been calm, thinking that I would continue there, but they signed another left-back and I realised that the door to exit could be open, even though Unai kept counting on me.’