Former Arsenal star looking forward to Emirates Cup reunion
PUBLISHED: 10:13 31 July 2013 | UPDATED: 10:13 31 July 2013
Emmanuel Eboue says he is relishing a return to north London when he lines up for Galatasaray at this weekend’s Emirates Cup tournament.
The former Arsenal right-back is set to play against his old club on Sunday for the first time since he joined the Turkish champions in a £3m switch two years ago.
And the Ivory Coast international is looking forward enormously to his reunion with the Gunners, with the two sides due to clash in the final game of the tournament on Sunday.
“I was on holiday when I first found out,” said Eboue, 30. “One of my friends called me and said: “Manu, you know you’re going to play in the Emirates Cup against Arsenal?”
“I couldn’t believe it. I can’t wait to see my old team-mates, the staff and of course the fans – they all did so many good things for me, and it’s going to be a brilliant experience.
“I still speak to several of the guys regularly – Bacary Sagna and Abou Diaby for example – and sometimes Arsène Wenger too. I always want to hear news from the club because I am a big supporter of them.
“I’m a Galatasaray player now, but I am still in love with Arsenal and I always watch their games. The club only did good things for me, and I never had any trouble from anybody.
“My only bad day was that game against Wigan [in December 2008, when Eboue came on as substitute, but was taken off following a dreadful series of errors].
“But that was something you must be ready for as a football player. I will never, ever forget Arsenal or its supporters and I cannot wait to see them again.”
Eboue – who made 216 appearances and scored nine goals in his six years with the Gunners – and his team-mates get the tournament under way on Saturday against Portuguese champions Porto (kick-off 2pm).
Arsenal then take on Serie A side Napoli (4.20pm) and the Italians face Porto in their second game the following day (2pm) before the Gunners conclude the tournament against Galatasaray (4.20pm).
As well as Eboue, the Turkish club could include the likes of Dutch star Wesley Sneijder, former Chelsea striker Didier Drogba and Brazilian midfielder Felipe Melo in their side at the Emirates.
Napoli, who are now managed by Rafael Benitez, will be strengthened by the inclusion of ex-Gunners target Gonzalo Higuain, their recent signing from Real Madrid.
Slovakian playmaker Marek Hamsik and goalkeeper Pepe Reina, who is on a season-long loan from Liverpool, are also expected to feature for the Italian side.
Tickets for the Emirates Cup are still available, priced from £29 (adults) and £14 (concessions). Visit Arsenal.com/EmiratesCup for more details.