Arsène Wenger: “I promised myself I wouldn’t make a decision before September.”

Speaking in an exclusive interview with Corse Matin, former Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger discussed the holidays he was taking at Saint-Florent in Corsica.

On his future:

I decided not to decide. I was intoxicated for such a long time that I promised myself not to make any decisions before September.

Would you like to make a radical change of direction, for example, become an archeologist as you like history, or go for a career in politics?

For archeology, I do not know enough about soil compositions. Nor politics. What I like about the job of a manager, is that we have theories, but on Saturdays we have to show that they work and the result is immediate. In politics, between theory and proof by demonstration, things take a lot longer.

Do you feel like you sacrificed your life?

Yes of course. Being passionate is selfish work. When you are passionate, you steal your time from those whom you love and to whom you could have given much more.

On Thierry Henry – Bordeaux links:

Yes, he wants to do it, he is intelligent and he has the qualities. The existential question that we always ask ourselves is whether we are ready to sacrifice our life for the coaching profession.

On the World Cup:

I did the entire World Cup as a pundit for BeIN, and five trips back and forth from Paris to Moscow. Before the competition, we feared the worst, we were a bit in the situation of the guy who walks into the cinema, and hears that he is going to watch a bad movie.

Then, everyone was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the organisation and reception, the level of education and culture of Muscovites.

And for the competition, unfortunately, the World Cup was like a European Championship with a guest, Brazil. Africa did not have a team that can win, nor did Asia. The rest of South America no longer seems to have what it takes to meet their ambitions.

France was the only team that went in a crescendo. We say teams start well, and then tail off, but France showed that they were continuously progressing. I think we won because of an incredible spirit, but also a considerable superiority based on our physical presence.

I said at the beginning that France were favourites, because they had the best balance between technical quality and physical power.

On his holiday period:

Even better than I thought. When you have been as busy as I have been, you always fear a little emptiness. But I quickly organised myself in this new stage of my life, I do a lot of sport, here I eat with my friends. I talk a lot too, I can sit for hours contemplating the horizon, I read everyday, right now a book by Philip Roth called I married a communist.

On what he is most proud of:

Pride has never been my strong point. Proud, in any case, to have always worked with values that were important to me, respect for people, professionalism, integrity, a sense of responsibility. I’m not stupid enough either to think that I did not make mistakes and there, we enter the field of some regrets I might have.

On the other hand, I have no remorse because I have stayed true to the values that are important in sport, especially in high performance sport.

On the Invincibles season:

It reflects above all consistency in effort and concentration, the fact also that I committed myself fully and thoroughly to this club. Ideally, for me, a manager should have an influence on player improvement, style of play and results, the club’s structure and size.

In general, this influence can only be effective depending on how long you are there and how much power you have in the club.

A bronze statue was erected of your face at the Emirates Stadium, that’s not insignificant…

I would prefer be alive than be a statue, but the idea was nice.

Would you have liked to be knighted?

That is not allowed. I received the Order of the British Empire, which is the highest order that can be given to a foreigner.

Have you met the Queen?

Yes, several times, she’s speaks very good French. The most memorable time for me was in Windsor, where the French government, when Jacques Chirac was president, was invited to dinner to renew the Franco-British friendship.

I felt like I was making a historical trip and it was really quite moving.


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