Former Rangers star Mikel Arteta has won the first trophy of his managerial career as he steers Arsenal to the FA Cup.
The former Ibrox midfielder – who was signed from Barcelona for around £6m in 2002 – lifted the iconic trophy at Wembley courtesy of a 2-1 victory over Frank Lampard’s Chelsea.
Having only taken over at the Emirates in December, it marks an impressive turnaround and an impressive start to his career in north London.
A former assistant to world-leading coach and Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola, Arsenal have struggled to find a suitable replacement to the legacy of Arsene Wenger.
Arteta’s countryman Unai Emery struggled to adapt to English football and the Gunners took the plunge on the ex-Rangers man as he takes his first managerial footsteps in London.
Arteta, who also played for Arsenal as well as Everton and Real Sociedad, believes that this FA Cup final victory proves his side has what it takes to challenge for the Premier League.
“I am really proud of what we have achieved because I know the difficulties and everything we have been through,” said Arteta [BBC Sport].
“For me personally, it has been so tough over the past six months with a lot of things that have happened in our lives but I had just one mission when I came here and that was to make the players and staff believe we could do it.
“We had to change that energy and that mentality and just by seeing them in the dressing room all together, and the way they enjoy their profession and their time together, it makes me more proud and as a consequence of that after we can achieve things and win titles together.”
Mikel Arteta, 38, played for Rangers between 2002 and 2004, playing over 60 times and scoring 14 goals, one of those being that famous late penalty against Dunfermline to secure the club’s 50th league title on the last day of the season in a 6-1 win.