Ramsey aims for perfect ending to Arsenal career

NAPLES • Aaron Ramsey will get an advance taste of life in Italy as Arsenal look to finish off Napoli in their Europa League quarter-final today.

The Juventus-bound midfielder, whose Gunners contract expires in June to end an 11-year association, had agreed a jaw-dropping deal with the Serie A champions reportedly worth £400,000 (S$515,000) a week over four seasons.

He will become one of the best-paid footballers alongside soon-to-be teammate Cristiano Ronaldo, Barcelona's Lionel Messi and Neymar of Paris Saint-Germain.

Ramsey, who will follow in the footsteps of fellow Welshmen John Charles and Ian Rush by switching England for Turin, excelled in last week's 2-0 home-leg win over Napoli and struck the opener.

Ahead of the Naples trip, he said: "We've given ourselves a great opportunity in the first leg. Now it's important to stick together and, hopefully, see out this quarter-final.

"They've proved they're a quality team and are second in Serie A. From a few years back, we know they're tough to play against and it will be a difficult place to go to."

The final of the second-tier European club competition is in Baku, Azerbaijan, on May 29, and Ramsey will be hoping to make it a fond Arsenal farewell.

Under manager Unai Emery, the 28-year-old was initially reduced to a squad player, but has since regained a starting spot and is in good form, with three goals in six starts.

Emery, a three-time Europa League winner with Sevilla, has praised the commitment shown by the fan favourite despite his deal winding down.

The Spaniard said: "He wants to do something important for the supporters, and I want to do something important with him in his last matches here with his Arsenal heart."

In the other quarter-finals, Chelsea will be expected to overcome Slavia Prague at home after a narrow 1-0 win in the Czech capital.

Benfica head to Germany with a 4-2 advantage over Eintracht Frankfurt, while Valencia are in control of their all-Spanish LaLiga clash with Villarreal with a 3-1 lead ahead of their clash at home.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 18, 2019, with the headline 'Ramsey aims for perfect ending to Arsenal career'. Print Edition | Subscribe