Champions League: Bayern Munich vs FC Barcelona

El Bayern Múnich goleó al Barcelona (4-0) en el

encuentro de ida de las semifinales de la Liga de Campeones, disputado

en el Alianz Arena de Múnich.
Thomas Muller marcó el primer tanto para el equipo de Jupp Heynckes

en el minuto 24, marcador con el que acabó la primera parte. Tras el

descanso, Mario Gomez firmó el segundo en el 49 y el holandés Arjen

Robben, en el 72 anotó el tercero. Muller, en el 81, hizo el cuarto, el

segundo de su cuenta.
El partido de vuelta se disputará en el Camp Nou el próximo miércoles 1 de mayo. EFE

David Dein, the man who appointed Arsene Wenger as Arsenal manager in 1996, has revealed that he has ­already been sounded out about the Frenchman’s availability. The former Arsenal vice-chairman is a close friend of Wenger’s and told Sky Sports that the 68-year-old had been approached by Real Madrid and Paris St-Germain over recent years and was still in huge demand. Wenger has previously also been the subject of interest from Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United and the English national team. “He will have no shortage of offers,” said Dein. “I personally had calls from various people yesterday, saying, ‘Can I speak to him?’ The question is, ‘Will he want to do it any more?’ “He’s going to be 69 in October, but he keeps himself extraordinarily fit. He is the same weight as when I met him – 75 kilos. He’s got a very active mind and such a knowledge of the game.” Dein predicted that the impact of leaving Arsenal would be like a ­bereavement for the Frenchman, but that they had also seriously discussed whether he should continue after last season. “It’s going to be tough initially,” said Dein. “It’s a way of life. He’s the first one at the club, the last one to leave. It is rather like a bereavement and the various stages, the first one is denial and finally you get to acceptance and you move on. End of an era | Wenger to leave Arsenal at end of season “He has to have a good holiday and decide after that what he wants to do next. It’s been coming. At the end of last season I was discussing with him, ‘Arsene, what do you want to do?’ He was a bit undecided. In the end, I said, ‘Arsene, do you know what your problem is? You love the club too much’. “He’s so attached to it. So loyal, so dedicated. What he has done for the club is immeasurable. He will go down in history as the greatest ­Arsenal manager ever.”
'Arsene Wenger will have no shortage of offers,' says David Dein, the Arsenal executive who appointed the Frenchman in 1996
David Dein, the man who appointed Arsene Wenger as Arsenal manager in 1996, has revealed that he has ­already been sounded out about the Frenchman’s availability. The former Arsenal vice-chairman is a close friend of Wenger’s and told Sky Sports that the 68-year-old had been approached by Real Madrid and Paris St-Germain over recent years and was still in huge demand. Wenger has previously also been the subject of interest from Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United and the English national team. “He will have no shortage of offers,” said Dein. “I personally had calls from various people yesterday, saying, ‘Can I speak to him?’ The question is, ‘Will he want to do it any more?’ “He’s going to be 69 in October, but he keeps himself extraordinarily fit. He is the same weight as when I met him – 75 kilos. He’s got a very active mind and such a knowledge of the game.” Dein predicted that the impact of leaving Arsenal would be like a ­bereavement for the Frenchman, but that they had also seriously discussed whether he should continue after last season. “It’s going to be tough initially,” said Dein. “It’s a way of life. He’s the first one at the club, the last one to leave. It is rather like a bereavement and the various stages, the first one is denial and finally you get to acceptance and you move on. End of an era | Wenger to leave Arsenal at end of season “He has to have a good holiday and decide after that what he wants to do next. It’s been coming. At the end of last season I was discussing with him, ‘Arsene, what do you want to do?’ He was a bit undecided. In the end, I said, ‘Arsene, do you know what your problem is? You love the club too much’. “He’s so attached to it. So loyal, so dedicated. What he has done for the club is immeasurable. He will go down in history as the greatest ­Arsenal manager ever.”
There are those who will argue there is almost no point being successful if you are not able to enjoy your success, but that is why Pep Guardiola is different and it is why you should probably back Manchester City to win the title next year too. Of course, there is satisfaction at what he has achieved in his second season with City and pride in the way he has done it, but that period of reflection is already over. Even as his team ran on to the pitch to a guard of honour from Sunday’s opponents Swansea and a standing ovation from their supporters to celebrate their coronation as champions, Guardiola’s attention had already shifted to the challenges that lie ahead, not the ones already met. For this is what separates the elite, the great from the good. Guardiola does not just win titles, he collects them like an art dealer hoarding masterpieces. That is what he did at Barcelona and Bayern Munich and it is what he intends to do in Manchester as well. Even as he celebrated City’s title triumph, Guardiola’s mind began to wonder to what comes next. As things stand, the Spaniard has merely matched the achievements of those who have come before him. That is not an insult, it does not undermine him in anyway, it is just a statement of fact that he, more than anyone, understands. Guardiola has turned the richest club in world football into title winners and even if he did so playing a style of football that fuelled talk of City being one of the best sides to have played in the Premier League era, he has not achieved anything that Manuel Pellegrini did not during his time in England. Kevin De Bruyne scored a spectacular goal on Sunday Credit: REUTERS It is what Guardiola does now that will truly define his time in England. It was what needs to happen next season that occupies his mind. The Champions League will always be City’s Holy Grail, but Guardiola claims he is more interested in domestic prizes than European ones. It is the Premier League that fascinates him. That chastising first season in England, which he ended trophy-less for the first time in his managerial career, left a scar that even now, after winning the league, bothers him immensely. As Guardiola was quick to stress last week, City have never won the Premier League two seasons running. No English club has since Manchester United in 2009. That is what Guardiola must do now, but you sense, not even that will satisfy him. It was merely a sentence muttered rather than roared, lost in the wider context of acclaim last week, but the Spaniard has already hinted where his ambition lies, pointing out that only Sir Alex Ferguson, at United, has won the Premier League three times in a row. To be the best of this gilded managerial generation, Guardiola wants to do the same. He even mentioned winning four, before quickly adding, as though he realised the burden of expectation he was creating was even too much for him to bare, how difficult that will be in a league with so many title contenders vying for position. The genius of Pep Guardiola: Eight things he has done to make Man City so frighteningly good What Guardiola wants to know, is who comes with him on the next leg of the journey? Which of these City players share his unquenchable thirst for silverware and who is already content with what they have achieved? Who will fall away? Who will continue to grow and search for improvement? That is why he played his strongest team against Swansea, because the process is already underway. There will be no rest for City’s international stars ahead of the World Cup, not yet. There are players who still have boxes to tick. Can Raheem Sterling maintain this sort of goalscoring and creative form? Can Kevin De Bruyne continue to dominate games from midfield? Can David Silva, at the age of 32, still pick holes in resolute defences? City’s first goal suggests yes, De Bruyne picking out Sterling’s run in behind Swansea’s backline with a perfectly weighted and timed through ball. Sterling had his head up before Swansea knew what was happening, picked out Silva, whose sublime first touch created the space for him to score the first goal of the game after just 12 minutes. Manchester City player ratings for Premier League title winning season Three minutes later, Sterling made it 2-0 with his 23rd goal of the season with a simple tap in after a brilliant cross from Bernardo Silva. Nobody was slacking off, nobody played with a celebration hangover. City were so good, it was almost cruel on Swansea, who looked beaten with more than three quarters of the game still to play. City’s hummed and buzzed like a honey bee sent out to collect pollen for the first time after winter hibernation. That is precisely what Guardiola wanted to see, De Bruyne scoring a stunning third early in the second half before Bernardo Silva made it four. If his players can play like this when the prize has already been won, there is no reason to doubt they will not return next season in the same mood. It already looks ominous for the rest of English football. Manchester City win the Premier League Key moment in the match If there were any doubts about City’s desire to maintain standards at the end of a campaign in which they have already been crowned champions, they were dispelled when they sliced through the Swansea defence twice in the space of three minutes to charge into a 2-0 goal lead. City could dominate English football for years on this evidence. Man-of-the-match Kevin De Bruyne may lose out on the player of the year award to Liverpool’s Mo Salah but he has been the best player in English football’s best team this season and his performance here was a reminder of just how brilliant he is.
Can Manchester City win the title again next year? Based on latest performance it already looks ominous for the league
There are those who will argue there is almost no point being successful if you are not able to enjoy your success, but that is why Pep Guardiola is different and it is why you should probably back Manchester City to win the title next year too. Of course, there is satisfaction at what he has achieved in his second season with City and pride in the way he has done it, but that period of reflection is already over. Even as his team ran on to the pitch to a guard of honour from Sunday’s opponents Swansea and a standing ovation from their supporters to celebrate their coronation as champions, Guardiola’s attention had already shifted to the challenges that lie ahead, not the ones already met. For this is what separates the elite, the great from the good. Guardiola does not just win titles, he collects them like an art dealer hoarding masterpieces. That is what he did at Barcelona and Bayern Munich and it is what he intends to do in Manchester as well. Even as he celebrated City’s title triumph, Guardiola’s mind began to wonder to what comes next. As things stand, the Spaniard has merely matched the achievements of those who have come before him. That is not an insult, it does not undermine him in anyway, it is just a statement of fact that he, more than anyone, understands. Guardiola has turned the richest club in world football into title winners and even if he did so playing a style of football that fuelled talk of City being one of the best sides to have played in the Premier League era, he has not achieved anything that Manuel Pellegrini did not during his time in England. Kevin De Bruyne scored a spectacular goal on Sunday Credit: REUTERS It is what Guardiola does now that will truly define his time in England. It was what needs to happen next season that occupies his mind. The Champions League will always be City’s Holy Grail, but Guardiola claims he is more interested in domestic prizes than European ones. It is the Premier League that fascinates him. That chastising first season in England, which he ended trophy-less for the first time in his managerial career, left a scar that even now, after winning the league, bothers him immensely. As Guardiola was quick to stress last week, City have never won the Premier League two seasons running. No English club has since Manchester United in 2009. That is what Guardiola must do now, but you sense, not even that will satisfy him. It was merely a sentence muttered rather than roared, lost in the wider context of acclaim last week, but the Spaniard has already hinted where his ambition lies, pointing out that only Sir Alex Ferguson, at United, has won the Premier League three times in a row. To be the best of this gilded managerial generation, Guardiola wants to do the same. He even mentioned winning four, before quickly adding, as though he realised the burden of expectation he was creating was even too much for him to bare, how difficult that will be in a league with so many title contenders vying for position. The genius of Pep Guardiola: Eight things he has done to make Man City so frighteningly good What Guardiola wants to know, is who comes with him on the next leg of the journey? Which of these City players share his unquenchable thirst for silverware and who is already content with what they have achieved? Who will fall away? Who will continue to grow and search for improvement? That is why he played his strongest team against Swansea, because the process is already underway. There will be no rest for City’s international stars ahead of the World Cup, not yet. There are players who still have boxes to tick. Can Raheem Sterling maintain this sort of goalscoring and creative form? Can Kevin De Bruyne continue to dominate games from midfield? Can David Silva, at the age of 32, still pick holes in resolute defences? City’s first goal suggests yes, De Bruyne picking out Sterling’s run in behind Swansea’s backline with a perfectly weighted and timed through ball. Sterling had his head up before Swansea knew what was happening, picked out Silva, whose sublime first touch created the space for him to score the first goal of the game after just 12 minutes. Manchester City player ratings for Premier League title winning season Three minutes later, Sterling made it 2-0 with his 23rd goal of the season with a simple tap in after a brilliant cross from Bernardo Silva. Nobody was slacking off, nobody played with a celebration hangover. City were so good, it was almost cruel on Swansea, who looked beaten with more than three quarters of the game still to play. City’s hummed and buzzed like a honey bee sent out to collect pollen for the first time after winter hibernation. That is precisely what Guardiola wanted to see, De Bruyne scoring a stunning third early in the second half before Bernardo Silva made it four. If his players can play like this when the prize has already been won, there is no reason to doubt they will not return next season in the same mood. It already looks ominous for the rest of English football. Manchester City win the Premier League Key moment in the match If there were any doubts about City’s desire to maintain standards at the end of a campaign in which they have already been crowned champions, they were dispelled when they sliced through the Swansea defence twice in the space of three minutes to charge into a 2-0 goal lead. City could dominate English football for years on this evidence. Man-of-the-match Kevin De Bruyne may lose out on the player of the year award to Liverpool’s Mo Salah but he has been the best player in English football’s best team this season and his performance here was a reminder of just how brilliant he is.
There are those who will argue there is almost no point being successful if you are not able to enjoy your success, but that is why Pep Guardiola is different and it is why you should probably back Manchester City to win the title next year too. Of course, there is satisfaction at what he has achieved in his second season with City and pride in the way he has done it, but that period of reflection is already over. Even as his team ran on to the pitch to a guard of honour from Sunday’s opponents Swansea and a standing ovation from their supporters to celebrate their coronation as champions, Guardiola’s attention had already shifted to the challenges that lie ahead, not the ones already met. For this is what separates the elite, the great from the good. Guardiola does not just win titles, he collects them like an art dealer hoarding masterpieces. That is what he did at Barcelona and Bayern Munich and it is what he intends to do in Manchester as well. Even as he celebrated City’s title triumph, Guardiola’s mind began to wonder to what comes next. As things stand, the Spaniard has merely matched the achievements of those who have come before him. That is not an insult, it does not undermine him in anyway, it is just a statement of fact that he, more than anyone, understands. Guardiola has turned the richest club in world football into title winners and even if he did so playing a style of football that fuelled talk of City being one of the best sides to have played in the Premier League era, he has not achieved anything that Manuel Pellegrini did not during his time in England. Kevin De Bruyne scored a spectacular goal on Sunday Credit: REUTERS It is what Guardiola does now that will truly define his time in England. It was what needs to happen next season that occupies his mind. The Champions League will always be City’s Holy Grail, but Guardiola claims he is more interested in domestic prizes than European ones. It is the Premier League that fascinates him. That chastising first season in England, which he ended trophy-less for the first time in his managerial career, left a scar that even now, after winning the league, bothers him immensely. As Guardiola was quick to stress last week, City have never won the Premier League two seasons running. No English club has since Manchester United in 2009. That is what Guardiola must do now, but you sense, not even that will satisfy him. It was merely a sentence muttered rather than roared, lost in the wider context of acclaim last week, but the Spaniard has already hinted where his ambition lies, pointing out that only Sir Alex Ferguson, at United, has won the Premier League three times in a row. To be the best of this gilded managerial generation, Guardiola wants to do the same. He even mentioned winning four, before quickly adding, as though he realised the burden of expectation he was creating was even too much for him to bare, how difficult that will be in a league with so many title contenders vying for position. The genius of Pep Guardiola: Eight things he has done to make Man City so frighteningly good What Guardiola wants to know, is who comes with him on the next leg of the journey? Which of these City players share his unquenchable thirst for silverware and who is already content with what they have achieved? Who will fall away? Who will continue to grow and search for improvement? That is why he played his strongest team against Swansea, because the process is already underway. There will be no rest for City’s international stars ahead of the World Cup, not yet. There are players who still have boxes to tick. Can Raheem Sterling maintain this sort of goalscoring and creative form? Can Kevin De Bruyne continue to dominate games from midfield? Can David Silva, at the age of 32, still pick holes in resolute defences? City’s first goal suggests yes, De Bruyne picking out Sterling’s run in behind Swansea’s backline with a perfectly weighted and timed through ball. Sterling had his head up before Swansea knew what was happening, picked out Silva, whose sublime first touch created the space for him to score the first goal of the game after just 12 minutes. Manchester City player ratings for Premier League title winning season Three minutes later, Sterling made it 2-0 with his 23rd goal of the season with a simple tap in after a brilliant cross from Bernardo Silva. Nobody was slacking off, nobody played with a celebration hangover. City were so good, it was almost cruel on Swansea, who looked beaten with more than three quarters of the game still to play. City’s hummed and buzzed like a honey bee sent out to collect pollen for the first time after winter hibernation. That is precisely what Guardiola wanted to see, De Bruyne scoring a stunning third early in the second half before Bernardo Silva made it four. If his players can play like this when the prize has already been won, there is no reason to doubt they will not return next season in the same mood. It already looks ominous for the rest of English football. Manchester City win the Premier League Key moment in the match If there were any doubts about City’s desire to maintain standards at the end of a campaign in which they have already been crowned champions, they were dispelled when they sliced through the Swansea defence twice in the space of three minutes to charge into a 2-0 goal lead. City could dominate English football for years on this evidence. Man-of-the-match Kevin De Bruyne may lose out on the player of the year award to Liverpool’s Mo Salah but he has been the best player in English football’s best team this season and his performance here was a reminder of just how brilliant he is.
