Arda Turan has expressed his delight after his dream of joining Barcelona came true when he left Atletico Madrid and made a switch to Camp Nou last summer. The midfielder also went on to reveal that Premier League giants Manchester United and Chelsea did not appeal him as joining the Catalan club had long been his ambition.
The treble winners signed the Turkish international before the start of the 2015/16 season despite their transfer ban, which was lifted in January. This forced the 29-year-old to miss the first half of the season as he made his debut for Luis Enrique's side in this calendar year.
While he was at the Spanish capital club, Barcelona were not the only club interested in his services. United and Chelsea were also keen on landing him last summer as both clubs were looking to bolster their squad.
"I always dreamt of playing for Barcelona. Not Chelsea, not Manchester... but Barcelona. 'I wish I can play for Barca one day, be a part of that team' — I had said to myself many times," Turan told Hurriyet, as quoted by Goal.com.
"Thank God it became true. And now I enjoy playing for one of the best teams in the world. I'm used to paparazzi in Turkey but in Spain, they don't act that way. They don't chase and shoot Messi. Even Ronaldo was free of paparazzis when he was with (former girlfriend) Irina (Shayk).
"I feel less pressure now at Barcelona. It was different at Atletico. If someday I will leave Barca, I'll know that I'll be leaving on top. I'll know that I succeeded. I don't have to prove anything to anyone."
Turan's move to Barcelona saw the latter splash €41m (£31.9m, $45.5m), where €34m was paid upfront and €7m in variables. The midfielder will come to England along with his teammates as the La Liga leaders will face Arsenal in the knockout stages of the Champions League at the Emirates on 23 February.