Arsene Wenger has warned aspiring managers that a career in football management is a commitment comparable to a life in the priesthood.
The 67-year-old has insisted he has no plans of retiring any time soon, but said he can understand younger colleagues like Barcelona’s Luis Enrique who say they need a break from management. Enrique announced on Wednesday he would leave the post after this season, partly because the job had become all consuming.
Wenger celebrated his 20th anniversary at Arsenal in October and hasn’t taken a long break at any stage during his coaching career.
“I am a specialist in masochism,” Wenger replied when asked how he has lasted so long.
“Look, I think everybody experiences that in a different way. What I can say, yes, it’s very demanding. It’s a sacrifice of your life. You have nothing else happening in your life,” he added. “Basically you get 90 percent aggravation and 10 percent top satisfaction and you have to give everything in your life for that.
You have to be ready for it. That’s what I always say to all the young people who want to go into this job. ‘Are you ready to sacrifice your life?’ It’s like a priest. You’re a football priest.”
Wenger’s contract expires this season and despite growing pressure from fans for him to step down, he repeated that his “preference has always been” to stay with the Gunners.
The Frenchman said the perpetual and unrelenting pressure of managing a top club also helps bring the best out of a person.
“I believe as well it allowed me to get to the next level as a human being, to develop my strengths in what makes a human being great as well,” he said. “To get the best out of people, that is absolutely fantastic. And of course you have disappointments, with people, with results.
“But it is as well a fantastic opportunity in life to go for what is really great in human beings, to get yourself to the next level always, to improve, to invent yourself, to push your limits further up and not to have an average life.
“And on that front it is very interesting, it is very demanding, but as well very interesting if you really face the challenge. By accepting as well, facing the reality, in an objective way, what you have to do to get better.”