Can Manchester City win the title again next year? Based on latest performance it already looks ominous for the league
There are those who will argue there is almost no point being successful if you are not able to enjoy your success, but that is why Pep Guardiola is different and it is why you should probably back Manchester City to win the title next year too. Of course, there is satisfaction at what he has achieved in his second season with City and pride in the way he has done it, but that period of reflection is already over. Even as his team ran on to the pitch to a guard of honour from Sunday’s opponents Swansea and a standing ovation from their supporters to celebrate their coronation as champions, Guardiola’s attention had already shifted to the challenges that lie ahead, not the ones already met. For this is what separates the elite, the great from the good. Guardiola does not just win titles, he collects them like an art dealer hoarding masterpieces. That is what he did at Barcelona and Bayern Munich and it is what he intends to do in Manchester as well. Even as he celebrated City’s title triumph, Guardiola’s mind began to wonder to what comes next. As things stand, the Spaniard has merely matched the achievements of those who have come before him. That is not an insult, it does not undermine him in anyway, it is just a statement of fact that he, more than anyone, understands. Guardiola has turned the richest club in world football into title winners and even if he did so playing a style of football that fuelled talk of City being one of the best sides to have played in the Premier League era, he has not achieved anything that Manuel Pellegrini did not during his time in England. Kevin De Bruyne scored a spectacular goal on Sunday Credit: REUTERS It is what Guardiola does now that will truly define his time in England. It was what needs to happen next season that occupies his mind. The Champions League will always be City’s Holy Grail, but Guardiola claims he is more interested in domestic prizes than European ones. It is the Premier League that fascinates him. That chastising first season in England, which he ended trophy-less for the first time in his managerial career, left a scar that even now, after winning the league, bothers him immensely. As Guardiola was quick to stress last week, City have never won the Premier League two seasons running. No English club has since Manchester United in 2009. That is what Guardiola must do now, but you sense, not even that will satisfy him. It was merely a sentence muttered rather than roared, lost in the wider context of acclaim last week, but the Spaniard has already hinted where his ambition lies, pointing out that only Sir Alex Ferguson, at United, has won the Premier League three times in a row. To be the best of this gilded managerial generation, Guardiola wants to do the same. He even mentioned winning four, before quickly adding, as though he realised the burden of expectation he was creating was even too much for him to bare, how difficult that will be in a league with so many title contenders vying for position. The genius of Pep Guardiola: Eight things he has done to make Man City so frighteningly good What Guardiola wants to know, is who comes with him on the next leg of the journey? Which of these City players share his unquenchable thirst for silverware and who is already content with what they have achieved? Who will fall away? Who will continue to grow and search for improvement? That is why he played his strongest team against Swansea, because the process is already underway. There will be no rest for City’s international stars ahead of the World Cup, not yet. There are players who still have boxes to tick. Can Raheem Sterling maintain this sort of goalscoring and creative form? Can Kevin De Bruyne continue to dominate games from midfield? Can David Silva, at the age of 32, still pick holes in resolute defences? City’s first goal suggests yes, De Bruyne picking out Sterling’s run in behind Swansea’s backline with a perfectly weighted and timed through ball. Sterling had his head up before Swansea knew what was happening, picked out Silva, whose sublime first touch created the space for him to score the first goal of the game after just 12 minutes. Manchester City player ratings for Premier League title winning season Three minutes later, Sterling made it 2-0 with his 23rd goal of the season with a simple tap in after a brilliant cross from Bernardo Silva. Nobody was slacking off, nobody played with a celebration hangover. City were so good, it was almost cruel on Swansea, who looked beaten with more than three quarters of the game still to play. City’s hummed and buzzed like a honey bee sent out to collect pollen for the first time after winter hibernation. That is precisely what Guardiola wanted to see, De Bruyne scoring a stunning third early in the second half before Bernardo Silva made it four. If his players can play like this when the prize has already been won, there is no reason to doubt they will not return next season in the same mood. It already looks ominous for the rest of English football. Manchester City win the Premier League Key moment in the match If there were any doubts about City’s desire to maintain standards at the end of a campaign in which they have already been crowned champions, they were dispelled when they sliced through the Swansea defence twice in the space of three minutes to charge into a 2-0 goal lead. City could dominate English football for years on this evidence. Man-of-the-match Kevin De Bruyne may lose out on the player of the year award to Liverpool’s Mo Salah but he has been the best player in English football’s best team this season and his performance here was a reminder of just how brilliant he is.
​El Real Madrid vivirá dos semanas de infarto. Desde el 25 de abril, hasta el 6 de mayo, el conjunto madridista tiene tres partidos durísimos: Dos contra el Bayern Munich y otro contra el FC Barcelona en su campo, donde el Barça podría proclamarse campeón. Al madridismo le ha dolido lo siguiente: "El Barcelona pondrá las entradas visitantes a 129€", les parece un precio abusivo. Demasiado para poder disfrutar de un partido de fútbol. Por si fuera poco, el conjunto blanco ya no se juega nada....
El feo gesto del FC Barcelona que ha indignado al madridismo
​El Real Madrid vivirá dos semanas de infarto. Desde el 25 de abril, hasta el 6 de mayo, el conjunto madridista tiene tres partidos durísimos: Dos contra el Bayern Munich y otro contra el FC Barcelona en su campo, donde el Barça podría proclamarse campeón. Al madridismo le ha dolido lo siguiente: "El Barcelona pondrá las entradas visitantes a 129€", les parece un precio abusivo. Demasiado para poder disfrutar de un partido de fútbol. Por si fuera poco, el conjunto blanco ya no se juega nada....
​El Real Madrid vivirá dos semanas de infarto. Desde el 25 de abril, hasta el 6 de mayo, el conjunto madridista tiene tres partidos durísimos: Dos contra el Bayern Munich y otro contra el FC Barcelona en su campo, donde el Barça podría proclamarse campeón. Al madridismo le ha dolido lo siguiente: "El Barcelona pondrá las entradas visitantes a 129€", les parece un precio abusivo. Demasiado para poder disfrutar de un partido de fútbol. Por si fuera poco, el conjunto blanco ya no se juega nada....
El feo gesto del FC Barcelona que ha indignado al madridismo
​El Real Madrid vivirá dos semanas de infarto. Desde el 25 de abril, hasta el 6 de mayo, el conjunto madridista tiene tres partidos durísimos: Dos contra el Bayern Munich y otro contra el FC Barcelona en su campo, donde el Barça podría proclamarse campeón. Al madridismo le ha dolido lo siguiente: "El Barcelona pondrá las entradas visitantes a 129€", les parece un precio abusivo. Demasiado para poder disfrutar de un partido de fútbol. Por si fuera poco, el conjunto blanco ya no se juega nada....
​El Real Madrid vivirá dos semanas de infarto. Desde el 25 de abril, hasta el 6 de mayo, el conjunto madridista tiene tres partidos durísimos: Dos contra el Bayern Munich y otro contra el FC Barcelona en su campo, donde el Barça podría proclamarse campeón. Al madridismo le ha dolido lo siguiente: "El Barcelona pondrá las entradas visitantes a 129€", les parece un precio abusivo. Demasiado para poder disfrutar de un partido de fútbol. Por si fuera poco, el conjunto blanco ya no se juega nada....
El feo gesto del FC Barcelona que ha indignado al madridismo
​El Real Madrid vivirá dos semanas de infarto. Desde el 25 de abril, hasta el 6 de mayo, el conjunto madridista tiene tres partidos durísimos: Dos contra el Bayern Munich y otro contra el FC Barcelona en su campo, donde el Barça podría proclamarse campeón. Al madridismo le ha dolido lo siguiente: "El Barcelona pondrá las entradas visitantes a 129€", les parece un precio abusivo. Demasiado para poder disfrutar de un partido de fútbol. Por si fuera poco, el conjunto blanco ya no se juega nada....
In 2012 Roma wanted to sign Christian Eriksen but, with two years left on his contract at Ajax, the deal was too expensive for a player who would not go straight into the first team and so the following year he joined Tottenham Hotspur for a reduced price. There was nothing unusual in that, all the top teams had looked at Eriksen, but what was remarkable is precisely why Roma wanted him. They had identified him as the natural successor to their greatest ever player: Francesco Totti. It showed just how highly he was rated and the potential he has. Totti was also one of Eriksen’s football heroes. Now that potential is being fulfilled – spectacularly – and Eriksen is being talked about in the most accomplished of current company. “Of course [Kevin] De Bruyne is amazing and I love [David] Silva but Eriksen is the same, the same,” says Martin Jol, the man who gave the Dane his debut at Ajax, aged just 17, and who also has strong links to Spurs, who he also managed. But Jol is not the only one who makes the connection between Eriksen and Manchester City’s two star midfield playmakers. Mauricio Pochettino also brackets them together.“For me, you can compare him with special players like De Bruyne or David Silva,” the Spurs manager says. “This type of player who is capable to play football, and run, and fight. That is a massive, massive value to have a player like Christian on the team.” Eriksen has been hugely impressive this season Credit: Getty Images Jol goes even further. “If I was at another club, even at Barcelona, even at Real Madrid – you know [Andres] Iniesta? Eriksen will score more goals than Iniesta,” the Dutchman says. “Five years ago I think Iniesta was the best player in the world and Eriksen is probably as good or better because to play for Barcelona is probably easier than to play at Tottenham where they develop all these youngsters. "Maybe I am exaggerating a bit. But I think that, of course, he’s already a £100 million player – like De Bruyne. And If I was the manager of one of the biggest clubs, like Bayern Munich, I would try and sign him. But, for me, I hope he stays at Spurs because I think there is more to come and every time you see him, it’s a joy to watch him.” The figure of £100million is probably no exaggeration. Scouts around Europe are comparing Eriksen’s value to that of Philippe Coutinho, for whom Barcelona paid £142 million in January. With two years left on his contract Spurs may have a fight to keep Eriksen, especially if he excels with Denmark at this summer’s World Cup. Ahead of the FA Cup semi-final against Manchester United at Wembley there are recurrent themes when it comes to discussing Eriksen. The 26-year-old has a prodigious appetite for work and self-improvement. Even as a teenager at Ajax he employed a personal trainer to work with him two days a week with the specific aim of making him the fittest player at the club. Tottenham are failing their fans with season ticket prices at the new stadium At Spurs, who he joined for £11.5 million, he has been a willing pupil under Pochettino and at the training ground staff speak of his desire to listen and learn and harness his extraordinary talent with a tough mentality to succeed. He has also bought in to Pochettino’s demands for hard work and a disciplined approach – in and, crucially, out of possession. Adding consistency and reliability to his talent, something he realised he had to do after that first season with Pochettino, was the game-changer. Until then he was told he was too “intermittent”. The scouting reports on Eriksen were unanimous. One scout told The Daily Telegraph: “Technically he was excellent. He saw passes between the lines and that is not common and he had this remarkable right-foot. Quite incredible. He was also a very modern player in the sense that he was technically gifted and dynamic. But there was also a lot of room for improvement and that was exciting. “For a player like him to be in possession is quite easy. The game comes easy. What needed to follow was how he operated out of possession and how he developed physically.” It is a theme that Pochettino picks up on. “I think in the four seasons that he’s been playing for us, he has improved in every season,” he explains. “More mature, more experienced. He was so young when I arrived here. Of course now he’s a more mature player. That is one of the things that is easy to recognise and to give him the credit.” Eriksen could have been at Barcelona already, having had trials there as well as with AC Milan and Chelsea before he was advised by Jol’s friend and Chelsea’s former sporting director Frank Arnesen to join the fellow Dane’s former club, Ajax, aged just 16. Tottenham's new stadium in pictures “He is an unbelievable talent,” Jol states when asked what his first recollections of Eriksen were. “There are a few talents you work with but he is a born footballer. Like [Wesley] Sneijder, [Rafael] Van der Vaart, Silva. These No 10 players who are born players. He was a born player. Everybody saw that so I thought it’s probably better to give him his debut. “The thing with him is he was dedicated. When he was 17 he was almost the same as he is now, an old-fashioned play-maker, although there is one big difference in the way he has developed himself into an overall midfield player. He goes for the ball, then he’s on the right, then he’s on the left. He’s feeding Harry Kane and Harry Kane knows that. If Christian does not play, Spurs have a problem. There are so many passes, so many assists for [Dele] Alli and for Kane. “He is probably one of the few real playmakers in Europe now. In the concept of Pochettino he plays on the left, sometimes on the right, but he drifts in and you will see that again on Saturday in the semi-final and nobody has got an answer to that.” Pochettino refers to Eriksen as “Golazo”, a Spanish term that translates as “screamer” as in a screaming goal. Eriksen scores them in training, often from free-kicks, and Jol says that more goals is the only thing the player lacks. “It is almost unimaginable that he can play better,” he says. “Maybe he could score 15-20 goals, he’s got 10 so far this season, because he’s got a very good shot. And the thing with him is he’s right and left-footed. “He does not hesitate. He’s one of the most influential players in Europe at this moment.”
Spurs midfielder Christian Eriksen rises into world’s elite with drive to keep on improving
In 2012 Roma wanted to sign Christian Eriksen but, with two years left on his contract at Ajax, the deal was too expensive for a player who would not go straight into the first team and so the following year he joined Tottenham Hotspur for a reduced price. There was nothing unusual in that, all the top teams had looked at Eriksen, but what was remarkable is precisely why Roma wanted him. They had identified him as the natural successor to their greatest ever player: Francesco Totti. It showed just how highly he was rated and the potential he has. Totti was also one of Eriksen’s football heroes. Now that potential is being fulfilled – spectacularly – and Eriksen is being talked about in the most accomplished of current company. “Of course [Kevin] De Bruyne is amazing and I love [David] Silva but Eriksen is the same, the same,” says Martin Jol, the man who gave the Dane his debut at Ajax, aged just 17, and who also has strong links to Spurs, who he also managed. But Jol is not the only one who makes the connection between Eriksen and Manchester City’s two star midfield playmakers. Mauricio Pochettino also brackets them together.“For me, you can compare him with special players like De Bruyne or David Silva,” the Spurs manager says. “This type of player who is capable to play football, and run, and fight. That is a massive, massive value to have a player like Christian on the team.” Eriksen has been hugely impressive this season Credit: Getty Images Jol goes even further. “If I was at another club, even at Barcelona, even at Real Madrid – you know [Andres] Iniesta? Eriksen will score more goals than Iniesta,” the Dutchman says. “Five years ago I think Iniesta was the best player in the world and Eriksen is probably as good or better because to play for Barcelona is probably easier than to play at Tottenham where they develop all these youngsters. "Maybe I am exaggerating a bit. But I think that, of course, he’s already a £100 million player – like De Bruyne. And If I was the manager of one of the biggest clubs, like Bayern Munich, I would try and sign him. But, for me, I hope he stays at Spurs because I think there is more to come and every time you see him, it’s a joy to watch him.” The figure of £100million is probably no exaggeration. Scouts around Europe are comparing Eriksen’s value to that of Philippe Coutinho, for whom Barcelona paid £142 million in January. With two years left on his contract Spurs may have a fight to keep Eriksen, especially if he excels with Denmark at this summer’s World Cup. Ahead of the FA Cup semi-final against Manchester United at Wembley there are recurrent themes when it comes to discussing Eriksen. The 26-year-old has a prodigious appetite for work and self-improvement. Even as a teenager at Ajax he employed a personal trainer to work with him two days a week with the specific aim of making him the fittest player at the club. Tottenham are failing their fans with season ticket prices at the new stadium At Spurs, who he joined for £11.5 million, he has been a willing pupil under Pochettino and at the training ground staff speak of his desire to listen and learn and harness his extraordinary talent with a tough mentality to succeed. He has also bought in to Pochettino’s demands for hard work and a disciplined approach – in and, crucially, out of possession. Adding consistency and reliability to his talent, something he realised he had to do after that first season with Pochettino, was the game-changer. Until then he was told he was too “intermittent”. The scouting reports on Eriksen were unanimous. One scout told The Daily Telegraph: “Technically he was excellent. He saw passes between the lines and that is not common and he had this remarkable right-foot. Quite incredible. He was also a very modern player in the sense that he was technically gifted and dynamic. But there was also a lot of room for improvement and that was exciting. “For a player like him to be in possession is quite easy. The game comes easy. What needed to follow was how he operated out of possession and how he developed physically.” It is a theme that Pochettino picks up on. “I think in the four seasons that he’s been playing for us, he has improved in every season,” he explains. “More mature, more experienced. He was so young when I arrived here. Of course now he’s a more mature player. That is one of the things that is easy to recognise and to give him the credit.” Eriksen could have been at Barcelona already, having had trials there as well as with AC Milan and Chelsea before he was advised by Jol’s friend and Chelsea’s former sporting director Frank Arnesen to join the fellow Dane’s former club, Ajax, aged just 16. Tottenham's new stadium in pictures “He is an unbelievable talent,” Jol states when asked what his first recollections of Eriksen were. “There are a few talents you work with but he is a born footballer. Like [Wesley] Sneijder, [Rafael] Van der Vaart, Silva. These No 10 players who are born players. He was a born player. Everybody saw that so I thought it’s probably better to give him his debut. “The thing with him is he was dedicated. When he was 17 he was almost the same as he is now, an old-fashioned play-maker, although there is one big difference in the way he has developed himself into an overall midfield player. He goes for the ball, then he’s on the right, then he’s on the left. He’s feeding Harry Kane and Harry Kane knows that. If Christian does not play, Spurs have a problem. There are so many passes, so many assists for [Dele] Alli and for Kane. “He is probably one of the few real playmakers in Europe now. In the concept of Pochettino he plays on the left, sometimes on the right, but he drifts in and you will see that again on Saturday in the semi-final and nobody has got an answer to that.” Pochettino refers to Eriksen as “Golazo”, a Spanish term that translates as “screamer” as in a screaming goal. Eriksen scores them in training, often from free-kicks, and Jol says that more goals is the only thing the player lacks. “It is almost unimaginable that he can play better,” he says. “Maybe he could score 15-20 goals, he’s got 10 so far this season, because he’s got a very good shot. And the thing with him is he’s right and left-footed. “He does not hesitate. He’s one of the most influential players in Europe at this moment.”
