Having "learned a lot both tactically and as a person" during five years with AC Milan, Arsenal FC midfielder Mathieu Flamini is relishing taking on holders FC Bayern München.
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Mathieu Flamini is walking, talking proof that the old adage about never going back need not always apply.
Flamini returned to Arsenal FC last summer, having left north London for AC Milan in 2008. His move back to the English capital prompted some raised eyebrows, yet he has become an integral cog in Arsène Wenger's upwardly mobile side. Often deployed at left-back during his first stint with the Gunners, this time the French international has made the role of midfield marshal very much his own.
"Having spent five years in Milan I have learned a lot," the 29-year-old told UEFA.com. "First of all tactically, because it's true that you learn a lot about that aspect in Italy. I have also learned a lot as a person. I am 29 now and after five years in Milan, and having met a lot of new players and new people, it's true I have learned a lot. Today I feel a lot more mature and I have a lot more experience than when I was 24."
Arsenal will need such maturity to come to the fore when they take on holders FC Bayern München in the UEFA Champions League round of 16, with the first leg at home on Wednesday. "At this level there are only big teams left," said former Olympique de Marseille prospect Flamini. "I remember when I was playing for Arsenal before and we reached the Champions League final against Barcelona [in 2006], we also faced big teams like Madrid and Juventus. If you want to win it, you must face all the big teams."
Hear more from Flamini in the video at the top of the page.