The footballing world received a massive bit to chew upon earlier during the day, when Arsenal’s long-standing manager Arsene Wenger announced that he won’t remain as the club’s manager beyond this season.
Although it was a development that was long expected and even longer demanded by some of the club’s fans, it still marked the end of an era – one that manned the trend of one manager helming a club for extended periods of time.
With the culmination of Wenger’s reign, one will have truly seen a definitive change in this, and the man’s long years of service at the club granted him a series of tributes. Needless to say, the reactions were tremendous, but those from one man, in particular, catch one’s eyes.
Jose Mourinho has this to say about the decision of the gaffer who has long been his rival as well (via Sky Sports):
WATCH: Players Reaction To Wenger’s Departure From Arsenal
“For me that is the point. If he is happy with the decision he made and looks forward to the next chapter of his career and his life, I am really happy for him. If he is sad, I am sad.
“I am pretty sure that we as a club – especially because Mr Wenger and Arsenal were for many, many years the biggest rivals of the Sir Alex era – will show Mr Wenger the respect that he deserves.”
On his often outspoken spars with the Frenchman and whether he held any regrets, Mourinho commented: “It is not about regretting. Your question is a typical question from somebody who is not on this side. You are not a manager, you are not a player of course.”
He adds: “You do not know the way we respect each other even when sometimes it looks like in some moments we don’t. It is power against power. It is quality against quality. It is ambition against ambition.”
His concluding remarks were what truly sparked a vibe and properly summarized the relation that the two giants shared: “But in the end, it is people from the same business and people that respect each other and respect each other’s careers.
“I know what it means [to win] three Premier League titles, seven FA Cups and not just that. What he did in Japan and France, what he gave to Arsenal, even in a period without Premier Leagues, all the transition of the club from stadium to stadium – we know what he did.”
The Portuguese also remarked that he hoped Wenger wouldn’t retire from managerial duties after this season: “So again if he is happy with the decision, I am really happy and I hope he does not retire from football.”