In 2012 Roma wanted to sign Christian Eriksen but, with two years left on his contract at Ajax, the deal was too expensive for a player who would not go straight into the first team and so the following year he joined Tottenham Hotspur for a reduced price. There was nothing unusual in that, all the top teams had looked at Eriksen, but what was remarkable is precisely why Roma wanted him. They had identified him as the natural successor to their greatest ever player: Francesco Totti. It showed just how highly he was rated and the potential he has. Totti was also one of Eriksen’s football heroes. Now that potential is being fulfilled – spectacularly – and Eriksen is being talked about in the most accomplished of current company. “Of course [Kevin] De Bruyne is amazing and I love [David] Silva but Eriksen is the same, the same,” says Martin Jol, the man who gave the Dane his debut at Ajax, aged just 17, and who also has strong links to Spurs, who he also managed. But Jol is not the only one who makes the connection between Eriksen and Manchester City’s two star midfield playmakers. Mauricio Pochettino also brackets them together.“For me, you can compare him with special players like De Bruyne or David Silva,” the Spurs manager says. “This type of player who is capable to play football, and run, and fight. That is a massive, massive value to have a player like Christian on the team.” Eriksen has been hugely impressive this season Credit: Getty Images Jol goes even further. “If I was at another club, even at Barcelona, even at Real Madrid – you know [Andres] Iniesta? Eriksen will score more goals than Iniesta,” the Dutchman says. “Five years ago I think Iniesta was the best player in the world and Eriksen is probably as good or better because to play for Barcelona is probably easier than to play at Tottenham where they develop all these youngsters. "Maybe I am exaggerating a bit. But I think that, of course, he’s already a £100 million player – like De Bruyne. And If I was the manager of one of the biggest clubs, like Bayern Munich, I would try and sign him. But, for me, I hope he stays at Spurs because I think there is more to come and every time you see him, it’s a joy to watch him.” The figure of £100million is probably no exaggeration. Scouts around Europe are comparing Eriksen’s value to that of Philippe Coutinho, for whom Barcelona paid £142 million in January. With two years left on his contract Spurs may have a fight to keep Eriksen, especially if he excels with Denmark at this summer’s World Cup. Ahead of the FA Cup semi-final against Manchester United at Wembley there are recurrent themes when it comes to discussing Eriksen. The 26-year-old has a prodigious appetite for work and self-improvement. Even as a teenager at Ajax he employed a personal trainer to work with him two days a week with the specific aim of making him the fittest player at the club. Tottenham are failing their fans with season ticket prices at the new stadium At Spurs, who he joined for £11.5 million, he has been a willing pupil under Pochettino and at the training ground staff speak of his desire to listen and learn and harness his extraordinary talent with a tough mentality to succeed. He has also bought in to Pochettino’s demands for hard work and a disciplined approach – in and, crucially, out of possession. Adding consistency and reliability to his talent, something he realised he had to do after that first season with Pochettino, was the game-changer. Until then he was told he was too “intermittent”. The scouting reports on Eriksen were unanimous. One scout told The Daily Telegraph: “Technically he was excellent. He saw passes between the lines and that is not common and he had this remarkable right-foot. Quite incredible. He was also a very modern player in the sense that he was technically gifted and dynamic. But there was also a lot of room for improvement and that was exciting. “For a player like him to be in possession is quite easy. The game comes easy. What needed to follow was how he operated out of possession and how he developed physically.” It is a theme that Pochettino picks up on. “I think in the four seasons that he’s been playing for us, he has improved in every season,” he explains. “More mature, more experienced. He was so young when I arrived here. Of course now he’s a more mature player. That is one of the things that is easy to recognise and to give him the credit.” Eriksen could have been at Barcelona already, having had trials there as well as with AC Milan and Chelsea before he was advised by Jol’s friend and Chelsea’s former sporting director Frank Arnesen to join the fellow Dane’s former club, Ajax, aged just 16. Tottenham's new stadium in pictures “He is an unbelievable talent,” Jol states when asked what his first recollections of Eriksen were. “There are a few talents you work with but he is a born footballer. Like [Wesley] Sneijder, [Rafael] Van der Vaart, Silva. These No 10 players who are born players. He was a born player. Everybody saw that so I thought it’s probably better to give him his debut. “The thing with him is he was dedicated. When he was 17 he was almost the same as he is now, an old-fashioned play-maker, although there is one big difference in the way he has developed himself into an overall midfield player. He goes for the ball, then he’s on the right, then he’s on the left. He’s feeding Harry Kane and Harry Kane knows that. If Christian does not play, Spurs have a problem. There are so many passes, so many assists for [Dele] Alli and for Kane. “He is probably one of the few real playmakers in Europe now. In the concept of Pochettino he plays on the left, sometimes on the right, but he drifts in and you will see that again on Saturday in the semi-final and nobody has got an answer to that.” Pochettino refers to Eriksen as “Golazo”, a Spanish term that translates as “screamer” as in a screaming goal. Eriksen scores them in training, often from free-kicks, and Jol says that more goals is the only thing the player lacks. “It is almost unimaginable that he can play better,” he says. “Maybe he could score 15-20 goals, he’s got 10 so far this season, because he’s got a very good shot. And the thing with him is he’s right and left-footed. “He does not hesitate. He’s one of the most influential players in Europe at this moment.”
Spurs midfielder Christian Eriksen rises into world’s elite with drive to keep on improving
In 2012 Roma wanted to sign Christian Eriksen but, with two years left on his contract at Ajax, the deal was too expensive for a player who would not go straight into the first team and so the following year he joined Tottenham Hotspur for a reduced price. There was nothing unusual in that, all the top teams had looked at Eriksen, but what was remarkable is precisely why Roma wanted him. They had identified him as the natural successor to their greatest ever player: Francesco Totti. It showed just how highly he was rated and the potential he has. Totti was also one of Eriksen’s football heroes. Now that potential is being fulfilled – spectacularly – and Eriksen is being talked about in the most accomplished of current company. “Of course [Kevin] De Bruyne is amazing and I love [David] Silva but Eriksen is the same, the same,” says Martin Jol, the man who gave the Dane his debut at Ajax, aged just 17, and who also has strong links to Spurs, who he also managed. But Jol is not the only one who makes the connection between Eriksen and Manchester City’s two star midfield playmakers. Mauricio Pochettino also brackets them together.“For me, you can compare him with special players like De Bruyne or David Silva,” the Spurs manager says. “This type of player who is capable to play football, and run, and fight. That is a massive, massive value to have a player like Christian on the team.” Eriksen has been hugely impressive this season Credit: Getty Images Jol goes even further. “If I was at another club, even at Barcelona, even at Real Madrid – you know [Andres] Iniesta? Eriksen will score more goals than Iniesta,” the Dutchman says. “Five years ago I think Iniesta was the best player in the world and Eriksen is probably as good or better because to play for Barcelona is probably easier than to play at Tottenham where they develop all these youngsters. "Maybe I am exaggerating a bit. But I think that, of course, he’s already a £100 million player – like De Bruyne. And If I was the manager of one of the biggest clubs, like Bayern Munich, I would try and sign him. But, for me, I hope he stays at Spurs because I think there is more to come and every time you see him, it’s a joy to watch him.” The figure of £100million is probably no exaggeration. Scouts around Europe are comparing Eriksen’s value to that of Philippe Coutinho, for whom Barcelona paid £142 million in January. With two years left on his contract Spurs may have a fight to keep Eriksen, especially if he excels with Denmark at this summer’s World Cup. Ahead of the FA Cup semi-final against Manchester United at Wembley there are recurrent themes when it comes to discussing Eriksen. The 26-year-old has a prodigious appetite for work and self-improvement. Even as a teenager at Ajax he employed a personal trainer to work with him two days a week with the specific aim of making him the fittest player at the club. Tottenham are failing their fans with season ticket prices at the new stadium At Spurs, who he joined for £11.5 million, he has been a willing pupil under Pochettino and at the training ground staff speak of his desire to listen and learn and harness his extraordinary talent with a tough mentality to succeed. He has also bought in to Pochettino’s demands for hard work and a disciplined approach – in and, crucially, out of possession. Adding consistency and reliability to his talent, something he realised he had to do after that first season with Pochettino, was the game-changer. Until then he was told he was too “intermittent”. The scouting reports on Eriksen were unanimous. One scout told The Daily Telegraph: “Technically he was excellent. He saw passes between the lines and that is not common and he had this remarkable right-foot. Quite incredible. He was also a very modern player in the sense that he was technically gifted and dynamic. But there was also a lot of room for improvement and that was exciting. “For a player like him to be in possession is quite easy. The game comes easy. What needed to follow was how he operated out of possession and how he developed physically.” It is a theme that Pochettino picks up on. “I think in the four seasons that he’s been playing for us, he has improved in every season,” he explains. “More mature, more experienced. He was so young when I arrived here. Of course now he’s a more mature player. That is one of the things that is easy to recognise and to give him the credit.” Eriksen could have been at Barcelona already, having had trials there as well as with AC Milan and Chelsea before he was advised by Jol’s friend and Chelsea’s former sporting director Frank Arnesen to join the fellow Dane’s former club, Ajax, aged just 16. Tottenham's new stadium in pictures “He is an unbelievable talent,” Jol states when asked what his first recollections of Eriksen were. “There are a few talents you work with but he is a born footballer. Like [Wesley] Sneijder, [Rafael] Van der Vaart, Silva. These No 10 players who are born players. He was a born player. Everybody saw that so I thought it’s probably better to give him his debut. “The thing with him is he was dedicated. When he was 17 he was almost the same as he is now, an old-fashioned play-maker, although there is one big difference in the way he has developed himself into an overall midfield player. He goes for the ball, then he’s on the right, then he’s on the left. He’s feeding Harry Kane and Harry Kane knows that. If Christian does not play, Spurs have a problem. There are so many passes, so many assists for [Dele] Alli and for Kane. “He is probably one of the few real playmakers in Europe now. In the concept of Pochettino he plays on the left, sometimes on the right, but he drifts in and you will see that again on Saturday in the semi-final and nobody has got an answer to that.” Pochettino refers to Eriksen as “Golazo”, a Spanish term that translates as “screamer” as in a screaming goal. Eriksen scores them in training, often from free-kicks, and Jol says that more goals is the only thing the player lacks. “It is almost unimaginable that he can play better,” he says. “Maybe he could score 15-20 goals, he’s got 10 so far this season, because he’s got a very good shot. And the thing with him is he’s right and left-footed. “He does not hesitate. He’s one of the most influential players in Europe at this moment.”
Arsene Wenger leaving Arsenal at the end of the season Wenger's last match at Emirates on May 6 against Burnley Last Premier League match ever on May 13 against Huddersfield Arsenal to hold press conference with Ivan Gazidis at 5pm Mourinho speaks: "We'll show Mr Wenger respect he deserves" Why Wenger will enjoy great success in life after Arsenal Next Arsenal manager odds: Who will replace Wenger? How many times did your team lose to Wenger's Arsenal? Arsenal are promising to be “bold” and could again go left-field in replacing Arsene Wenger after the club’s most successful-ever manager decided to announce his departure amid the prospect of being sacked this summer. Wenger revealed on Friday morning that this would be his 22nd and last season as Arsenal manager and, while the timing of the public announcement was his, the wider backdrop was of the club already actively preparing for change. The clear expectation was that he would be asked to leave this summer and Wenger did not want to wait to be sacked. It was also felt that an early announcement would ensure that Wenger received a big unifying send-off and allow all sides to prepare for a future apart. It was noticeable that Gazidis would not answer on Friday whether he had wanted Wenger to stay or tried to persuade him to see out the remaining year on his contract. Wenger has shown no sign of wanting to retire from management and is expected to make a clear break and seek employment elsewhere. Gazidis has been assessing potential replacements for several years, but has now actively begun the search and wants to preserve many of Wenger’s values within a structure that gives the manager rather less power. End of an era | Wenger to leave Arsenal at end of season A new backroom team has already been assembled and, while Gazidis called it “our biggest ever challenge", he said the club had never been better prepared. Former Barcelona manager Luis Enrique and ex-Arsenal captain Mikel Arteta are thought to be the leading contenders to replace Wenger, while Monaco manager Leonardo Jardim, former Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti and Germany head coach Joachim Low are also in the running. A complication with Low will be his reluctance to do anything that could destabilise Germany’s defence of the World Cup. Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers would be interested and has admirers inside Arsenal, but there are concerns at how fans might respond to his appointment at a time when unity is desperately sought. Former Borussia Dortmund manager Thomas Tuchel is close to be appointed Paris St Germain, but Juventus manager Max Allegri is keen on eventually working in England and would be of interest if he is ready to move this summer. Gazidis noticeably highlighted how Arsenal appointed an unknown in Wenger way back in 1996. Guy Wenger “Replace Arsene? That’s not going to happen,” he said. “But we have to make sure we don’t lose his qualities and his values in the club and that we take them forward. So someone who will continue to play exciting, progressive football that gets people interested and excited in the games we play. How the candidate represents the club is important. “That value of giving youth a chance is also very important. I think we’ve got to be open-minded and brave in the decision. When Arsene was appointed, I don’t think he was on many people’s radar. We need to be bold in the appointment.” Wenger made the final decision to leave earlier this week and, after discussions with directors on Thursday, he personally informed his staff and the players on Friday morning. There were many tears both at the stadium and training ground, where club staff were said to be in a state of shock. Wenger has won three Premier League titles, an all-time record seven FA Cups, two doubles, reached the 2006 European Cup final and went the entire 2003-4 Premier League season undefeated. He also helped oversee the move from Highbury to the Emirates Stadium. Tributes were paid to Wenger on Friday from across sport, with his old adversary Sir Alex Ferguson saying that he was “proud to have been a rival, a colleague and a friend to such a great man." As ever, Wenger stressed the importance of maintaining the values he has embodied in his time in English football. Put simply, that is an entertaining playing style, opportunities for young players and a fiscal structure that safeguards the club’s long-term future. “After careful consideration and following discussions with the club, I feel it is the right time for me to step down at the end of the season,” said Wenger. “I am grateful for having had the privilege to serve the club for so many memorable years. I managed the club with full commitment and integrity. I urge our fans to stand behind the team to finish on a high. To all the Arsenal lovers take care of the values of the club. My love and support for ever.” Arsenal fan's view | 'All the bad feeling has disappeared' Arsenal’s majority owner, Stan Kroenke, has always been a massive supporter of Wenger and regarded this as perhaps the hardest moment in his time in professional sport. “This is one of the most difficult days we have ever had in all our years in sport,” he said. “One of the main reasons we got involved with Arsenal was because of what Arsène has brought to the club on and off the pitch. His longevity and consistency over such a sustained period at the highest level of the game will never be matched. “Arsène has unparalleled class and we will always be grateful to him. Everyone who loves Arsenal and everyone who loves football owes him a debt of gratitude. Three Premier League titles, including an entire season unbeaten, seven FA Cup triumphs and 20 successive years in the Champions League is an exceptional record. He has also transformed the identity of our club and of English football with his vision for how the game can be played.” Gazidis added: “Arsene is going to feel the full force of this club behind him over the next couple of weeks. Arsene changed the game. He set a totally new standard. A new ambition. An ambition not just to win, but to win while achieving perfection. To make art out of football. He was always brave enough to be true to that extraordinary ambition and incredibly he achieved it with Arsenal’s Invincibles season.“ 5:26PM Gazidis on his abiding memories of Wenger's reign: “There are great moments - the trophies, the FA Cups, the victory against Barcelona. But the memories I have of Arsene are of speaking to him in quiet moments. He’s an incredibly self-critical man who always gives others the benefit of the doubt. There’s a reason there is so much affection for him. He’s a special person.” 5:23PM Gazidis on the players' reaction: “I think from the reaction at the training ground today, what I felt was an incredible amount of passion to give Arsene the send off that he deserves. “The decision had to come at some point. Now it’s time for us to look forward.” 5:21PM Gazidis on Wenger's future: “Will he retire? He’s somebody who is in great shape and has a competitive edge but that’s a question for him.” 5:19PM Gazidis on the next Arsenal manager: "We're going to have a process around that. The process begins today but I want to keep that process in-house. I don't want to be making public comments about it. We haven't had any discussions to date regarding that." 5:18PM Gazidis on where Arsenal go next: “Our first priority is to come together as a club and we are seeing that today. Our players. staff and fans are behind this great man and we will give him the send off he deserves. I don’t underestimate that challenge but I am confident in the people we have in place to take Arsene’s vision forward and build on it.” "We are not going to find a replacement for Arsene Wenger" 5:16PM Gazidis on Wenger's immediate legacy “Arsene often said his aim was to leave the club in a better place than when he found out. We are in a better place than we could have ever imagined.” 5:15PM Gazidis on Wenger's inspiration: “Beyond football, he has inspired the people around him. He is able to make people believe that they can achieve great things. He inspired George Weah to believe he could not only become the world’s best football player, but to become the president of a nation. He has taken every challenge with humour and grace and class.” 5:15PM Gazidis on the Wenger philosophy: “Arsene changed the game. He set a totally new standard. A new ambition. Not just to win, but to win while achieving perfection - to make art. Incredibly, he achieved it with the Invincibles. Arsene has been brave enough to live by his philosophy. He’s made Arsenal throughout the world for the kind of football we play.” 5:14PM Gazidis on today's news: “Obviously this has been an emotional day for everyone. Now I have the impossible job of communicating that feeling. Typically, Arsene is not here as he is taking training. I will leave it to others to talk about the facts and figures of his tenure. There is something more coming out today. There is an affection from Arsenal fans and right across the sphere of football. I’ve had the pleasure of working alongside Arsene over the last 10 years.” 5:12PM Ivan Gazidis addresses the media... "Arsene changed the game. He set a totally new standard, a new ambition. Am ambition not just to win but to win while achieving perfection. To make art out of football." 4:42PM Jack Wilshere on the outgoing boss... "We need to send him off in the right way now" �� Turn your sound up and listen to this from @JackWilsherepic.twitter.com/aZ9UA5u0mo— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) April 20, 2018 "I'm sure when the dust settles, we have a few days to think about it, we'll start to reflect on it, but at the moment it's a bit raw, it's a bit sensitive." 4:08PM Thierry Henry on his former manager October 2002 and September's manager of the month congratulates the player of the month Credit: EDDIE KEOGH/PA I was a little mixed because it's a sad day for me to see the big man leave the club, although we all know he has matches left. I'm happy in a way that people can give him the farewell he deserves. His legacy is untouchable. Managers, fans from other teams - [they say] how Arsène changed Arsenal. I am happy that now we can all talk about his legacy. But we must not get carried away with celebrating the end of his time. The team must win the Europa League, it would be an incredible feat and Arsène has never won in Europe before, so it would be a good way to give him a nice goodbye. I remember when I was playing for Arsenal, people were talking about how we play, not what we won, but how we did it and how Arsène made Arsenal a club known in the whole world. If I could be the successor of Wenger? Look at me laughing. It's funny. One person to whom you can ask this question is Ivan Gazidis. He should answer the question. 3:57PM And a word from Germany From one he helped to make it (to Bayern Munich) 22 years @Arsenal - almost my whole lifetime. Impressive. Glad I could be a small part of it ���� #MerciArsène#Wengerpic.twitter.com/lzGJXJlOGC— Serge Gnabry (@SergeGnabry) April 20, 2018 3:51PM A tribute from an opponent Arsene Wenger built the best teams that I played against in English Football .The 98 team was Amazing.The biggest compliment is that he played football that made us change the way we played against them. He now deserves the most incredible send off from all in the coming weeks.