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Guardiola hopes Arsene Wenger would not be lost to football

Long reign of Arsene Wenger at Arsenal is unlikely ever to be repeated, said Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola on Friday.

Arsene Wenger
(FILES) In this file photo taken on August 09, 2015 Arsenal’s French manager Arsene Wenger gestures during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and West Ham United at the Emirates Stadium in London on August 9, 2015.
Arsene Wenger will bring his 22-year stay in charge of Arsenal to a close at the end of the season, the Frenchman announced on April 20, 2018. / AFP PHOTO

Arsene Wenger announced earlier on Friday he would bring the curtain down on his 22 year tenure at the end of the season — a spell that saw the London club achieve the domestic double twice (1998/2002) and the 2003-4 “Invincibles” the first English team in the modern era to go through a First Division/Premier League season unbeaten.

Guardiola, who has just led his club to this season’s Premier League title, said that with managers being granted less time to achieve results he doubts anyone would rival the length of time either Arsene Wenger or former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson’s longevity.

“It’s difficult — Sir Alex Ferguson did it at United and what Arsene Wenger did now is so, so complicated,” said Guardiola at his Friday press conference.

“Social media and the people with their opinions are so fresh.

“These managers feel a lot of pressure and, with the money involved, the sporting directors do not have the same patience.”

Guardiola, who also faced Wenger’s Arsenal while coaching Barcelona from 2008-12 and then Bayern Munich (2013-16), said the 68-year-old Frenchman had his utmost respect even if Arsenal only beat Guardiola teams three times in 14 meetings.

“All my respect for what he has done. The Premier League is about huge personalities like Arsene Wenger,” said Guardiola.

“It is because of what he has done — his vision, his respect for football.”

Guardiola said he hoped Arsene Wenger would not be lost to football.

“I wish him all the best in the future,” said the 47-year-old.

“I hope he can be involved in world football in a different way with his experience — Arsenal, UEFA, FIFA… I don’t know.

“It was a pleasure to compete against him here and at Barcelona and Bayern Munich.”


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