Usually when Arsene Wenger sits down with the media the focus is on squad fitness updates, transfer speculation, analysis of player performances and the other day-to-day stuff that involves running a football team.
Over the course of 19-years the boss has become a little suspicious of chaps on Fleet Street, rarely opening up on broader subjects in their presence. Quite often his most interesting chats tend to be with journalists on the other side of the Channel; the latest of which appears in L’Equipe’s Sport & Style magazine.
As well as being the subject of a very snazzy fashion shoot – the 66-year-old dazzles in some snappy menswear daaarling – he’s also honed his inner Proust, touching on how and why he approaches his work the way he does.
“The only time for happiness is the present. The past holds regrets. The future uncertainties.
“Man realised this quickly and created religion. It forgives him for what he has done wrong in the past and tells him not to worry about the future as he’ll go to Paradise. There’s great advantages to this. Man is very early on ‘self-pyschoanalysed’ through faith.”
On how he finds meaning in his work, he adds: “In the religious world, it is said that God created man. I am only a guide. I allow others to express what they have in them. I have not created anything. I am a facilitator of what is beautiful in man.
“I define myself as an optimist. My constant battle in this business is to draw out the beauty in man. At this level that can portray me as naive. At the same time, it allows me to believe it and it often gives me reason.”
If you’re a French speaker, you can read more about the boss’ uneasy relationship with ‘time’ here. Or you can muddle through with Google Translate like we did.
Picture courtesy of L’Equipe Sport & Style