— Gary Neville (@GNev2) April 20, 2018 3:36PM A trawl through the picture archive ... Has inspired this, 22 years in 11 photographs: Wenger at Arsenal gallery 3:17PM Sir Alex Ferguson pays tribute "I am really happy for Arsène Wenger. I have great respect for him and for the job he has done at Arsenal. It is great testament to his talent, professionalism and determination that has been able to dedicate 22 years of his life to a job that he loves. "In an era where football managers sometimes only last one or two seasons, it shows what an achievement it is to serve that length of time at a club the size of Arsenal. "I am pleased that he has announced he is leaving at this stage of the season, as he can now have the send-off that he truly deserves. "He is, without doubt, one the greatest Premier League managers and I am proud to have been a rival, a colleague and a friend to such a great man." 2:47PM Pep Guardiola tips his hat Luke Edwards reports from the Manchester City manager's press conference: “He has all my respect for what he has done. The Premier League is about huge personalities like Arsène, it is because of what he has done, his vision. “I wish him all the best in the future, I hope he can be involved in world football in a different way with his experience. Whether it is with Arsenal, Uefa, Fifa, or somewhere else, I don't know. It was a pleasure to compete against him here, with City, as well as Barcelona and Bayern. Pep Guardiola takes Manchester City training on Friday Credit: Victoria Haydn/Man City via Getty Images “It will be difficult for anyone to do what he has done at a top European club again. Sir Alex Ferguson did it at Manchester United, but it is so, so complicated. With the way social media is now, everybody has an opinion and can express it, you feel the pressure as a manager. “You can also feel pressure because staying in the Premier League is so important, then you have the sporting directors, who do not have a lot of patience. It will be so difficult to find a person who will be able to stay at a club for so long and do what Arsène has done.” 2:32PM 'Arsenal will unite behind Wenger now' Paul Matz, from the Arsenal Independent Supporters' Association, speaks to Telegraph Sport 2:06PM 'I have been talking well about him for a while' Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez, who has locked horns with Arsene Wenger plenty of times down the years in his time at Liverpool, Chelsea and on Tyneside, said this at today's press conference: "I have been talking well about him for a while. "To do things in the way that he has done and win the way he was winning, for so many years... we are talking about one of the best managers in football history." 2:01PM 'Like a father through tough times in my career' Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere posted this on Facebook: "To the man who gave me my chance as a 16-year-old, and showed unbelievable faith and commitment towards me. Always a gentleman, like a father through tough times in my career. He always believed in me when most people didn't. Thank you for everything boss! It's down to us now to end your era right. #onearsenewenger" Big shoes for anyone to fill,playing for Arsenal under Arsene was one of the best period of my career, 2 premiership, 2 FA cups, The invincibles, playing with some of the best assembled players,influencing millions of fans in Africa to support this great club. pic.twitter.com/tILZo70jBE— Kanu Nwankwo (@papilokanu) April 20, 2018 Personally a very sad day. I am forever in debt to this man. The person who had faith in me and gave me a platform to progress. Thank you for all the memories and trophies bosspic.twitter.com/EP26M6TP3W— Héctor Bellerín (@HectorBellerin) April 20, 2018 1:56PM 'He deserves respect from the whole world of football' Our man Matt Law was at Stamford Bridge today and asked Antonio Conte for his thoughts on Arsene Wenger. Reaction to Wenger? "My reaction... I think we must pay a great tribute to Arsene Wenger for his career. For his career at Arsenal. He and Ferguson, we're talking about the last two managers to stay for such a long time in a club. Arsene Wenger worked 22 years for Arsenal. I think that's great, it's a fantastic story. He won a lot at this club and, for this reason, I think he deserves a great tribute for his career." What was his influence in a footballing sense? "I think Arsene is one of the managers who had a great influence on football because, in every moment in his idea of football, he tried to play good football, creative and offensive football. He deserves great tribute also for this." How important is it that he gains that great tribute? "He deserves great respect. Not only from Arsenal supporters, but from the whole world of football. He deserves great respect. We are talking about one of the best managers in the world with a great and important career with Arsenal. He deserves a great tribute for his career. It would be very difficult to see in the future another manager staying for such a long time at the same club. I think, maybe, Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger were a really good story for football. Now it will be very difficult to see that again, another situation like this." 1:54PM 'A proper football man who lives and breathes it' David Moyes, whose West Ham side face Arsenal on Sunday, hailed Arsene Wenger's longevity. "He's been a great competitor, a terrific manager who has graced the Premier League for many years. "He's a proper football man who lives and breathes it. To do 22 years is an incredible achievement." 1:53PM 'There are not enough words for what he's done' Burnley boss Sean Dyche, who will be the second-longest serving current manager in the Premier League once Arsene Wenger stands down, has paid tribute to the Frenchman. "He is a legend of the game - the work that he's done will be remembered. "Some things that now seem normal and simple weren't at the time. Hydration in football sounds a simple thing but was not taken to a high level. Making sure the food they were eating was correct. Their health and well-being. "For youngish managers like myself there are not enough good words you can use for what he's done." 1:42PM 'It was a pleasure to compete against him' Pep Guardiola, manager of new Premier League champions Man City, has also spoken. "He is a huge personality. The Premier League is the Premier League because of what he has done and his vision. I wish him all the best for the future. "Hopefully he will be involved in a different way in world football. Of course it was a pleasure at Barcelona, Bayern Munich and here to compete against him." 1:39PM 'Arsenal fans will unite behind Wenger now' Paul Matz from the Arsenal Independent Supporters' Association, has told The Telegraph he believes the club will unite behind departing manager Arsene Wenger for the rest of the season as they focus on winning the Europa League. 1:37PM Mourinho asked about Wenger... wait for it Jose Mourinho has claimed that deep down he really respects Arsene Wenger and his various insults over the years did not reflect his true relationship with the Arsenal manager, who announced that he will leave the club at the end of the season. "If he's happy with the decision he makes and looks forward to the next chapter of his career and his life I'm really happy for him. If he's sad, I'm sad. I'm pretty sure as a club - and especially because Mr Wenger and Arsenal were for many, many years the biggest rivals of Sir Alex [Ferguson's] era - we will show Mr Wenger the respect he deserves." Asked whether he regretted many of his spats with Wenger, which were often characterised by the strength of Mourinho's response, he was dismissive. "It's not about regretting. I think your question is a typical question from somebody that was not a manager, not a player. Of course, you don't know the way we respect each other even when sometimes it doesn't look like we don't. "Players that get yellow cards and red cards by aggressive actions against each other, bad words during the career - the manager is the same thing. The ones that respect each other more are the ones with the problems. It's power against power; ambition against ambition; quality against quality. But in the end it's people from the same business who respect one another’s careers. "So it happened. What matters for me is the way I respect the person, the professional, the career. I always say that for some the memories are short, but for us football people - the real football people, the others live on us - don't have short memories. I know what it means, three Premier League titles and seven FA Cups, what he did in Japan and France, what he brought to French football. "[Also] What he gave to Arsenal in the period without Premier Leagues, the transition from stadium to stadium, we know what he did. If he's happy with the decision, I'm really happy and I hope he doesn't retire from football." 1:23PM Where it all began for Wenger Where it all began for Arsene Wenger in the #PL... pic.twitter.com/gbhqBu9LTq— Premier League (@premierleague) April 20, 2018 1:19PM The Top 10 longest-serving managers in Premier League history Arsene Wenger, Arsenal, October 1996 to May 2018 (21 years, seven months) Sir Alex Ferguson, Manchester United, August 1992 to May 2013 (20 years, nine months) David Moyes, Everton, March 2002 to May 2013 (11 years, two months) Harry Redknapp, West Ham, August 1994 to May 2001 (six years, eight months) Rafael Benitez, Liverpool, August 2004 to June 2010 (five years, 10 months) Alan Curbishley, Charlton, August 2000 to May 2006 (five years, nine months) Sam Allardyce, Bolton, August 2001 to April 2007 (five years, eight months) Gerard Houllier, Liverpool, November 1998 to May 2004 (five years, six months) Jim Smith, Derby, August 1996 to October 2001 (five years, two months) Sir Bobby Robson, Newcastle, September 1999 to August 2004 (four years, 11 months) 12:58PM 'One of the best in English football history' Premier League executive chairman Richard Scudamore offered his own tribute to Arsene Wenger. "It is hard to encapsulate the enormity of Arsene Wenger's contribution to Arsenal Football Club, the Premier League and football generally over these past 22 seasons. "All of Arsene's teams have been a joy to watch and his 2003-04 'Invincibles' will go down as one of the best in English football history." 12:50PM 'One major reason why I'm here is because of him' Club captain Per Mertesacker admitted it was "emotional" to find out that Arsene Wenger was set to depart. "We have just been informed basically. It is quite emotional. Obviously he has been at the club for such a long time, he has been so supportive to me. One major reason why I'm here is because of him. "It's been emotional and there will be time to digest it but it is a sad feeling right now." 12:47PM Wenger told players of his exit beforehand Arsene Wenger asked Arsenal to hold off announcing his decision to leave the club so he could inform his players first-hand. The news was announced this morning, with Wenger set to depart 12 months into a two-year deal. It is understood Wenger was keen to tell the Arsenal players himself and did so ahead of training at their London Colney base and minutes before the news was made public. His coaching staff were also informed of the decision in advance, although club staff working at the Emirates Stadium rather than the training ground discovered the news at the same time as everyone else. Wenger's surprise announcement came a day after he evaded questions over his future at his usual pre-match press conference. 12:36PM How many times did your team lose to Wenger's Arsenal? Was your club one of the teams Arsene Wenger had the wood over? How many times did your team lose to Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal? 12:35PM 'Today will mark the start of a new era for the club' Arsene Wenger's decision to leave Arsenal at the end of the season is good for all those involved, according to a leading supporters' group. Lois Langton, chair of the Arsenal Independent Supporters' Association, believes the timing is right and hailed Wenger as a "fantastic" manager in his day. "Without question, the announcement that Arsene Wenger will finally stand down at the end of this season is the right decision, both for the club and the manager, although, having been so long coming, it feels surreal that the day has finally arrived. "The problems associated with his tenure in recent years are well documented and now that the announcement has been made, there is nothing to be gained by going over old ground. "Arsene Wenger was, for a period of time, a fantastic manager for Arsenal. The Invincibles epitomise what he brought to the Club and, to that extent, his legacy will continue. "We have seen with Manchester City this season how difficult it is to go a league campaign undefeated. The 2003/2004 season in particular will forever be a source of pride and achievement. "It is now time to move on. We have a Europa League semi-final coming up against Atletico and a first success in Europe for Arsene Wenger would provide a fitting farewell. "Arsenal has a rich and wonderful heritage and today will mark the start of a new era for the club." 12:31PM Will Arsenal now raise their game against the Hammers? Arsenal play West Ham this Sunday. Here's our man Nick Callow's abbreviated preview: West Ham are not mathematically safe from relegation so Arsenal should fear a club they have lost to three times at Emirates Stadium. Arsenal can be pipped to sixth by Burnley, but Thursday's Europa Atletico Madrid semi-final will dictate Arsene Wenger's selection while David Moyes can go for broke. PREDICTION: 1-1 12:04PM VOTE: Who should Arsenal choose to replace Wenger? 11:55AM Where next for Wenger? Seeing as the man eats, drinks and sleeps football, it is highly unlikely he will walk off into the sunset and retire. The odds are now stacked in favour of him becoming the next Paris Saint-Germain manager, with Unai Emery expected to be shown the door by the Paris giants. Wenger would also be a a highly-popular choice given his profile in France and continuing analysis as a guest pundit for French TV. 11:48AM 'Name it the Arsene Wenger Stadium' Former Arsenal midfielder Paul Merson has urged fans to get behind the Frenchman for the rest of the season, starting with Sunday's home match against West Ham. "I think everybody can pay their respect to him now about how great he was as a manager. It's perfect timing. "I think it gives the fans (the chance) to pack the Emirates for the last few games of the season and have a right go. "If fans do not turn up against West Ham and pack that place out, they need serious questions asked about them and are they real Arsenal fans or are they glory-hunters?" Merson has also called for the Emirates Stadium to be renamed in Wenger's honour. "They should drop the Emirates bit - they don't need the money - and name it the Arsene Wenger Stadium. "That's his stadium. He built that. He made that stadium. Even if they called it the Emirates Arsene Wenger Stadium. He deserves to be on that." 11:44AM 'It shows the great dignity and class of the man' Spain and Chelsea's Cesc Fabregas, who burst in to the Arsenal starting line-up under Arsene Wenger, posted on Instagram... "Wow. I never expected that but it shows the great dignity and class of the man. I will never forget his guidance and support, his tutelage and mentorship. "He had faith in me from day one and I owe him a lot, he was like a father figure to me who always pushed me to be the best. Arsene, you deserve all the respect and happiness in the world. #classact" 11:43AM Inside information Ian Wright appeared to have been aware of the news before it was announced, tweeting a shocked face emoji around half an hour before the club's statement. — Ian Wright (@IanWright0) April 20, 2018 11:41AM Will it be Rodgers who replaces Wenger? Celtic majority shareholder Dermot Desmond has admitted he would let manager Brendan Rodgers speak to Arsenal if the Premier League club approached the Northern Irishman... "Absolutely. I don't think you can put handcuffs on anybody if they want to go to a club as good as Arsenal. "It will be Brendan's decision and Brendan's decision only." 11:33AM 'He moved the goalposts for everyone else' Southampton manager Mark Hughes believes it would be a "massive wrench" for Arsene Wenger to leave after so long in the post. "When you have had longevity in the game like Arsene has, and I have been in the Premier League for a long time, our paths have crossed on numerous occasions, we had a few run-ins but other times we were very civil and respectful of each other's efforts. "I had a good conversation with him two weeks ago, he looked very relaxed and chilled. "He came with different ideas, different views on how the game should be played, he moved the goalposts for everyone else, he came in and had success and everyone else had to catch up." 11:31AM 'Fans are celebrating like they've won the lottery' Former Arsenal goalkeeper David Seaman, Arsene Wenger's No 1 for the first seven years of his reign, is not happy with how some Gunners fans are reacting... "It's going to be good now, because there's going to be a chance he will get the send-off and the respect he deserves. The fans that are celebrating like they've won the lottery, it makes me a little bit angry if I'm honest. It's time to show respect and realise what he's done. "For me, he is Arsenal, and it's right that he's decided to leave on his own terms. "Now let's enjoy that. I hope all the fans that have stayed away now return because they've still got a chance of winning something this season. Get behind the team, get behind Arsenal, and show him the respect he deserves. "He's a gentleman. It's brilliant to be in his company. He's a really, really nice guy - and a lot of people don't see that. People say he's stubborn and this and that, but that's not true. It might have been true as a manager, but as a man he's a true gentleman. "When he came in he changed everything - the way we played, the diet... He revolutionised Arsenal. He was brilliant. For me, and especially for the back four - he added years to their careers." 11:05AM Wenger's Arsenal reign in numbers 1996 - the year when a then-unheralded Wenger, who had been in charge at Monaco and Japanese side Nagoya Grampus Eight, took over at Highbury. 1228 - games at the helm, ahead of Sunday's Premier League fixture against West Ham. 704 - wins to date as Arsenal boss. 3 - Premier League title wins, the last during an unbeaten Invincibles campaign of 2003/2004. 1549 - goals scored in Premier League matches by Wenger's teams. 10 - major trophies won. 473 - Premier League victories. 7 - FA Cup triumphs, with three of those having come the last four seasons. 151 - Premier League losses. 21 - full seasons in charge. 49 - games unbeaten in the Premier League from May 2003 to October 2004. 10:58AM Nearly 22 years in three minutes #MerciArsènepic.twitter.com/bjP0wLMgee— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) April 20, 2018 10:55AM How Twitter is reacting to Wenger leaving Unsurprisingly, frequent Arsene Wenger critic Piers Morgan has tweeted with a certain amount of relish... BREAKING: Wenger out. pic.twitter.com/HBuwQdY9aw— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) April 20, 2018 Fortunately, Gary Neville, the voice of reason, has said what many feel... Arsene Wenger built the best teams that I played against in English Football .The 98 team was Amazing.The biggest compliment is that he played football that made us change the way we played against them. He now deserves the most incredible send off from all in the coming weeks.— Gary Neville (@GNev2) April 20, 2018 Arsenal legend David Seaman has called on Gunners fans to give Wenger the send-off he deserves... Sad day for @Arsenal with Arsene leaving, can we now give him the send off/respect he deserves?!! #rememberthetrophies— David Seaman (@thedavidseaman) April 20, 2018 Journalist and TV presenter Robert Peston is suffering from mixed emotions... Such mixed feelings about Wenger resignation. I wanted him to go, but I miss him already. He was magnificent for us over many years, but it was time #Arsenal— Robert Peston (@Peston) April 20, 2018 Radio 1 DJ Greg James sees the funny side... BUT WHO GETS THE COAT?! I WANT THE COAT. SHOTGUN THE COAT. pic.twitter.com/C4qJEbO8YG— Greg James (@gregjames) April 20, 2018 Former Arsenal captain Tony Adams posted on Instagram: "Thanks for everything Arsene. Move over Herbert, Arsene Wenger the greatest Arsenal Manager." 10:50AM How fickle football can be It was expected that many Arsenal fans would boycott the club's remaining home games as a way of voicing their unhappiness at Arsene Wenger. BUT... Arsenal sure to be packed out for remaining games now— Matt Law (@Matt_Law_DT) April 20, 2018 10:36AM One word: longevity 823 - Arsene Wenger has managed more Premier League games than any other manager (823) and only Sir Alex Ferguson has won more games (528) than Wenger (473). Longevity. pic.twitter.com/ktdsaZPb1y— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 20, 2018 10:34AM Klopp hails Wenger Other Premier League manages are being asked for their thoughts on Arsene Wenger after today's momentous announcement. Here's what Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp says: "He is an influence in football. A fantastic career, outstanding personality. A big player in the business." 10:32AM How has it come to this? Arsene Wenger has won three Premier League titles during his spell of over 21 years at the helm, the last of which came as a result of the unbeaten 'Invincibles' season in 2003-04. No-one has won more FA Cups than the former Monaco boss, who was a shock appointment back in 1996. Protests against his reign picked up last season as the Gunners finished outside of the top four for the first time in a full campaign under Wenger's control. But despite the growing negativity, Wenger signed a new two-year deal last summer with the mandate of sustaining a title challenge. That failed miserably and, at the time of the announcement, Arsenal sit sixth in the table and 33 points adrift of newly-crowned champions Manchester City. 10:26AM Set your alarms for 5pm! Arsenal are holding a media conference with chief executive Ivan Gazidis at 5pm at the Emirates Stadium. 10:24AM Winterburn says 'time is right' Former Arsenal defender Nigel Winterburn believes the decision is the right one: "I think it's run its natural course. Arsene Wenger has been absolutely amazing for Arsenal Football Club. "It probably feels to me like it is the right time. When Arsene Wenger does step down, I think he will be remembered very, very fondly. We talk about the modern era, George Graham started it and Arsene Wenger's taken it to the next level. "When he leaves the football club, I think people will look back and really appreciate what Arsene Wenger has done." 10:05AM Who will replace him? Arsene Wenger will lead the team to the end of the season and the club say they will 'make an appointment as soon as possible'. Our Arsenal man - Jeremy Wilson - says these are the leading candidates: Leonardo Jardim, Mikel Arteta, Joachim Low, Brendan Rodgers, Max Allegri and Luis Enrique. 10:02AM 'Arsene has unparalleled class and we will always be grateful' Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke has issued the following statement: "This is one of the most difficult days we have ever had in all our years in sport. One of the main reasons we got involved with Arsenal was because of what Arsène has brought to the club on and off the pitch. His longevity and consistency over such a sustained period at the highest level of the game will never be matched. "Arsène has unparalleled class and we will always be grateful to him. Everyone who loves Arsenal and everyone who loves football owes him a debt of gratitude. Three Premier League titles, including an entire season unbeaten, seven FA Cup triumphs and 20 successive years in the Champions League is an exceptional record. He has also transformed the identity of our club and of English football with his vision for how the game can be played. "We have high ambitions to build on Arsène's remarkable tenure and to honour his vision by ensuring that Arsenal competes for and wins the biggest and most important prizes in the game. "We must now focus on making a strong finish to the season and ask our millions of fans around the world to join us in paying appropriate tribute to one of the greats of Arsenal's history and one of the greats of the game." 9:57AM BREAKING NEWS: Arsene Wenger leaving Arsenal Arsene Wenger has announced he is to step down as manager of Arsenal at the end of the season. "After careful consideration and following discussions with the club, I feel it is the right time for me to step down at the end of the season. "I am grateful for having had the privilege to serve the club for so many memorable years. "I managed the club with full commitment and integrity. "I want to thank the staff, the players, the Directors and the fans who make this club so special. "I urge our fans to stand behind the team to finish on a high. "To all the Arsenal lovers take care of the values of the club. "My love and support for ever."
