The full video of Hector Bellerin’s recent interview with Oxford Union, a debating society based out of Oxford University was released today on YouTube, and if you couldn’t already tell from his fashion choices, Bellerin is a fascinating person. While Phil already wrote about Bellerin’s juicy comments on Alexis Sanchez and the Chilean’s final season at the club, Bellerin discussed several more noteworthy Arsenal and soccer related topics during the interview, including everyone’s favorite circus/debacle, Arsenal Fan TV.
For a young guy, Bellerin has a refreshing perspective on the interactions between fans and players. As someone who is quite active off the field (did you know he co-founded a marketing agency for athletes?), Bellerin believes fans are too quick to attack players for having hobbies away from soccer:
So many people tweet me, “oh, you should focus on the game,”...calm down. I am a human being, and I got my passions and I got my hobbies...trust me, when I’m at home, I review my games, I do training sessions outside of the club...I go to bed really early, I watch my diet. So many things that’s like, the “invisible training” that people don’t know.
When asked by an audience member about how the players view Arsenal Fan TV, Bellerin gave a logical and fair answer that I’m sure won’t be blown out of proportion by the “stars” of everyone’s favorite circus/debacle.
It does sometimes pop up in your timeline...I think it’s so wrong, for someone that claims to be a “fan”, and their success is fed off a failure, so how can that be a fan? I think there’s people hustling, that are trying to make money their way, which everyone is entitled to do...if people want to have fun with it, let them have fun.
As fans, we often make way too much of a big deal about what constitutes a “proper” fan. There is no one right way to support Arsenal, or anything for that matter. And as Bellerin alludes to, even if you disagree with their opinions, style, etc., people are fully justified in expressing their fandom and enjoying what entertains them however they please, as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone. Although Bellerin slightly contradicts that idea in the first part of the quote, it’s easy to understand why he’d have that perspective. “Human being doesn’t like getting criticized publicly every week” isn’t exactly breaking news.
Bellerin’s comments on this subject were just a small part of the whole event. Here are a quick rundown of some other notable moments:
On the differences between Barcelona and Arsenal:
It was just quite hard to adapt to the physicality [in England], and after two years I could feel myself being much fitter...the first day they would barge into me and I would fall on the floor...I feel so lucky that I could learn the trade and have that base over there [at Barca].
On young players in their prime moving to China for more money:
On a personal level, I would never do it...but you also need to understand some of these players come from nothing...For them, I think it’s more of a question of taking care of their people. We know it’s a lot of money, but they have big families...they want to take care of the whole village.
On fighting for a spot on the Spanish national team:
When you’re a player that makes it into the first team of the national team, and then you come to England once you’re part of that national team, coaches know you, they know how you play, and it’s easier to get there. When you’re young and you come to England...when they have to make choices, [coaches] are usually always going to go to the players that are in Spain already because they are easier to watch.
On preferring to win the Champions League with Arsenal or the World Cup with Spain:
Playing for a country means a lot more than playing for a club...I didn’t grow up supporting Arsenal...when it comes to the country, I think it has that little bit more of meaning.
Bellerin also touched on mental health and racism in soccer, bad referees, the toughest players he’s played against (Kieran Gibbs, really?), getting his own song, plus Arsenal’s new signings and chances for the rest of the season. In addition, Bellerin expanded on several of his passions away from soccer, his business pursuits, his thoughts on Teslas and sustainable living, and yes, his fashion choices. Bellerin appears to be a highly intelligent guy with an intriguing personality, and it was cool learning so much about someone we usually only see and judge from a very narrow point of view. I’d recommend checking out the video from the night, which you can watch here: