Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has fired a subtle dig at Arsenal following his latest Barcelona exploits.
The Gabonese striker was again on target for his new side on Thursday night as the La Liga giants secured their passage to the Europa League quarter-finals with a 2-1 win over Galatasaray. The 32-year-old struck Barcelona’s all-important second in the comeback success as he made it seven goals in his first 10 games with the Spanish side.
Barcelona looked to be edging towards their second European exit of the season when Marcao headed the Turkish outfit in front shortly before the half hour mark. Pedri then showed composure beyond his 19 years to grab a Barcelona equaliser with 37 minutes on the clock before Aubameyang once again made his mark.
Four minutes into the second half, the forward struck what proved to be the winner, tapping him following a clever knock-down from Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong. After the match, Aubameyang was probed on the factors behind his exceptional form with his new club and the ex-Arsenal striker seized the opportunity to throw shade on his former club.
According to Mundo Deportivo, Aubameyang revealed: “What can I tell you? I am working a lot and I think that the most important thing is that I am happy. When you are happy, you have excitement for everything, to score goals, to help the team and to kill.”
The comments are the latest swipe at Arsenal following the striker’s shamed exit. Aubameyang joined Barcelona on a free transfer at the end of the winter window following a high-profile fallout with Gunners manager Mikel Arteta.
After returning late from a trip abroad, Aubameyang was stripped of the club’s captaincy by the Spaniard before being banished from first-team duties. It then swiftly became clear that the Gabonese forward didn’t have a future in North London and his Emirates exit was arranged as the club terminated his contract.
Aubameyang hasn’t been the only one to aim a thinly-veiled dig in the direction of Arsenal in recent days. His new manager Xavi made a pointed remark in the wake of Barcelona’s 4-0 win over Osasuna in La Liga at the weekend – a match in which the striker scored to achieve an historic feat.
Xavi told reporters: “Aubameyang is a present that has fallen out of the sky. It’s not just [the goals], it’s how he trains and his professionalism. He’s an example, [all the players] are.”
During his Barcelona unveiling, Aubameyang confirmed that ongoing issues with Arteta were the reason for his departure, stating: “A difficult few months. I’ve never wanted to do anything wrong, it’s in the past. I think it was just with him [Arteta]. I can’t say much, he wasn’t happy, I stayed calm and that’s it.”
The move has evidently worked out well for both parties. Barcelona have experienced a remarkable resurgence under Xavi, with Aubameyang’s goals only aiding their recent revival, while Arsenal have continued their march towards a top-four Premier League finish.
Aubameyang will have the chance to add to his fine goalscoring run again on Sunday night when Barcelona travel to the Spanish capital to take on La Liga table-toppers Real Madrid in what will be the striker’s first taste of an El Clasico fixture.