Legendary Arsenal Manager Arsene Wenger featured in a “You Ask the Questions” interview by The Guardian. They received more than 800 questions from artists, politicians, the readers, and a certain Jose Mourinho, which is a record number for any such event. If there is ever a doubt on Wenger’s popularity, he got messages from Slovenia, Peru, and India as well.
Jose Mourinho has been one of the greatest adversaries of Wenger over the years. But the fiery exchanges have given way to a somewhat mutual admiration between the two in recent years. That’s perhaps the reason why Mourinho was able to ask such a touching question.
Mourinho said: “I had the opportunity to get to know you at UEFA and FIFA meetings and dinners. With your culture and vision, I believe you have the qualities to be a top exec, such as a CEO or director of football, at a club. Would you have ever considered such a role at Arsenal or was your desire always to remain on the pitch?”
“No, I would have considered being on the board at Arsenal as an adviser. I believe that honestly there is a deficit of knowledge in the big clubs of top, top-level competition and games of top-level sport. And I believe we have seen recently that there are many ways to be successful in football. For example, there’s the Bayern [Munich] way, where the whole success and continuity relies on people who know the values of the club, and they transfer that from generation to generation: Beckenbauer, Hoeness, Rummenigge. Or there are models in England of quick money and quick success. Both can work. I like the fact that a club is first an identity and has knowledge that is transferred from generation to generation. So that’s why I saw things that way.”Wenger’s response to Jose Mourinho, The Guardian
“To continue to have a grip on the team, as he has at the moment. And to go to the end of his beliefs. I think there is a good team spirit and they have a good chance to do well. I believe it will not be very difficult to improve on the number of points they got last season. But I’m convinced Arsenal can be in the top four, if not more. Why not more? They can be the surprise package for me this year: they bought well, they strengthened the defence well. And they kept the players who were already there. In my last year I bought [Pierre-Emerick] Aubameyang, they kept him. They have every ingredient and no real weakness.”Wenger’s advice to Arteta, The Guardian
It is always inspiring to read the thoughts of Arsene. The man fondly called Le Professeur still breathes football. FIFA needs to keep him engaged in his current role for the betterment of football all over the world.
Photo: Ronnie MacDonald, Flickr