Arsenal prepare for 'biggest ever challenge' to replace outgoing Arsene Wenger after 22 years in charge
Arsene Wenger leaving Arsenal at the end of the season Wenger's last match at Emirates on May 6 against Burnley Last Premier League match ever on May 13 against Huddersfield Arsenal to hold press conference with Ivan Gazidis at 5pm Mourinho speaks: "We'll show Mr Wenger respect he deserves" Why Wenger will enjoy great success in life after Arsenal Next Arsenal manager odds: Who will replace Wenger? How many times did your team lose to Wenger's Arsenal? Arsenal are promising to be “bold” and could again go left-field in replacing Arsene Wenger after the club’s most successful-ever manager decided to announce his departure amid the prospect of being sacked this summer. Wenger revealed on Friday morning that this would be his 22nd and last season as Arsenal manager and, while the timing of the public announcement was his, the wider backdrop was of the club already actively preparing for change. The clear expectation was that he would be asked to leave this summer and Wenger did not want to wait to be sacked. It was also felt that an early announcement would ensure that Wenger received a big unifying send-off and allow all sides to prepare for a future apart. It was noticeable that Gazidis would not answer on Friday whether he had wanted Wenger to stay or tried to persuade him to see out the remaining year on his contract. Wenger has shown no sign of wanting to retire from management and is expected to make a clear break and seek employment elsewhere. Gazidis has been assessing potential replacements for several years, but has now actively begun the search and wants to preserve many of Wenger’s values within a structure that gives the manager rather less power. End of an era | Wenger to leave Arsenal at end of season A new backroom team has already been assembled and, while Gazidis called it “our biggest ever challenge", he said the club had never been better prepared. Former Barcelona manager Luis Enrique and ex-Arsenal captain Mikel Arteta are thought to be the leading contenders to replace Wenger, while Monaco manager Leonardo Jardim, former Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti and Germany head coach Joachim Low are also in the running. A complication with Low will be his reluctance to do anything that could destabilise Germany’s defence of the World Cup. Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers would be interested and has admirers inside Arsenal, but there are concerns at how fans might respond to his appointment at a time when unity is desperately sought. Former Borussia Dortmund manager Thomas Tuchel is close to be appointed Paris St Germain, but Juventus manager Max Allegri is keen on eventually working in England and would be of interest if he is ready to move this summer. Gazidis noticeably highlighted how Arsenal appointed an unknown in Wenger way back in 1996. Guy Wenger “Replace Arsene? That’s not going to happen,” he said. “But we have to make sure we don’t lose his qualities and his values in the club and that we take them forward. So someone who will continue to play exciting, progressive football that gets people interested and excited in the games we play. How the candidate represents the club is important. “That value of giving youth a chance is also very important. I think we’ve got to be open-minded and brave in the decision. When Arsene was appointed, I don’t think he was on many people’s radar. We need to be bold in the appointment.” Wenger made the final decision to leave earlier this week and, after discussions with directors on Thursday, he personally informed his staff and the players on Friday morning. There were many tears both at the stadium and training ground, where club staff were said to be in a state of shock. Wenger has won three Premier League titles, an all-time record seven FA Cups, two doubles, reached the 2006 European Cup final and went the entire 2003-4 Premier League season undefeated. He also helped oversee the move from Highbury to the Emirates Stadium. Tributes were paid to Wenger on Friday from across sport, with his old adversary Sir Alex Ferguson saying that he was “proud to have been a rival, a colleague and a friend to such a great man." As ever, Wenger stressed the importance of maintaining the values he has embodied in his time in English football. Put simply, that is an entertaining playing style, opportunities for young players and a fiscal structure that safeguards the club’s long-term future. “After careful consideration and following discussions with the club, I feel it is the right time for me to step down at the end of the season,” said Wenger. “I am grateful for having had the privilege to serve the club for so many memorable years. I managed the club with full commitment and integrity. I urge our fans to stand behind the team to finish on a high. To all the Arsenal lovers take care of the values of the club. My love and support for ever.” Arsenal fan's view | 'All the bad feeling has disappeared' Arsenal’s majority owner, Stan Kroenke, has always been a massive supporter of Wenger and regarded this as perhaps the hardest moment in his time in professional sport. “This is one of the most difficult days we have ever had in all our years in sport,” he said. “One of the main reasons we got involved with Arsenal was because of what Arsène has brought to the club on and off the pitch. His longevity and consistency over such a sustained period at the highest level of the game will never be matched. “Arsène has unparalleled class and we will always be grateful to him. Everyone who loves Arsenal and everyone who loves football owes him a debt of gratitude. Three Premier League titles, including an entire season unbeaten, seven FA Cup triumphs and 20 successive years in the Champions League is an exceptional record. He has also transformed the identity of our club and of English football with his vision for how the game can be played.” Gazidis added: “Arsene is going to feel the full force of this club behind him over the next couple of weeks. Arsene changed the game. He set a totally new standard. A new ambition. An ambition not just to win, but to win while achieving perfection. To make art out of football. He was always brave enough to be true to that extraordinary ambition and incredibly he achieved it with Arsenal’s Invincibles season.“ 5:26PM Gazidis on his abiding memories of Wenger's reign: “There are great moments - the trophies, the FA Cups, the victory against Barcelona. But the memories I have of Arsene are of speaking to him in quiet moments. He’s an incredibly self-critical man who always gives others the benefit of the doubt. There’s a reason there is so much affection for him. He’s a special person.” 5:23PM Gazidis on the players' reaction: “I think from the reaction at the training ground today, what I felt was an incredible amount of passion to give Arsene the send off that he deserves. “The decision had to come at some point. Now it’s time for us to look forward.” 5:21PM Gazidis on Wenger's future: “Will he retire? He’s somebody who is in great shape and has a competitive edge but that’s a question for him.” 5:19PM Gazidis on the next Arsenal manager: "We're going to have a process around that. The process begins today but I want to keep that process in-house. I don't want to be making public comments about it. We haven't had any discussions to date regarding that." 5:18PM Gazidis on where Arsenal go next: “Our first priority is to come together as a club and we are seeing that today. Our players. staff and fans are behind this great man and we will give him the send off he deserves. I don’t underestimate that challenge but I am confident in the people we have in place to take Arsene’s vision forward and build on it.” "We are not going to find a replacement for Arsene Wenger" 5:16PM Gazidis on Wenger's immediate legacy “Arsene often said his aim was to leave the club in a better place than when he found out. We are in a better place than we could have ever imagined.” 5:15PM Gazidis on Wenger's inspiration: “Beyond football, he has inspired the people around him. He is able to make people believe that they can achieve great things. He inspired George Weah to believe he could not only become the world’s best football player, but to become the president of a nation. He has taken every challenge with humour and grace and class.” 5:15PM Gazidis on the Wenger philosophy: “Arsene changed the game. He set a totally new standard. A new ambition. Not just to win, but to win while achieving perfection - to make art. Incredibly, he achieved it with the Invincibles. Arsene has been brave enough to live by his philosophy. He’s made Arsenal throughout the world for the kind of football we play.” 5:14PM Gazidis on today's news: “Obviously this has been an emotional day for everyone. Now I have the impossible job of communicating that feeling. Typically, Arsene is not here as he is taking training. I will leave it to others to talk about the facts and figures of his tenure. There is something more coming out today. There is an affection from Arsenal fans and right across the sphere of football. I’ve had the pleasure of working alongside Arsene over the last 10 years.” 5:12PM Ivan Gazidis addresses the media... "Arsene changed the game. He set a totally new standard, a new ambition. Am ambition not just to win but to win while achieving perfection. To make art out of football." 4:42PM Jack Wilshere on the outgoing boss... "We need to send him off in the right way now" �� Turn your sound up and listen to this from @JackWilsherepic.twitter.com/aZ9UA5u0mo— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) April 20, 2018 "I'm sure when the dust settles, we have a few days to think about it, we'll start to reflect on it, but at the moment it's a bit raw, it's a bit sensitive." 4:08PM Thierry Henry on his former manager October 2002 and September's manager of the month congratulates the player of the month Credit: EDDIE KEOGH/PA I was a little mixed because it's a sad day for me to see the big man leave the club, although we all know he has matches left. I'm happy in a way that people can give him the farewell he deserves. His legacy is untouchable. Managers, fans from other teams - [they say] how Arsène changed Arsenal. I am happy that now we can all talk about his legacy. But we must not get carried away with celebrating the end of his time. The team must win the Europa League, it would be an incredible feat and Arsène has never won in Europe before, so it would be a good way to give him a nice goodbye. I remember when I was playing for Arsenal, people were talking about how we play, not what we won, but how we did it and how Arsène made Arsenal a club known in the whole world. If I could be the successor of Wenger? Look at me laughing. It's funny. One person to whom you can ask this question is Ivan Gazidis. He should answer the question. 3:57PM And a word from Germany From one he helped to make it (to Bayern Munich) 22 years @Arsenal - almost my whole lifetime. Impressive. Glad I could be a small part of it ���� #MerciArsène#Wengerpic.twitter.com/lzGJXJlOGC— Serge Gnabry (@SergeGnabry) April 20, 2018 3:51PM A tribute from an opponent Arsene Wenger built the best teams that I played against in English Football .The 98 team was Amazing.The biggest compliment is that he played football that made us change the way we played against them. He now deserves the most incredible send off from all in the coming weeks.— Gary Neville (@GNev2) April 20, 2018 3:36PM A trawl through the picture archive ... Has inspired this, 22 years in 11 photographs: Wenger at Arsenal gallery 3:17PM Sir Alex Ferguson pays tribute "I am really happy for Arsène Wenger. I have great respect for him and for the job he has done at Arsenal. It is great testament to his talent, professionalism and determination that has been able to dedicate 22 years of his life to a job that he loves. "In an era where football managers sometimes only last one or two seasons, it shows what an achievement it is to serve that length of time at a club the size of Arsenal. "I am pleased that he has announced he is leaving at this stage of the season, as he can now have the send-off that he truly deserves. "He is, without doubt, one the greatest Premier League managers and I am proud to have been a rival, a colleague and a friend to such a great man." 2:47PM Pep Guardiola tips his hat Luke Edwards reports from the Manchester City manager's press conference: “He has all my respect for what he has done. The Premier League is about huge personalities like Arsène, it is because of what he has done, his vision. “I wish him all the best in the future, I hope he can be involved in world football in a different way with his experience. Whether it is with Arsenal, Uefa, Fifa, or somewhere else, I don't know. It was a pleasure to compete against him here, with City, as well as Barcelona and Bayern. Pep Guardiola takes Manchester City training on Friday Credit: Victoria Haydn/Man City via Getty Images “It will be difficult for anyone to do what he has done at a top European club again. Sir Alex Ferguson did it at Manchester United, but it is so, so complicated. With the way social media is now, everybody has an opinion and can express it, you feel the pressure as a manager. “You can also feel pressure because staying in the Premier League is so important, then you have the sporting directors, who do not have a lot of patience. It will be so difficult to find a person who will be able to stay at a club for so long and do what Arsène has done.” 2:32PM 'Arsenal will unite behind Wenger now' Paul Matz, from the Arsenal Independent Supporters' Association, speaks to Telegraph Sport 2:06PM 'I have been talking well about him for a while' Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez, who has locked horns with Arsene Wenger plenty of times down the years in his time at Liverpool, Chelsea and on Tyneside, said this at today's press conference: "I have been talking well about him for a while. "To do things in the way that he has done and win the way he was winning, for so many years... we are talking about one of the best managers in football history." 2:01PM 'Like a father through tough times in my career' Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere posted this on Facebook: "To the man who gave me my chance as a 16-year-old, and showed unbelievable faith and commitment towards me. Always a gentleman, like a father through tough times in my career. He always believed in me when most people didn't. Thank you for everything boss! It's down to us now to end your era right. #onearsenewenger" Big shoes for anyone to fill,playing for Arsenal under Arsene was one of the best period of my career, 2 premiership, 2 FA cups, The invincibles, playing with some of the best assembled players,influencing millions of fans in Africa to support this great club. pic.twitter.com/tILZo70jBE— Kanu Nwankwo (@papilokanu) April 20, 2018 Personally a very sad day. I am forever in debt to this man. The person who had faith in me and gave me a platform to progress. Thank you for all the memories and trophies bosspic.twitter.com/EP26M6TP3W— Héctor Bellerín (@HectorBellerin) April 20, 2018 1:56PM 'He deserves respect from the whole world of football' Our man Matt Law was at Stamford Bridge today and asked Antonio Conte for his thoughts on Arsene Wenger. Reaction to Wenger? "My reaction... I think we must pay a great tribute to Arsene Wenger for his career. For his career at Arsenal. He and Ferguson, we're talking about the last two managers to stay for such a long time in a club. Arsene Wenger worked 22 years for Arsenal. I think that's great, it's a fantastic story. He won a lot at this club and, for this reason, I think he deserves a great tribute for his career." What was his influence in a footballing sense? "I think Arsene is one of the managers who had a great influence on football because, in every moment in his idea of football, he tried to play good football, creative and offensive football. He deserves great tribute also for this." How important is it that he gains that great tribute? "He deserves great respect. Not only from Arsenal supporters, but from the whole world of football. He deserves great respect. We are talking about one of the best managers in the world with a great and important career with Arsenal. He deserves a great tribute for his career. It would be very difficult to see in the future another manager staying for such a long time at the same club. I think, maybe, Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger were a really good story for football. Now it will be very difficult to see that again, another situation like this." 1:54PM 'A proper football man who lives and breathes it' David Moyes, whose West Ham side face Arsenal on Sunday, hailed Arsene Wenger's longevity. "He's been a great competitor, a terrific manager who has graced the Premier League for many years. "He's a proper football man who lives and breathes it. To do 22 years is an incredible achievement." 1:53PM 'There are not enough words for what he's done' Burnley boss Sean Dyche, who will be the second-longest serving current manager in the Premier League once Arsene Wenger stands down, has paid tribute to the Frenchman. "He is a legend of the game - the work that he's done will be remembered. "Some things that now seem normal and simple weren't at the time. Hydration in football sounds a simple thing but was not taken to a high level. Making sure the food they were eating was correct. Their health and well-being. "For youngish managers like myself there are not enough good words you can use for what he's done." 1:42PM 'It was a pleasure to compete against him' Pep Guardiola, manager of new Premier League champions Man City, has also spoken. "He is a huge personality. The Premier League is the Premier League because of what he has done and his vision. I wish him all the best for the future. "Hopefully he will be involved in a different way in world football. Of course it was a pleasure at Barcelona, Bayern Munich and here to compete against him." 1:39PM 'Arsenal fans will unite behind Wenger now' Paul Matz from the Arsenal Independent Supporters' Association, has told The Telegraph he believes the club will unite behind departing manager Arsene Wenger for the rest of the season as they focus on winning the Europa League. 