According to The Telegraph, Arsene Wenger says he regrets neglecting those closest to him while pursuing his decorated career in football management – and warned former players Patrick Vieira and Thierry Henry of the sacrifices involved.
Wenger’s former protege Henry announced his departure from Sky Sports on Monday, leaving behind television punditry to fulfil his managerial ambitions.
Arsenal’s record goalscorer was Belgium’s assistant manager at the World Cup, working under Roberto Martinez, while Vieira was recently appointed Nice head coach.
In a broad and revealing radio interview on French station RTL’s programme ‘What If’, Wenger discussed everything from his football philosophy to the laws he would pass as President.
The former Arsenal manager said: “I regret having sacrificed everything I did because I realise I’ve hurt a lot of people around me.
“I’ve neglected a lot of people. I’ve neglected my family, I’ve neglected many close ones. Deep down though, the obsessed man is selfish in his pursuit of what he loves. He ignores a lot of other things. But it’s a bone to chase at the same time.
“Often, I’m asked if Thierry Henry and Patrick Vieira will be good managers and I always answer yes.
“They have all the qualities; they’re intelligent, they know football, they have excellent skillset, but do they want to sacrifice what needs to be sacrificed? It’s an obsession which bounces around your head day and night.”
Wenger also said through laughter that perhaps the biggest regret of his career was staying at one club for 22 years.
Arsenal parted ways with the most successful manager in their history at the end of last season and are currently preparing for the upcoming season under new coach Unai Emery.
Wenger worked for French television as a pundit during the World Cup, and must now weigh up his options as his career enters a new chapter.
There are long-term links with Paris-Saint Germain, who appointed Thomas Tuchel as head coach this summer, as well as a possible return to Japan where Wenger managed before his move to Arsenal in 1996.