Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has admitted that he passed up the opportunity to win more trophies by turning down a move to Real Madrid.
The Frenchman spent 22 years at Arsenal, first taking charge in 1996 and leaving in the summer of 2018, being replaced by Unai Emery.
Why did Wenger turn down Real Madrid? Five things to know…
- Arsene Wenger managed Arsenal between 1996 and 2018.
- In that time, he helped revolutionise English football.
- Wenger’s successes meant that he was repeatedly linked with a move away, including to Real Madrid.
- But Wenger has revealed his love and influence at Arsenal played a big role in him staying.
- Wenger left Arsenal having won three Premier League titles and seven FA Cups.
During that time, Wenger oversaw a revolution of both Arsenal and English football, bringing the game to new heights. His impact yielded three Premier League titles and seven FA Cups, as well as helping to develop a number of young players. And as such, he was often linked with a move away from the Gunners.
Real Madrid are the team most mentioned when speaking of Wenger’s previous links away from Arsenal, with the man himself offering opinions on the rumours in the past. But Wenger always remained with Arsenal until he finally called time on his Gunners tenure in 2018 – having lost some of his magic touch at the Emirates.
And the Frenchman has now revealed exactly why he opted to stay in north London rather than move to Spain.
“I thought from a very young age I want to work the way I like to work,” he told beIN Sports when asked whether he wonders about what life would have been like if he had managed Real Madrid.
“Sometimes today I weigh up a little bit ‘have I done well or not?’.
“But I felt that I was in a club [Arsenal] where I met my needs the way I wanted to work.
“Why change that and maybe be in a bit more glorious situation but less happy situation, where I had less influence on the club [Real Madrid]? So I decided that I keep trying to experience my love story [at Arsenal].”
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Wenger “happy” with Arsenal decision
Following a good first decade with Arsenal, during which his side contested in the Champions League final in 2006, things started to slow down for Wenger.
The Gunners infamously went nine years without a trophy between their FA Cup triumphs in 2005 and 2014 as the club were put in some financial constraints following their move from Highbury to the Emirates.
FA Cup triumphs in 2015 and 2017 followed but those would be the final two major trophies of Wenger’s Arsenal tenure which petered out.
But despite the potential of winning more trophies with Real Madrid, Wenger admits he is happy he remained at Arsenal.
“No regrets. Regret is that maybe I sacrificed a little bit the winning potential against the loyalty potential,” he added.
“Or the desire to build up the club and the influence I had on the club.
“To build up the club when we built the stadium, against the fact that I could have won more by going somewhere else and being less limited financially. At the end of the day, I’m happy to do what I did.”
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