English Premiership

Sagna rejects 'greedy' tag

2014-06-26 13:26
Bakary Sagna (AFP)

Rio de Janeiro - France right-back Bakary Sagna dismissed suggestions that his recent move from Arsenal to Manchester City was motivated by greed, insisting it was only to do with personal ambition.

Sagna, 31, left Arsenal on a free transfer at the end of last season after seven years at the club and promptly signed for the Premier League champions on a three-year contract.

The former Auxerre player faces a stiff task to dislodge City's Argentine international Pablo Zabaleta from the right-back berth, but he is adamant that he is not just moving to the Etihad Stadium for a bigger paycheck.

"I'm going to clear everything out, because I keep reading (claims) I left for money, I'm greedy, whatever," he told reporters after France's 0-0 draw against Ecuador in the World Cup on Wednesday.

"All I want to say is I stayed in Arsenal with the same contract since 2008. I never asked for (more) money, so people who think that it's for money, it's not.

"I just wanted to change and boost my career, and I think it was about time."

Speculation about Sagna's future began to intensify in the weeks leading up to their victory over Hull City in the FA Cup final and he admitted that it had been a challenging time.

"It was not easy, because we were still involved in the FA Cup. I had to stay focused on my team," he said.

"It's not easy to read things in the paper that are wrong most of the time. I stopped reading the papers. I told my family to keep me away from the speculation, and I stayed focused."

Sagna posted a message of thanks to Arsenal's fans on the Instagram photo-sharing website after leaving the club and he said that he would always be grateful for the time he spent in North London.

"Arsenal made me grow up as a player and as a man," he said.

"I believe Arsenal have a great team. Arsenal have a lot of quality. I just personally wanted a boost, like I said -- start from the bottom and try to find my space."

France's draw with Ecuador at Rio de Janeiro's Maracana ensured they toped Group E and set up a last-16 clash with Nigeria in Brasilia on Monday.

After disciplinary problems marred France's experiences at recent major tournaments, Sagna says that the mood in the squad under coach Didier Deschamps is now more harmonious.

"I think it was a good slap," Sagna said of the off-pitch issues that overshadowed the team's performances at the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012.

"Back in the day we were maybe a bit too arrogant, too confident. Sometimes it's good to start from the bottom.

"We've managed to work hard as a team for a few years and today we're here. We've managed to make a good start to the World Cup and we want to go far."

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