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Aug 21, 2012

Song: A lifetime opportunity

New Barcelona signing Alex Song says he had no hesitation in leaving Arsenal and he expects to now win trophies in Catalonia.

• Song completes Barca switch

Song, 24, was speaking at the Camp Nou after completing his €19 million move from Premier League side Arsenal.

"I am very happy to be at Barcelona, to be a Barca player," Song said at a press conference. "It is a big day for me and my family. I said yes to Barca because this is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

"I will try to do my best. We will aim to win trophies because this a team of champions."

Reports in the UK had suggested that the move had damaged Song's relationship with Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, but the player said there were no hard feelings on either side.

"I want to thank Arsenal and Arsene Wenger for letting me come here," Song said. "I wanted to make the move and I am happy to have taken this decision. I have no problems with Wenger."

Song reportedly slept Sunday night at the house of another former Wenger protege, Barca midfielder Cesc Fabregas, before being presented to the Camp Nou fans ahead of Monday evening's Gamper Trophy game against Sampdoria, which the Serie A side won 1-0.

"(Fabregas) has told me many things about Barca, but he did not need to convince me," Song said. "I know all about them, I have seen them on the television. When you move to a new place you have to adapt and Cesc will help me. The style of play is similar to Arsenal.

"The Camp Nou is a magical stadium, I have had an opportunity to see its fantastic atmosphere."

Song, who has signed a five-year contract and will wear shirt number 25, is now available for Thursday evening's Spanish Supercopa home first leg against Real Madrid.

"It is a game with lots of rivalry, very important for Barca," he said. "I am especially excited to be able to play in it. I would like to play against Madrid, if the coach thinks it is right. I respect Madrid, but I think Barcelona play better football."

It will not be easy to gain a place in Barca's starting line-up, said Song, who had praise for the team's current 'pivote' Sergio Busquets and added he was happy to play in different positions as required by coach Tito Vilanova.

"I did not come here to take Busquets' place," he said. "He is the best defensive midfielder in the world. At Arsenal I have played centre-half and in midfield. I am ready to play wherever the coach needs me."

Song said his two young sons were also very excited about their father's move.

"Both are big fans of (Lionel) Messi," he said. "When they play in the garden they pretend to be him. Messi is the best player in the world, he has an impressive talent and it is a pleasure to be able to play with him. I am very happy."

Barca sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta said that Song had been Barca's first choice to fill the gap in midfield left by Seydou Keita's departure and it was unlikely there would be any further new arrivals at the club this summer.

"He was top of our list of potential signings," Zubizarreta said. "He is good on the ball, good tactically and physically strong. The deal with Arsenal has gone through quickly. We now have the squad we wanted."

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