Jose Antonio Reyes made a flying start to his Arsenal career. A Premier League title and FA Cup winners medal in his debut season with Arsene Wenger's 'Invincibles' quickly endeared himself to the Gunners' faithful.

The 28-year-old Spaniard spent three successful years in north London after signing for the club in January 2004, scoring crucial goals against Portsmouth and Fulham during the end of season run-in.

"I have nothing but positive and happy memories of that time," Reyes told the Official Arsenal Magazine. "I follow their matches whenever I have time and I always hope the best for them.

"At the time I joined it was really exciting, one of those experiences where you pinch yourself to make sure it's actually happening to you. It was a big step to take at that time but my family and girlfriend supported me a lot.

"I felt happy and flattered about Arsenal's interest, and I left Spain to go and win titles with them, which I achieved - but it was a big leap.

"I have to say that everybody was very, very helpful, and not just the players and the staff at the club. I found the people in England to be very kind."

 

Despite his fond memories at Arsenal - a club he will forever hold close to his heart - it's fair to say that Reyes never fulfilled his full potential. A £10.5million transfer fee, which could have risen to £17million depending on his success, brought with it an inevitable amount of pressure - the weight of expectation often playing on his mind.

Having said that, the forward will be remembered positively as a player who contributed to a record-breaking season for Arsenal.

"I did not realise it so much at the time but after the job was done I started to realise that I, we, were part of football history and that we had written ourselves into the history books," he added.

"I think all of us who were part of it treasure that particular season. The intensity of the emotions was incredible.

"At times like that, you feel proud and self-confident. You feel you are doing a good job. You feel happy, you feel strong. And you feel you took the right step in your career."

Two years later, Reyes moved on to Real Madrid on a season-long loan deal that saw Julio Baptista move in the opposite direction, before being sold permanently to Atletico Madrid in July 2007.

On January 5, Reyes' career moved full circle, with the Spanish star negotiating a return to Sevilla, penning a three-year deal that will keep him at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan stadium until 2015.

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