1:37PM Mourinho asked about Wenger... wait for it Jose Mourinho has claimed that deep down he really respects Arsene Wenger and his various insults over the years did not reflect his true relationship with the Arsenal manager, who announced that he will leave the club at the end of the season. "If he's happy with the decision he makes and looks forward to the next chapter of his career and his life I'm really happy for him. If he's sad, I'm sad. I'm pretty sure as a club - and especially because Mr Wenger and Arsenal were for many, many years the biggest rivals of Sir Alex [Ferguson's] era - we will show Mr Wenger the respect he deserves." Asked whether he regretted many of his spats with Wenger, which were often characterised by the strength of Mourinho's response, he was dismissive. "It's not about regretting. I think your question is a typical question from somebody that was not a manager, not a player. Of course, you don't know the way we respect each other even when sometimes it doesn't look like we don't. "Players that get yellow cards and red cards by aggressive actions against each other, bad words during the career - the manager is the same thing. The ones that respect each other more are the ones with the problems. It's power against power; ambition against ambition; quality against quality. But in the end it's people from the same business who respect one another’s careers. "So it happened. What matters for me is the way I respect the person, the professional, the career. I always say that for some the memories are short, but for us football people - the real football people, the others live on us - don't have short memories. I know what it means, three Premier League titles and seven FA Cups, what he did in Japan and France, what he brought to French football. "[Also] What he gave to Arsenal in the period without Premier Leagues, the transition from stadium to stadium, we know what he did. If he's happy with the decision, I'm really happy and I hope he doesn't retire from football." 1:23PM Where it all began for Wenger Where it all began for Arsene Wenger in the #PL... pic.twitter.com/gbhqBu9LTq— Premier League (@premierleague) April 20, 2018 1:19PM The Top 10 longest-serving managers in Premier League history Arsene Wenger, Arsenal, October 1996 to May 2018 (21 years, seven months) Sir Alex Ferguson, Manchester United, August 1992 to May 2013 (20 years, nine months) David Moyes, Everton, March 2002 to May 2013 (11 years, two months) Harry Redknapp, West Ham, August 1994 to May 2001 (six years, eight months) Rafael Benitez, Liverpool, August 2004 to June 2010 (five years, 10 months) Alan Curbishley, Charlton, August 2000 to May 2006 (five years, nine months) Sam Allardyce, Bolton, August 2001 to April 2007 (five years, eight months) Gerard Houllier, Liverpool, November 1998 to May 2004 (five years, six months) Jim Smith, Derby, August 1996 to October 2001 (five years, two months) Sir Bobby Robson, Newcastle, September 1999 to August 2004 (four years, 11 months) 12:58PM 'One of the best in English football history' Premier League executive chairman Richard Scudamore offered his own tribute to Arsene Wenger. "It is hard to encapsulate the enormity of Arsene Wenger's contribution to Arsenal Football Club, the Premier League and football generally over these past 22 seasons. "All of Arsene's teams have been a joy to watch and his 2003-04 'Invincibles' will go down as one of the best in English football history." 12:50PM 'One major reason why I'm here is because of him' Club captain Per Mertesacker admitted it was "emotional" to find out that Arsene Wenger was set to depart. "We have just been informed basically. It is quite emotional. Obviously he has been at the club for such a long time, he has been so supportive to me. One major reason why I'm here is because of him. "It's been emotional and there will be time to digest it but it is a sad feeling right now." 12:47PM Wenger told players of his exit beforehand Arsene Wenger asked Arsenal to hold off announcing his decision to leave the club so he could inform his players first-hand. The news was announced this morning, with Wenger set to depart 12 months into a two-year deal. It is understood Wenger was keen to tell the Arsenal players himself and did so ahead of training at their London Colney base and minutes before the news was made public. His coaching staff were also informed of the decision in advance, although club staff working at the Emirates Stadium rather than the training ground discovered the news at the same time as everyone else. Wenger's surprise announcement came a day after he evaded questions over his future at his usual pre-match press conference. 12:36PM How many times did your team lose to Wenger's Arsenal? Was your club one of the teams Arsene Wenger had the wood over? How many times did your team lose to Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal? 12:35PM 'Today will mark the start of a new era for the club' Arsene Wenger's decision to leave Arsenal at the end of the season is good for all those involved, according to a leading supporters' group. Lois Langton, chair of the Arsenal Independent Supporters' Association, believes the timing is right and hailed Wenger as a "fantastic" manager in his day. "Without question, the announcement that Arsene Wenger will finally stand down at the end of this season is the right decision, both for the club and the manager, although, having been so long coming, it feels surreal that the day has finally arrived. "The problems associated with his tenure in recent years are well documented and now that the announcement has been made, there is nothing to be gained by going over old ground. "Arsene Wenger was, for a period of time, a fantastic manager for Arsenal. The Invincibles epitomise what he brought to the Club and, to that extent, his legacy will continue. "We have seen with Manchester City this season how difficult it is to go a league campaign undefeated. The 2003/2004 season in particular will forever be a source of pride and achievement. "It is now time to move on. We have a Europa League semi-final coming up against Atletico and a first success in Europe for Arsene Wenger would provide a fitting farewell. "Arsenal has a rich and wonderful heritage and today will mark the start of a new era for the club." 12:31PM Will Arsenal now raise their game against the Hammers? Arsenal play West Ham this Sunday. Here's our man Nick Callow's abbreviated preview: West Ham are not mathematically safe from relegation so Arsenal should fear a club they have lost to three times at Emirates Stadium. Arsenal can be pipped to sixth by Burnley, but Thursday's Europa Atletico Madrid semi-final will dictate Arsene Wenger's selection while David Moyes can go for broke. PREDICTION: 1-1 12:04PM VOTE: Who should Arsenal choose to replace Wenger? 11:55AM Where next for Wenger? Seeing as the man eats, drinks and sleeps football, it is highly unlikely he will walk off into the sunset and retire. The odds are now stacked in favour of him becoming the next Paris Saint-Germain manager, with Unai Emery expected to be shown the door by the Paris giants. Wenger would also be a a highly-popular choice given his profile in France and continuing analysis as a guest pundit for French TV. 11:48AM 'Name it the Arsene Wenger Stadium' Former Arsenal midfielder Paul Merson has urged fans to get behind the Frenchman for the rest of the season, starting with Sunday's home match against West Ham. "I think everybody can pay their respect to him now about how great he was as a manager. It's perfect timing. "I think it gives the fans (the chance) to pack the Emirates for the last few games of the season and have a right go. "If fans do not turn up against West Ham and pack that place out, they need serious questions asked about them and are they real Arsenal fans or are they glory-hunters?" Merson has also called for the Emirates Stadium to be renamed in Wenger's honour. "They should drop the Emirates bit - they don't need the money - and name it the Arsene Wenger Stadium. "That's his stadium. He built that. He made that stadium. Even if they called it the Emirates Arsene Wenger Stadium. He deserves to be on that." 11:44AM 'It shows the great dignity and class of the man' Spain and Chelsea's Cesc Fabregas, who burst in to the Arsenal starting line-up under Arsene Wenger, posted on Instagram... "Wow. I never expected that but it shows the great dignity and class of the man. I will never forget his guidance and support, his tutelage and mentorship. "He had faith in me from day one and I owe him a lot, he was like a father figure to me who always pushed me to be the best. Arsene, you deserve all the respect and happiness in the world. #classact" 11:43AM Inside information Ian Wright appeared to have been aware of the news before it was announced, tweeting a shocked face emoji around half an hour before the club's statement. — Ian Wright (@IanWright0) April 20, 2018 11:41AM Will it be Rodgers who replaces Wenger? Celtic majority shareholder Dermot Desmond has admitted he would let manager Brendan Rodgers speak to Arsenal if the Premier League club approached the Northern Irishman... "Absolutely. I don't think you can put handcuffs on anybody if they want to go to a club as good as Arsenal. "It will be Brendan's decision and Brendan's decision only." 11:33AM 'He moved the goalposts for everyone else' Southampton manager Mark Hughes believes it would be a "massive wrench" for Arsene Wenger to leave after so long in the post. "When you have had longevity in the game like Arsene has, and I have been in the Premier League for a long time, our paths have crossed on numerous occasions, we had a few run-ins but other times we were very civil and respectful of each other's efforts. "I had a good conversation with him two weeks ago, he looked very relaxed and chilled. "He came with different ideas, different views on how the game should be played, he moved the goalposts for everyone else, he came in and had success and everyone else had to catch up." 11:31AM 'Fans are celebrating like they've won the lottery' Former Arsenal goalkeeper David Seaman, Arsene Wenger's No 1 for the first seven years of his reign, is not happy with how some Gunners fans are reacting... "It's going to be good now, because there's going to be a chance he will get the send-off and the respect he deserves. The fans that are celebrating like they've won the lottery, it makes me a little bit angry if I'm honest. It's time to show respect and realise what he's done. "For me, he is Arsenal, and it's right that he's decided to leave on his own terms. "Now let's enjoy that. I hope all the fans that have stayed away now return because they've still got a chance of winning something this season. Get behind the team, get behind Arsenal, and show him the respect he deserves. "He's a gentleman. It's brilliant to be in his company. He's a really, really nice guy - and a lot of people don't see that. People say he's stubborn and this and that, but that's not true. It might have been true as a manager, but as a man he's a true gentleman. "When he came in he changed everything - the way we played, the diet... He revolutionised Arsenal. He was brilliant. For me, and especially for the back four - he added years to their careers." 11:05AM Wenger's Arsenal reign in numbers 1996 - the year when a then-unheralded Wenger, who had been in charge at Monaco and Japanese side Nagoya Grampus Eight, took over at Highbury. 1228 - games at the helm, ahead of Sunday's Premier League fixture against West Ham. 704 - wins to date as Arsenal boss. 3 - Premier League title wins, the last during an unbeaten Invincibles campaign of 2003/2004. 1549 - goals scored in Premier League matches by Wenger's teams. 10 - major trophies won. 473 - Premier League victories. 7 - FA Cup triumphs, with three of those having come the last four seasons. 151 - Premier League losses. 21 - full seasons in charge. 49 - games unbeaten in the Premier League from May 2003 to October 2004. 10:58AM Nearly 22 years in three minutes #MerciArsènepic.twitter.com/bjP0wLMgee— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) April 20, 2018 10:55AM How Twitter is reacting to Wenger leaving Unsurprisingly, frequent Arsene Wenger critic Piers Morgan has tweeted with a certain amount of relish... BREAKING: Wenger out. pic.twitter.com/HBuwQdY9aw— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) April 20, 2018 Fortunately, Gary Neville, the voice of reason, has said what many feel... Arsene Wenger built the best teams that I played against in English Football .The 98 team was Amazing.The biggest compliment is that he played football that made us change the way we played against them. He now deserves the most incredible send off from all in the coming weeks.— Gary Neville (@GNev2) April 20, 2018 Arsenal legend David Seaman has called on Gunners fans to give Wenger the send-off he deserves... Sad day for @Arsenal with Arsene leaving, can we now give him the send off/respect he deserves?!! #rememberthetrophies— David Seaman (@thedavidseaman) April 20, 2018 Journalist and TV presenter Robert Peston is suffering from mixed emotions... Such mixed feelings about Wenger resignation. I wanted him to go, but I miss him already. He was magnificent for us over many years, but it was time #Arsenal— Robert Peston (@Peston) April 20, 2018 Radio 1 DJ Greg James sees the funny side... BUT WHO GETS THE COAT?! I WANT THE COAT. SHOTGUN THE COAT. pic.twitter.com/C4qJEbO8YG— Greg James (@gregjames) April 20, 2018 Former Arsenal captain Tony Adams posted on Instagram: "Thanks for everything Arsene. Move over Herbert, Arsene Wenger the greatest Arsenal Manager." 10:50AM How fickle football can be It was expected that many Arsenal fans would boycott the club's remaining home games as a way of voicing their unhappiness at Arsene Wenger. BUT... Arsenal sure to be packed out for remaining games now— Matt Law (@Matt_Law_DT) April 20, 2018 10:36AM One word: longevity 823 - Arsene Wenger has managed more Premier League games than any other manager (823) and only Sir Alex Ferguson has won more games (528) than Wenger (473). Longevity. pic.twitter.com/ktdsaZPb1y— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 20, 2018 10:34AM Klopp hails Wenger Other Premier League manages are being asked for their thoughts on Arsene Wenger after today's momentous announcement. Here's what Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp says: "He is an influence in football. A fantastic career, outstanding personality. A big player in the business." 10:32AM How has it come to this? Arsene Wenger has won three Premier League titles during his spell of over 21 years at the helm, the last of which came as a result of the unbeaten 'Invincibles' season in 2003-04. No-one has won more FA Cups than the former Monaco boss, who was a shock appointment back in 1996. Protests against his reign picked up last season as the Gunners finished outside of the top four for the first time in a full campaign under Wenger's control. But despite the growing negativity, Wenger signed a new two-year deal last summer with the mandate of sustaining a title challenge. That failed miserably and, at the time of the announcement, Arsenal sit sixth in the table and 33 points adrift of newly-crowned champions Manchester City. 10:26AM Set your alarms for 5pm! Arsenal are holding a media conference with chief executive Ivan Gazidis at 5pm at the Emirates Stadium. 10:24AM Winterburn says 'time is right' Former Arsenal defender Nigel Winterburn believes the decision is the right one: "I think it's run its natural course. Arsene Wenger has been absolutely amazing for Arsenal Football Club. "It probably feels to me like it is the right time. When Arsene Wenger does step down, I think he will be remembered very, very fondly. We talk about the modern era, George Graham started it and Arsene Wenger's taken it to the next level. "When he leaves the football club, I think people will look back and really appreciate what Arsene Wenger has done." 10:05AM Who will replace him? Arsene Wenger will lead the team to the end of the season and the club say they will 'make an appointment as soon as possible'. Our Arsenal man - Jeremy Wilson - says these are the leading candidates: Leonardo Jardim, Mikel Arteta, Joachim Low, Brendan Rodgers, Max Allegri and Luis Enrique. 10:02AM 'Arsene has unparalleled class and we will always be grateful' Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke has issued the following statement: "This is one of the most difficult days we have ever had in all our years in sport. One of the main reasons we got involved with Arsenal was because of what Arsène has brought to the club on and off the pitch. His longevity and consistency over such a sustained period at the highest level of the game will never be matched. "Arsène has unparalleled class and we will always be grateful to him. Everyone who loves Arsenal and everyone who loves football owes him a debt of gratitude. Three Premier League titles, including an entire season unbeaten, seven FA Cup triumphs and 20 successive years in the Champions League is an exceptional record. He has also transformed the identity of our club and of English football with his vision for how the game can be played. "We have high ambitions to build on Arsène's remarkable tenure and to honour his vision by ensuring that Arsenal competes for and wins the biggest and most important prizes in the game. "We must now focus on making a strong finish to the season and ask our millions of fans around the world to join us in paying appropriate tribute to one of the greats of Arsenal's history and one of the greats of the game." 9:57AM BREAKING NEWS: Arsene Wenger leaving Arsenal Arsene Wenger has announced he is to step down as manager of Arsenal at the end of the season. "After careful consideration and following discussions with the club, I feel it is the right time for me to step down at the end of the season. "I am grateful for having had the privilege to serve the club for so many memorable years. "I managed the club with full commitment and integrity. "I want to thank the staff, the players, the Directors and the fans who make this club so special. "I urge our fans to stand behind the team to finish on a high. "To all the Arsenal lovers take care of the values of the club. "My love and support for ever."
