Buenos Aires (AFP) – Arsenal’s Uruguay international midfielder Lucas Torreira, who is on loan at Atletico Madrid, says he wants to leave Europe and play for Boca Juniors.

The 25-year-old said he came to the decision after his mother died of Covid-19 earlier this week.

“The night my mother died, I told my representative that I don’t want to play in Europe any more and I want to come to Boca,” Torreira told ESPN.

“It’s not a violent emotion, it’s not a crazy decision because of my mother. I’ve always said I want to play for Boca. I’m dying to play for Boca and I will always say that.”

Torreira returned to Uruguay last weekend to be with his ill mother, who died in the early hours of Tuesday.

After four years in Italy, Torreira joined Arsenal in July 2018 and played regularly under then-coach Unai Emery until he was sacked in November 2019.

But he lost his place under Emery’s replacement and fellow Spaniard Mikel Arteta and was sent out on loan at the start of this season.

“We have to stop the myth, it’s not all about Europe. I want to be close to my home, to my family,” he said.

He said he hasn’t been happy for the past two years and now has to come to terms with this tragedy.

“I’m trying to digest the situation, it’s difficult to understand the moment but as time goes by we learn to live with the pain.

“My mother was 53 and died of Covid. There was an outbreak in Fray Bentos (where he’s from) and she was fighting and struggling for 11 days but on Monday (late at night) I got the worst phone call.

“My father came in crying and told me the time had come to play for Boca.

“Going through this situation and seeing my dad destroyed by the loss of my mum breaks my heart.”