Belfast Telegraph

Sagna takes aim at Gallas

Bacary Sagna has declared war on former Arsenal team-mate William Gallas ahead of Saturday's north London derby.

But the Gunners full-back insisted the pair would resume their strong friendship as soon as the final whistle is blown at the Emirates Stadium.

"On the pitch there is a war, but off the pitch we are all friends," he told his club's official website, www.arsenal.com.

This weekend sees Gallas return to his former club for the first time since crossing the north London divide in one of the most controversial transfers of recent years.

The 33-year-old Tottenham defender can expect a hostile reception from the home fans, many of whom will have branded him a traitor.

However, Gallas' fellow Frenchman bears no grudge towards his former captain for joining Arsenal's arch-rivals.

"I'm not angry at him because he signed for our rivals," said Sagna. "He was always very professional (here) and he always gave everything.

"Football is football; I'm not furious against him. He needed to leave to play football and that is what he loves."

Gallas' temperament was questioned during his time as Arsenal captain and he was infamously stripped of the armband after attacking his team-mates.

"That was his hunger because he wanted to win so much," Sagna said. "Maybe he expressed it in a bad way but it was not bad at all because he wanted us to win."

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