Arsene Wenger leaving Arsenal at the end of the season Wenger's last match at Emirates on May 6 against Burnley Last Premier League match ever on May 13 against Huddersfield Arsenal to hold press conference with Ivan Gazidis at 5pm Mourinho speaks: "We'll show Mr Wenger respect he deserves" Why Wenger will enjoy great success in life after Arsenal Next Arsenal manager odds: Who will replace Wenger? How many times did your team lose to Wenger's Arsenal? Arsenal are promising to be “bold” and could again go left-field in replacing Arsene Wenger after the club’s most successful-ever manager decided to announce his departure amid the prospect of being sacked this summer. Wenger revealed on Friday morning that this would be his 22nd and last season as Arsenal manager and, while the timing of the public announcement was his, the wider backdrop was of the club already actively preparing for change. The clear expectation was that he would be asked to leave this summer and Wenger did not want to wait to be sacked. It was also felt that an early announcement would ensure that Wenger received a big unifying send-off and allow all sides to prepare for a future apart. It was noticeable that Gazidis would not answer on Friday whether he had wanted Wenger to stay or tried to persuade him to see out the remaining year on his contract. Wenger has shown no sign of wanting to retire from management and is expected to make a clear break and seek employment elsewhere. Gazidis has been assessing potential replacements for several years, but has now actively begun the search and wants to preserve many of Wenger’s values within a structure that gives the manager rather less power. End of an era | Wenger to leave Arsenal at end of season A new backroom team has already been assembled and, while Gazidis called it “our biggest ever challenge", he said the club had never been better prepared. Former Barcelona manager Luis Enrique and ex-Arsenal captain Mikel Arteta are thought to be the leading contenders to replace Wenger, while Monaco manager Leonardo Jardim, former Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti and Germany head coach Joachim Low are also in the running. A complication with Low will be his reluctance to do anything that could destabilise Germany’s defence of the World Cup. Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers would be interested and has admirers inside Arsenal, but there are concerns at how fans might respond to his appointment at a time when unity is desperately sought. Former Borussia Dortmund manager Thomas Tuchel is close to be appointed Paris St Germain, but Juventus manager Max Allegri is keen on eventually working in England and would be of interest if he is ready to move this summer. Gazidis noticeably highlighted how Arsenal appointed an unknown in Wenger way back in 1996. Guy Wenger “Replace Arsene? That’s not going to happen,” he said. “But we have to make sure we don’t lose his qualities and his values in the club and that we take them forward. So someone who will continue to play exciting, progressive football that gets people interested and excited in the games we play. How the candidate represents the club is important. “That value of giving youth a chance is also very important. I think we’ve got to be open-minded and brave in the decision. When Arsene was appointed, I don’t think he was on many people’s radar. We need to be bold in the appointment.” Wenger made the final decision to leave earlier this week and, after discussions with directors on Thursday, he personally informed his staff and the players on Friday morning. There were many tears both at the stadium and training ground, where club staff were said to be in a state of shock. Wenger has won three Premier League titles, an all-time record seven FA Cups, two doubles, reached the 2006 European Cup final and went the entire 2003-4 Premier League season undefeated. He also helped oversee the move from Highbury to the Emirates Stadium. Tributes were paid to Wenger on Friday from across sport, with his old adversary Sir Alex Ferguson saying that he was “proud to have been a rival, a colleague and a friend to such a great man." As ever, Wenger stressed the importance of maintaining the values he has embodied in his time in English football. Put simply, that is an entertaining playing style, opportunities for young players and a fiscal structure that safeguards the club’s long-term future. “After careful consideration and following discussions with the club, I feel it is the right time for me to step down at the end of the season,” said Wenger. “I am grateful for having had the privilege to serve the club for so many memorable years. I managed the club with full commitment and integrity. I urge our fans to stand behind the team to finish on a high. To all the Arsenal lovers take care of the values of the club. My love and support for ever.” Arsenal fan's view | 'All the bad feeling has disappeared' Arsenal’s majority owner, Stan Kroenke, has always been a massive supporter of Wenger and regarded this as perhaps the hardest moment in his time in professional sport. “This is one of the most difficult days we have ever had in all our years in sport,” he said. “One of the main reasons we got involved with Arsenal was because of what Arsène has brought to the club on and off the pitch. His longevity and consistency over such a sustained period at the highest level of the game will never be matched. “Arsène has unparalleled class and we will always be grateful to him. Everyone who loves Arsenal and everyone who loves football owes him a debt of gratitude. Three Premier League titles, including an entire season unbeaten, seven FA Cup triumphs and 20 successive years in the Champions League is an exceptional record. He has also transformed the identity of our club and of English football with his vision for how the game can be played.” Gazidis added: “Arsene is going to feel the full force of this club behind him over the next couple of weeks. Arsene changed the game. He set a totally new standard. A new ambition. An ambition not just to win, but to win while achieving perfection. To make art out of football. He was always brave enough to be true to that extraordinary ambition and incredibly he achieved it with Arsenal’s Invincibles season.“ 5:26PM Gazidis on his abiding memories of Wenger's reign: “There are great moments - the trophies, the FA Cups, the victory against Barcelona. But the memories I have of Arsene are of speaking to him in quiet moments. He’s an incredibly self-critical man who always gives others the benefit of the doubt. There’s a reason there is so much affection for him. He’s a special person.” 5:23PM Gazidis on the players' reaction: “I think from the reaction at the training ground today, what I felt was an incredible amount of passion to give Arsene the send off that he deserves. “The decision had to come at some point. Now it’s time for us to look forward.” 5:21PM Gazidis on Wenger's future: “Will he retire? He’s somebody who is in great shape and has a competitive edge but that’s a question for him.” 5:19PM Gazidis on the next Arsenal manager: "We're going to have a process around that. The process begins today but I want to keep that process in-house. I don't want to be making public comments about it. We haven't had any discussions to date regarding that." 5:18PM Gazidis on where Arsenal go next: “Our first priority is to come together as a club and we are seeing that today. Our players. staff and fans are behind this great man and we will give him the send off he deserves. I don’t underestimate that challenge but I am confident in the people we have in place to take Arsene’s vision forward and build on it.” "We are not going to find a replacement for Arsene Wenger" 5:16PM Gazidis on Wenger's immediate legacy “Arsene often said his aim was to leave the club in a better place than when he found out. We are in a better place than we could have ever imagined.” 5:15PM Gazidis on Wenger's inspiration: “Beyond football, he has inspired the people around him. He is able to make people believe that they can achieve great things. He inspired George Weah to believe he could not only become the world’s best football player, but to become the president of a nation. He has taken every challenge with humour and grace and class.” 5:15PM Gazidis on the Wenger philosophy: “Arsene changed the game. He set a totally new standard. A new ambition. Not just to win, but to win while achieving perfection - to make art. Incredibly, he achieved it with the Invincibles. Arsene has been brave enough to live by his philosophy. He’s made Arsenal throughout the world for the kind of football we play.” 5:14PM Gazidis on today's news: “Obviously this has been an emotional day for everyone. Now I have the impossible job of communicating that feeling. Typically, Arsene is not here as he is taking training. I will leave it to others to talk about the facts and figures of his tenure. There is something more coming out today. There is an affection from Arsenal fans and right across the sphere of football. I’ve had the pleasure of working alongside Arsene over the last 10 years.” 5:12PM Ivan Gazidis addresses the media... "Arsene changed the game. He set a totally new standard, a new ambition. Am ambition not just to win but to win while achieving perfection. To make art out of football." 4:42PM Jack Wilshere on the outgoing boss... "We need to send him off in the right way now" �� Turn your sound up and listen to this from @JackWilsherepic.twitter.com/aZ9UA5u0mo— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) April 20, 2018 "I'm sure when the dust settles, we have a few days to think about it, we'll start to reflect on it, but at the moment it's a bit raw, it's a bit sensitive." 4:08PM Thierry Henry on his former manager October 2002 and September's manager of the month congratulates the player of the month Credit: EDDIE KEOGH/PA I was a little mixed because it's a sad day for me to see the big man leave the club, although we all know he has matches left. I'm happy in a way that people can give him the farewell he deserves. His legacy is untouchable. Managers, fans from other teams - [they say] how Arsène changed Arsenal. I am happy that now we can all talk about his legacy. But we must not get carried away with celebrating the end of his time. The team must win the Europa League, it would be an incredible feat and Arsène has never won in Europe before, so it would be a good way to give him a nice goodbye. I remember when I was playing for Arsenal, people were talking about how we play, not what we won, but how we did it and how Arsène made Arsenal a club known in the whole world. If I could be the successor of Wenger? Look at me laughing. It's funny. One person to whom you can ask this question is Ivan Gazidis. He should answer the question. 3:57PM And a word from Germany From one he helped to make it (to Bayern Munich) 22 years @Arsenal - almost my whole lifetime. Impressive. Glad I could be a small part of it ���� #MerciArsène#Wengerpic.twitter.com/lzGJXJlOGC— Serge Gnabry (@SergeGnabry) April 20, 2018 3:51PM A tribute from an opponent Arsene Wenger built the best teams that I played against in English Football .The 98 team was Amazing.The biggest compliment is that he played football that made us change the way we played against them. He now deserves the most incredible send off from all in the coming weeks.— Gary Neville (@GNev2) April 20, 2018 3:36PM A trawl through the picture archive ... Has inspired this, 22 years in 11 photographs: Wenger at Arsenal gallery 3:17PM Sir Alex Ferguson pays tribute "I am really happy for Arsène Wenger. I have great respect for him and for the job he has done at Arsenal. It is great testament to his talent, professionalism and determination that has been able to dedicate 22 years of his life to a job that he loves. "In an era where football managers sometimes only last one or two seasons, it shows what an achievement it is to serve that length of time at a club the size of Arsenal. "I am pleased that he has announced he is leaving at this stage of the season, as he can now have the send-off that he truly deserves. "He is, without doubt, one the greatest Premier League managers and I am proud to have been a rival, a colleague and a friend to such a great man." 2:47PM Pep Guardiola tips his hat Luke Edwards reports from the Manchester City manager's press conference: “He has all my respect for what he has done. The Premier League is about huge personalities like Arsène, it is because of what he has done, his vision. “I wish him all the best in the future, I hope he can be involved in world football in a different way with his experience. Whether it is with Arsenal, Uefa, Fifa, or somewhere else, I don't know. It was a pleasure to compete against him here, with City, as well as Barcelona and Bayern. Pep Guardiola takes Manchester City training on Friday Credit: Victoria Haydn/Man City via Getty Images “It will be difficult for anyone to do what he has done at a top European club again. Sir Alex Ferguson did it at Manchester United, but it is so, so complicated. With the way social media is now, everybody has an opinion and can express it, you feel the pressure as a manager. “You can also feel pressure because staying in the Premier League is so important, then you have the sporting directors, who do not have a lot of patience. It will be so difficult to find a person who will be able to stay at a club for so long and do what Arsène has done.” 2:32PM 'Arsenal will unite behind Wenger now' Paul Matz, from the Arsenal Independent Supporters' Association, speaks to Telegraph Sport 2:06PM 'I have been talking well about him for a while' Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez, who has locked horns with Arsene Wenger plenty of times down the years in his time at Liverpool, Chelsea and on Tyneside, said this at today's press conference: "I have been talking well about him for a while. "To do things in the way that he has done and win the way he was winning, for so many years... we are talking about one of the best managers in football history." 2:01PM 'Like a father through tough times in my career' Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere posted this on Facebook: "To the man who gave me my chance as a 16-year-old, and showed unbelievable faith and commitment towards me. Always a gentleman, like a father through tough times in my career. He always believed in me when most people didn't. Thank you for everything boss! It's down to us now to end your era right. #onearsenewenger" Big shoes for anyone to fill,playing for Arsenal under Arsene was one of the best period of my career, 2 premiership, 2 FA cups, The invincibles, playing with some of the best assembled players,influencing millions of fans in Africa to support this great club. pic.twitter.com/tILZo70jBE— Kanu Nwankwo (@papilokanu) April 20, 2018 Personally a very sad day. I am forever in debt to this man. The person who had faith in me and gave me a platform to progress. Thank you for all the memories and trophies bosspic.twitter.com/EP26M6TP3W— Héctor Bellerín (@HectorBellerin) April 20, 2018 1:56PM 'He deserves respect from the whole world of football' Our man Matt Law was at Stamford Bridge today and asked Antonio Conte for his thoughts on Arsene Wenger. Reaction to Wenger? "My reaction... I think we must pay a great tribute to Arsene Wenger for his career. For his career at Arsenal. He and Ferguson, we're talking about the last two managers to stay for such a long time in a club. Arsene Wenger worked 22 years for Arsenal. I think that's great, it's a fantastic story. He won a lot at this club and, for this reason, I think he deserves a great tribute for his career." What was his influence in a footballing sense? "I think Arsene is one of the managers who had a great influence on football because, in every moment in his idea of football, he tried to play good football, creative and offensive football. He deserves great tribute also for this." How important is it that he gains that great tribute? "He deserves great respect. Not only from Arsenal supporters, but from the whole world of football. He deserves great respect. We are talking about one of the best managers in the world with a great and important career with Arsenal. He deserves a great tribute for his career. It would be very difficult to see in the future another manager staying for such a long time at the same club. I think, maybe, Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger were a really good story for football. Now it will be very difficult to see that again, another situation like this." 1:54PM 'A proper football man who lives and breathes it' David Moyes, whose West Ham side face Arsenal on Sunday, hailed Arsene Wenger's longevity. "He's been a great competitor, a terrific manager who has graced the Premier League for many years. "He's a proper football man who lives and breathes it. To do 22 years is an incredible achievement." 1:53PM 'There are not enough words for what he's done' Burnley boss Sean Dyche, who will be the second-longest serving current manager in the Premier League once Arsene Wenger stands down, has paid tribute to the Frenchman. "He is a legend of the game - the work that he's done will be remembered. "Some things that now seem normal and simple weren't at the time. Hydration in football sounds a simple thing but was not taken to a high level. Making sure the food they were eating was correct. Their health and well-being. "For youngish managers like myself there are not enough good words you can use for what he's done." 1:42PM 'It was a pleasure to compete against him' Pep Guardiola, manager of new Premier League champions Man City, has also spoken. "He is a huge personality. The Premier League is the Premier League because of what he has done and his vision. I wish him all the best for the future. "Hopefully he will be involved in a different way in world football. Of course it was a pleasure at Barcelona, Bayern Munich and here to compete against him." 1:39PM 'Arsenal fans will unite behind Wenger now' Paul Matz from the Arsenal Independent Supporters' Association, has told The Telegraph he believes the club will unite behind departing manager Arsene Wenger for the rest of the season as they focus on winning the Europa League. 1:37PM Mourinho asked about Wenger... wait for it Jose Mourinho has claimed that deep down he really respects Arsene Wenger and his various insults over the years did not reflect his true relationship with the Arsenal manager, who announced that he will leave the club at the end of the season. "If he's happy with the decision he makes and looks forward to the next chapter of his career and his life I'm really happy for him. If he's sad, I'm sad. I'm pretty sure as a club - and especially because Mr Wenger and Arsenal were for many, many years the biggest rivals of Sir Alex [Ferguson's] era - we will show Mr Wenger the respect he deserves." Asked whether he regretted many of his spats with Wenger, which were often characterised by the strength of Mourinho's response, he was dismissive. "It's not about regretting. I think your question is a typical question from somebody that was not a manager, not a player. Of course, you don't know the way we respect each other even when sometimes it doesn't look like we don't. "Players that get yellow cards and red cards by aggressive actions against each other, bad words during the career - the manager is the same thing. The ones that respect each other more are the ones with the problems. It's power against power; ambition against ambition; quality against quality. But in the end it's people from the same business who respect one another’s careers. "So it happened. What matters for me is the way I respect the person, the professional, the career. I always say that for some the memories are short, but for us football people - the real football people, the others live on us - don't have short memories. I know what it means, three Premier League titles and seven FA Cups, what he did in Japan and France, what he brought to French football. "[Also] What he gave to Arsenal in the period without Premier Leagues, the transition from stadium to stadium, we know what he did. If he's happy with the decision, I'm really happy and I hope he doesn't retire from football." 1:23PM Where it all began for Wenger Where it all began for Arsene Wenger in the #PL... pic.twitter.com/gbhqBu9LTq— Premier League (@premierleague) April 20, 2018 1:19PM The Top 10 longest-serving managers in Premier League history Arsene Wenger, Arsenal, October 1996 to May 2018 (21 years, seven months) Sir Alex Ferguson, Manchester United, August 1992 to May 2013 (20 years, nine months) David Moyes, Everton, March 2002 to May 2013 (11 years, two months) Harry Redknapp, West Ham, August 1994 to May 2001 (six years, eight months) Rafael Benitez, Liverpool, August 2004 to June 2010 (five years, 10 months) Alan Curbishley, Charlton, August 2000 to May 2006 (five years, nine months) Sam Allardyce, Bolton, August 2001 to April 2007 (five years, eight months) Gerard Houllier, Liverpool, November 1998 to May 2004 (five years, six months) Jim Smith, Derby, August 1996 to October 2001 (five years, two months) Sir Bobby Robson, Newcastle, September 1999 to August 2004 (four years, 11 months) 12:58PM 'One of the best in English football history' Premier League executive chairman Richard Scudamore offered his own tribute to Arsene Wenger. "It is hard to encapsulate the enormity of Arsene Wenger's contribution to Arsenal Football Club, the Premier League and football generally over these past 22 seasons. "All of Arsene's teams have been a joy to watch and his 2003-04 'Invincibles' will go down as one of the best in English football history." 12:50PM 'One major reason why I'm here is because of him' Club captain Per Mertesacker admitted it was "emotional" to find out that Arsene Wenger was set to depart. "We have just been informed basically. It is quite emotional. Obviously he has been at the club for such a long time, he has been so supportive to me. One major reason why I'm here is because of him. "It's been emotional and there will be time to digest it but it is a sad feeling right now." 12:47PM Wenger told players of his exit beforehand Arsene Wenger asked Arsenal to hold off announcing his decision to leave the club so he could inform his players first-hand. The news was announced this morning, with Wenger set to depart 12 months into a two-year deal. It is understood Wenger was keen to tell the Arsenal players himself and did so ahead of training at their London Colney base and minutes before the news was made public. His coaching staff were also informed of the decision in advance, although club staff working at the Emirates Stadium rather than the training ground discovered the news at the same time as everyone else. Wenger's surprise announcement came a day after he evaded questions over his future at his usual pre-match press conference. 