Hatem Ben Arfa said he was emotional after sealing a loan move from Newcastle United to Premier League rivals Hull City.
The French winger, 27, was out of favour under manager Alan Pardew, who came to the club months after predecessor Chris Hughton brought Ben Arfa to Newcastle in August 2010.
Ben Arfa hit out at Pardew, claiming he was thrilled to have a manager – Hull boss Steve Bruce – who wanted him at the club.
“The manager wants me here and that is very important,” Ben Arfa said.
“The welcome was amazing. I was almost crying.
“I was shocked to see so many people there at midnight waiting for me. It was great and I thank them.”
Ben Arfa said deadline day saw him go from disgruntled Newcastle midfielder to delighted Hull winger in the space of hours, with the deal reportedly stalling as the transfer window loomed to close.
“Monday was a long day but I am,” he said.
“When I woke up on Monday morning, there was nothing on the cards. Then, in the afternoon the call came and everything happened very quickly after that. At 1am everything was complete and I was very happy.
“I’m very much looking forward to the start of a new challenge. I’m looking forward to being back on the pitch after two months of only training.
“The manager has made a lot of very good signings. There were many good players already here and then more have arrived this week. There is a very good squad here and I think the team can do something great for this city.”