Arsenal squeezed past Benfica to progress to the round of 16 in the UEFA Europa League, but it was not smooth sailing. Dani Ceballos was involved in both of the goals conceded — including a poor decision to head the ball back to Bernd Leno which was easily intercepted by the Portuguese opponent. Speaking after the match, Arteta state how happy he was that Ceballos was not punished as the player lives and breathes the game.
“I’m especially happy about Dani because he’s a player that lives this profession like the most important thing in his life, and when he made that mistake, if that would have cost the team, it would have been mentally really tough,” Arteta explained.
“That’s when you need players in the team like the ones we have with Auba and Bukayo creating and Kieran Tierney scoring the goal to save him. Out of a difficult situation we created a really nice moment.”
“I’m especially happy for him because he really loves this game and he does everything in the right way to be as prepared as possible. You can see how he celebrates every single goal. He doesn’t have a 10-year contract at the club, he’s on loan and still feels and defends this club in the best possible way. I think someone like him deserves good things to happen to him in football,” Arteta revealed.
The Arsenal boss provided high praise for the Real Madrid loanee. After two fatal mistakes, the manager could have easily thrown his player “under the bus” or ignored him all together, but instead Arteta lavished personal praise on the player. The upcoming summer will decide whether or not Dani Ceballos has a future as a Real Madrid player, but regardless of his future he has left a positive impression on his current employers.