Chris Willock bids emotional farewell to Arsenal following Benfica move

Chris Willock confesses that leaving Arsenal for Portuguese giants Benfica after 14 years in North London was a tough decision to make.

Chris Willock has admitted that leaving Arsenal was a "huge decision" to make but is now looking forward to linking up with his new Benfica teammates.

The 19-year-old penned a five-year deal with the Portuguese giants on Saturday after turning down the Gunners' offer of a new contract.

Willock has spent his entire career to date in North London, joining the club's academy at the age of five in 2003 and moving on 14 years later, but he feels that the time is right to 'experience a new culture'.

Posting on his official Instagram account, he said: "Since the age of 5, all I've known is Arsenal. I've gone through the youth ranks, trained and learnt from the academy.

"I want to say a massive thank you to everyone at Arsenal football club, staff, players, coaches, managers and the fans who have helped and influenced me to become the player I am today.

"This was a huge decision for me and my family to make. And not one we made lightly. I'm excited at the opportunity to play for Benfica. It's a new challenge, new culture and new group of players! Looking forward to showing them what I've got!"

Celtic, Borussia Dortmund and Manchester City had all reportedly shown an interest in England Under-19s international Willock prior to Benfica swooping.

A general view of Estadio da Luz, home of Benfica on May 2, 2013
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