By Will Butcher
Arsenal defender Hector Bellerin has described football as the “beautiful game” after marking former academy teammate Adama Traore on Saturday.
The two met as Middlesbrough halted the Gunners’ impressive winning streak of seven matches in all competitions, as Aitor Karanka’s Premier League new boys secured a 0-0 draw.
Bellerin, who played with Traore at Barcelona’s famed youth academy La Masia, posted his delight on his personal Instagram account after facing the quick footed winger.
Bellerin moved to North London in 2011 after signing for Spanish champions Barcelona at just eight years of age.
The pacy right back played alongside Traore in Barcelona’s youth academy for seven years between 2004 and 2011, before opting to move to Arsenal.
Bellerin, who has also had a spell on loan with Premier League outfit Watford, has cemented his place as Wenger’s first-choice right back at the Emirates and has made 85 league and cup appearances since his debut in September 2013.
Former Aston Villa winger Traore made four appearances alongside the likes of Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta and Sergio Busquets before moving to Villa Park last summer.
A dismal spell in the Midlands saw Villa end the season on just 17 points and relegated to England’s second tier, but a move to Middlesbrough has given Traore an instant Premier League return.