Mikel Arteta admits Rangers mistake after thriving in 'survive or die' Ibrox atmosphere

Mikel Arteta admits it was a mistake to leave Rangers when he did for family reasons, as he loved the "survive or die" Ibrox atmosphere.

The Spaniard joined Gers after starring for PSG against them in a UEFA Cup clash. Despite wanting to join the French giants on a permanent basis - where he was on loan from Barcelona - an agreement couldn't be reached and Rangers took full advantage, making their move immediately after facing off against the Ligue 1 outfit.

Despite the Scottish football culture being alien to Arteta, the current Arsenal boss needed little persuading after sampling the atmosphere in that European battle. And the quick learning curve he had to go on made him a better player. "We were there (in Paris) and I had a year-and-a-half. It went really well. I wanted to stay there but when Barcelona didn't find an agreement, I had to make an early call," he told BBC Radio Five Live.

"We had played in the UEFA Cup against Rangers and we had to go to Glasgow. I witnessed it for the first time - I went there and said 'wow, I've never seen an atmosphere like this. Look how passionate these people are.

"They came in for me straight away after that game. I said maybe it's an opportunity, my only condition is that we have to reunite my family. I said I think we've been split up for a while, it's time we get together. Let's go to Glasgow, a different experience. My sister got a job at the BBC and we all moved there.

"It was really challenging, completely different football. You have to survive or die, in that context. An amazing club, a fascinating environment, a great city and I lived games that will live with me for the rest of my life. Different worlds open up. I went there and it was a completely different world.

-Credit:SNS Group
-Credit:SNS Group

"Alex McLeish, a Scottish manager, completely different methods, ideas. He talked about the game in a different way. I said ‘okay I'm going to have to adapt to this’ and go to stadiums in Scotland where the style is very different, with the surface very different, the weather is very different. The value for something positive is different. It was really really healthy for me as well. That made a better player."

Arteta enjoyed two years in Govan, but admits the decision to move to Real Sociedad in a bid to prevent his parents from separating was a "disaster." he added: “I felt so guilty. I didn't know if that was because of me and trying to pursue my dream. I feel very responsible for that,” he says.

“I never felt that it was the right call [to move back to Spain], but I had a duty and I wanted to reconnect my parents and my family again. It was a disaster. It never worked in that sense. I never felt connected in any moment."