12:36PM How many times did your team lose to Wenger's Arsenal? Was your club one of the teams Arsene Wenger had the wood over? How many times did your team lose to Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal? 12:35PM 'Today will mark the start of a new era for the club' Arsene Wenger's decision to leave Arsenal at the end of the season is good for all those involved, according to a leading supporters' group. Lois Langton, chair of the Arsenal Independent Supporters' Association, believes the timing is right and hailed Wenger as a "fantastic" manager in his day. "Without question, the announcement that Arsene Wenger will finally stand down at the end of this season is the right decision, both for the club and the manager, although, having been so long coming, it feels surreal that the day has finally arrived. "The problems associated with his tenure in recent years are well documented and now that the announcement has been made, there is nothing to be gained by going over old ground. "Arsene Wenger was, for a period of time, a fantastic manager for Arsenal. The Invincibles epitomise what he brought to the Club and, to that extent, his legacy will continue. "We have seen with Manchester City this season how difficult it is to go a league campaign undefeated. The 2003/2004 season in particular will forever be a source of pride and achievement. "It is now time to move on. We have a Europa League semi-final coming up against Atletico and a first success in Europe for Arsene Wenger would provide a fitting farewell. "Arsenal has a rich and wonderful heritage and today will mark the start of a new era for the club." 12:31PM Will Arsenal now raise their game against the Hammers? Arsenal play West Ham this Sunday. Here's our man Nick Callow's abbreviated preview: West Ham are not mathematically safe from relegation so Arsenal should fear a club they have lost to three times at Emirates Stadium. Arsenal can be pipped to sixth by Burnley, but Thursday's Europa Atletico Madrid semi-final will dictate Arsene Wenger's selection while David Moyes can go for broke. PREDICTION: 1-1 12:04PM VOTE: Who should Arsenal choose to replace Wenger? 11:55AM Where next for Wenger? Seeing as the man eats, drinks and sleeps football, it is highly unlikely he will walk off into the sunset and retire. The odds are now stacked in favour of him becoming the next Paris Saint-Germain manager, with Unai Emery expected to be shown the door by the Paris giants. Wenger would also be a a highly-popular choice given his profile in France and continuing analysis as a guest pundit for French TV. 11:48AM 'Name it the Arsene Wenger Stadium' Former Arsenal midfielder Paul Merson has urged fans to get behind the Frenchman for the rest of the season, starting with Sunday's home match against West Ham. "I think everybody can pay their respect to him now about how great he was as a manager. It's perfect timing. "I think it gives the fans (the chance) to pack the Emirates for the last few games of the season and have a right go. "If fans do not turn up against West Ham and pack that place out, they need serious questions asked about them and are they real Arsenal fans or are they glory-hunters?" Merson has also called for the Emirates Stadium to be renamed in Wenger's honour. "They should drop the Emirates bit - they don't need the money - and name it the Arsene Wenger Stadium. "That's his stadium. He built that. He made that stadium. Even if they called it the Emirates Arsene Wenger Stadium. He deserves to be on that." 11:44AM 'It shows the great dignity and class of the man' Spain and Chelsea's Cesc Fabregas, who burst in to the Arsenal starting line-up under Arsene Wenger, posted on Instagram... "Wow. I never expected that but it shows the great dignity and class of the man. I will never forget his guidance and support, his tutelage and mentorship. "He had faith in me from day one and I owe him a lot, he was like a father figure to me who always pushed me to be the best. Arsene, you deserve all the respect and happiness in the world. #classact" 11:43AM Inside information Ian Wright appeared to have been aware of the news before it was announced, tweeting a shocked face emoji around half an hour before the club's statement. — Ian Wright (@IanWright0) April 20, 2018 11:41AM Will it be Rodgers who replaces Wenger? Celtic majority shareholder Dermot Desmond has admitted he would let manager Brendan Rodgers speak to Arsenal if the Premier League club approached the Northern Irishman... "Absolutely. I don't think you can put handcuffs on anybody if they want to go to a club as good as Arsenal. "It will be Brendan's decision and Brendan's decision only." 11:33AM 'He moved the goalposts for everyone else' Southampton manager Mark Hughes believes it would be a "massive wrench" for Arsene Wenger to leave after so long in the post. "When you have had longevity in the game like Arsene has, and I have been in the Premier League for a long time, our paths have crossed on numerous occasions, we had a few run-ins but other times we were very civil and respectful of each other's efforts. "I had a good conversation with him two weeks ago, he looked very relaxed and chilled. "He came with different ideas, different views on how the game should be played, he moved the goalposts for everyone else, he came in and had success and everyone else had to catch up." 11:31AM 'Fans are celebrating like they've won the lottery' Former Arsenal goalkeeper David Seaman, Arsene Wenger's No 1 for the first seven years of his reign, is not happy with how some Gunners fans are reacting... "It's going to be good now, because there's going to be a chance he will get the send-off and the respect he deserves. The fans that are celebrating like they've won the lottery, it makes me a little bit angry if I'm honest. It's time to show respect and realise what he's done. "For me, he is Arsenal, and it's right that he's decided to leave on his own terms. "Now let's enjoy that. I hope all the fans that have stayed away now return because they've still got a chance of winning something this season. Get behind the team, get behind Arsenal, and show him the respect he deserves. "He's a gentleman. It's brilliant to be in his company. He's a really, really nice guy - and a lot of people don't see that. People say he's stubborn and this and that, but that's not true. It might have been true as a manager, but as a man he's a true gentleman. "When he came in he changed everything - the way we played, the diet... He revolutionised Arsenal. He was brilliant. For me, and especially for the back four - he added years to their careers." 11:05AM Wenger's Arsenal reign in numbers 1996 - the year when a then-unheralded Wenger, who had been in charge at Monaco and Japanese side Nagoya Grampus Eight, took over at Highbury. 1228 - games at the helm, ahead of Sunday's Premier League fixture against West Ham. 704 - wins to date as Arsenal boss. 3 - Premier League title wins, the last during an unbeaten Invincibles campaign of 2003/2004. 1549 - goals scored in Premier League matches by Wenger's teams. 10 - major trophies won. 473 - Premier League victories. 7 - FA Cup triumphs, with three of those having come the last four seasons. 151 - Premier League losses. 21 - full seasons in charge. 49 - games unbeaten in the Premier League from May 2003 to October 2004. 10:58AM Nearly 22 years in three minutes #MerciArsènepic.twitter.com/bjP0wLMgee— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) April 20, 2018 10:55AM How Twitter is reacting to Wenger leaving Unsurprisingly, frequent Arsene Wenger critic Piers Morgan has tweeted with a certain amount of relish... BREAKING: Wenger out. pic.twitter.com/HBuwQdY9aw— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) April 20, 2018 Fortunately, Gary Neville, the voice of reason, has said what many feel... Arsene Wenger built the best teams that I played against in English Football .The 98 team was Amazing.The biggest compliment is that he played football that made us change the way we played against them. He now deserves the most incredible send off from all in the coming weeks.— Gary Neville (@GNev2) April 20, 2018 Arsenal legend David Seaman has called on Gunners fans to give Wenger the send-off he deserves... Sad day for @Arsenal with Arsene leaving, can we now give him the send off/respect he deserves?!! #rememberthetrophies— David Seaman (@thedavidseaman) April 20, 2018 Journalist and TV presenter Robert Peston is suffering from mixed emotions... Such mixed feelings about Wenger resignation. I wanted him to go, but I miss him already. He was magnificent for us over many years, but it was time #Arsenal— Robert Peston (@Peston) April 20, 2018 Radio 1 DJ Greg James sees the funny side... BUT WHO GETS THE COAT?! I WANT THE COAT. SHOTGUN THE COAT. pic.twitter.com/C4qJEbO8YG— Greg James (@gregjames) April 20, 2018 Former Arsenal captain Tony Adams posted on Instagram: "Thanks for everything Arsene. Move over Herbert, Arsene Wenger the greatest Arsenal Manager." 10:50AM How fickle football can be It was expected that many Arsenal fans would boycott the club's remaining home games as a way of voicing their unhappiness at Arsene Wenger. BUT... Arsenal sure to be packed out for remaining games now— Matt Law (@Matt_Law_DT) April 20, 2018 10:36AM One word: longevity 823 - Arsene Wenger has managed more Premier League games than any other manager (823) and only Sir Alex Ferguson has won more games (528) than Wenger (473). Longevity. pic.twitter.com/ktdsaZPb1y— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 20, 2018 10:34AM Klopp hails Wenger Other Premier League manages are being asked for their thoughts on Arsene Wenger after today's momentous announcement. Here's what Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp says: "He is an influence in football. A fantastic career, outstanding personality. A big player in the business." 10:32AM How has it come to this? Arsene Wenger has won three Premier League titles during his spell of over 21 years at the helm, the last of which came as a result of the unbeaten 'Invincibles' season in 2003-04. No-one has won more FA Cups than the former Monaco boss, who was a shock appointment back in 1996. Protests against his reign picked up last season as the Gunners finished outside of the top four for the first time in a full campaign under Wenger's control. But despite the growing negativity, Wenger signed a new two-year deal last summer with the mandate of sustaining a title challenge. That failed miserably and, at the time of the announcement, Arsenal sit sixth in the table and 33 points adrift of newly-crowned champions Manchester City. 10:26AM Set your alarms for 5pm! Arsenal are holding a media conference with chief executive Ivan Gazidis at 5pm at the Emirates Stadium. 10:24AM Winterburn says 'time is right' Former Arsenal defender Nigel Winterburn believes the decision is the right one: "I think it's run its natural course. Arsene Wenger has been absolutely amazing for Arsenal Football Club. "It probably feels to me like it is the right time. When Arsene Wenger does step down, I think he will be remembered very, very fondly. We talk about the modern era, George Graham started it and Arsene Wenger's taken it to the next level. "When he leaves the football club, I think people will look back and really appreciate what Arsene Wenger has done." 10:05AM Who will replace him? Arsene Wenger will lead the team to the end of the season and the club say they will 'make an appointment as soon as possible'. Our Arsenal man - Jeremy Wilson - says these are the leading candidates: Leonardo Jardim, Mikel Arteta, Joachim Low, Brendan Rodgers, Max Allegri and Luis Enrique. 10:02AM 'Arsene has unparalleled class and we will always be grateful' Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke has issued the following statement: "This is one of the most difficult days we have ever had in all our years in sport. One of the main reasons we got involved with Arsenal was because of what Arsène has brought to the club on and off the pitch. His longevity and consistency over such a sustained period at the highest level of the game will never be matched. "Arsène has unparalleled class and we will always be grateful to him. Everyone who loves Arsenal and everyone who loves football owes him a debt of gratitude. Three Premier League titles, including an entire season unbeaten, seven FA Cup triumphs and 20 successive years in the Champions League is an exceptional record. He has also transformed the identity of our club and of English football with his vision for how the game can be played. "We have high ambitions to build on Arsène's remarkable tenure and to honour his vision by ensuring that Arsenal competes for and wins the biggest and most important prizes in the game. "We must now focus on making a strong finish to the season and ask our millions of fans around the world to join us in paying appropriate tribute to one of the greats of Arsenal's history and one of the greats of the game." 9:57AM BREAKING NEWS: Arsene Wenger leaving Arsenal Arsene Wenger has announced he is to step down as manager of Arsenal at the end of the season. "After careful consideration and following discussions with the club, I feel it is the right time for me to step down at the end of the season. "I am grateful for having had the privilege to serve the club for so many memorable years. "I managed the club with full commitment and integrity. "I want to thank the staff, the players, the Directors and the fans who make this club so special. "I urge our fans to stand behind the team to finish on a high. "To all the Arsenal lovers take care of the values of the club. "My love and support for ever."
Arsenal prepare for 'biggest ever challenge' to replace outgoing Arsene Wenger after 22 years in charge
Arsene Wenger leaving Arsenal at the end of the season Wenger's last match at Emirates on May 6 against Burnley Last Premier League match ever on May 13 against Huddersfield Arsenal to hold press conference with Ivan Gazidis at 5pm Mourinho speaks: "We'll show Mr Wenger respect he deserves" Why Wenger will enjoy great success in life after Arsenal Next Arsenal manager odds: Who will replace Wenger? How many times did your team lose to Wenger's Arsenal? Arsenal are promising to be “bold” and could again go left-field in replacing Arsene Wenger after the club’s most successful-ever manager decided to announce his departure amid the prospect of being sacked this summer. Wenger revealed on Friday morning that this would be his 22nd and last season as Arsenal manager and, while the timing of the public announcement was his, the wider backdrop was of the club already actively preparing for change. The clear expectation was that he would be asked to leave this summer and Wenger did not want to wait to be sacked. It was also felt that an early announcement would ensure that Wenger received a big unifying send-off and allow all sides to prepare for a future apart. It was noticeable that Gazidis would not answer on Friday whether he had wanted Wenger to stay or tried to persuade him to see out the remaining year on his contract. Wenger has shown no sign of wanting to retire from management and is expected to make a clear break and seek employment elsewhere. Gazidis has been assessing potential replacements for several years, but has now actively begun the search and wants to preserve many of Wenger’s values within a structure that gives the manager rather less power. End of an era | Wenger to leave Arsenal at end of season A new backroom team has already been assembled and, while Gazidis called it “our biggest ever challenge", he said the club had never been better prepared. Former Barcelona manager Luis Enrique and ex-Arsenal captain Mikel Arteta are thought to be the leading contenders to replace Wenger, while Monaco manager Leonardo Jardim, former Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti and Germany head coach Joachim Low are also in the running. A complication with Low will be his reluctance to do anything that could destabilise Germany’s defence of the World Cup. Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers would be interested and has admirers inside Arsenal, but there are concerns at how fans might respond to his appointment at a time when unity is desperately sought. Former Borussia Dortmund manager Thomas Tuchel is close to be appointed Paris St Germain, but Juventus manager Max Allegri is keen on eventually working in England and would be of interest if he is ready to move this summer. Gazidis noticeably highlighted how Arsenal appointed an unknown in Wenger way back in 1996. Guy Wenger “Replace Arsene? That’s not going to happen,” he said. “But we have to make sure we don’t lose his qualities and his values in the club and that we take them forward. So someone who will continue to play exciting, progressive football that gets people interested and excited in the games we play. How the candidate represents the club is important. “That value of giving youth a chance is also very important. I think we’ve got to be open-minded and brave in the decision. When Arsene was appointed, I don’t think he was on many people’s radar. We need to be bold in the appointment.” Wenger made the final decision to leave earlier this week and, after discussions with directors on Thursday, he personally informed his staff and the players on Friday morning. There were many tears both at the stadium and training ground, where club staff were said to be in a state of shock. Wenger has won three Premier League titles, an all-time record seven FA Cups, two doubles, reached the 2006 European Cup final and went the entire 2003-4 Premier League season undefeated. He also helped oversee the move from Highbury to the Emirates Stadium. Tributes were paid to Wenger on Friday from across sport, with his old adversary Sir Alex Ferguson saying that he was “proud to have been a rival, a colleague and a friend to such a great man." As ever, Wenger stressed the importance of maintaining the values he has embodied in his time in English football. Put simply, that is an entertaining playing style, opportunities for young players and a fiscal structure that safeguards the club’s long-term future. “After careful consideration and following discussions with the club, I feel it is the right time for me to step down at the end of the season,” said Wenger. “I am grateful for having had the privilege to serve the club for so many memorable years. I managed the club with full commitment and integrity. I urge our fans to stand behind the team to finish on a high. To all the Arsenal lovers take care of the values of the club. My love and support for ever.” Arsenal fan's view | 'All the bad feeling has disappeared' Arsenal’s majority owner, Stan Kroenke, has always been a massive supporter of Wenger and regarded this as perhaps the hardest moment in his time in professional sport. “This is one of the most difficult days we have ever had in all our years in sport,” he said. “One of the main reasons we got involved with Arsenal was because of what Arsène has brought to the club on and off the pitch. His longevity and consistency over such a sustained period at the highest level of the game will never be matched. “Arsène has unparalleled class and we will always be grateful to him. Everyone who loves Arsenal and everyone who loves football owes him a debt of gratitude. Three Premier League titles, including an entire season unbeaten, seven FA Cup triumphs and 20 successive years in the Champions League is an exceptional record. He has also transformed the identity of our club and of English football with his vision for how the game can be played.” Gazidis added: “Arsene is going to feel the full force of this club behind him over the next couple of weeks. Arsene changed the game. He set a totally new standard. A new ambition. An ambition not just to win, but to win while achieving perfection. To make art out of football. He was always brave enough to be true to that extraordinary ambition and incredibly he achieved it with Arsenal’s Invincibles season.“ 5:26PM Gazidis on his abiding memories of Wenger's reign: “There are great moments - the trophies, the FA Cups, the victory against Barcelona. But the memories I have of Arsene are of speaking to him in quiet moments. He’s an incredibly self-critical man who always gives others the benefit of the doubt. There’s a reason there is so much affection for him. He’s a special person.” 5:23PM Gazidis on the players' reaction: “I think from the reaction at the training ground today, what I felt was an incredible amount of passion to give Arsene the send off that he deserves. “The decision had to come at some point. Now it’s time for us to look forward.” 5:21PM Gazidis on Wenger's future: “Will he retire? He’s somebody who is in great shape and has a competitive edge but that’s a question for him.” 5:19PM Gazidis on the next Arsenal manager: "We're going to have a process around that. The process begins today but I want to keep that process in-house. I don't want to be making public comments about it. We haven't had any discussions to date regarding that." 5:18PM Gazidis on where Arsenal go next: “Our first priority is to come together as a club and we are seeing that today. Our players. staff and fans are behind this great man and we will give him the send off he deserves. I don’t underestimate that challenge but I am confident in the people we have in place to take Arsene’s vision forward and build on it.” "We are not going to find a replacement for Arsene Wenger" 5:16PM Gazidis on Wenger's immediate legacy “Arsene often said his aim was to leave the club in a better place than when he found out. We are in a better place than we could have ever imagined.” 5:15PM Gazidis on Wenger's inspiration: “Beyond football, he has inspired the people around him. He is able to make people believe that they can achieve great things. He inspired George Weah to believe he could not only become the world’s best football player, but to become the president of a nation. He has taken every challenge with humour and grace and class.” 5:15PM Gazidis on the Wenger philosophy: “Arsene changed the game. He set a totally new standard. A new ambition. Not just to win, but to win while achieving perfection - to make art. Incredibly, he achieved it with the Invincibles. Arsene has been brave enough to live by his philosophy. He’s made Arsenal throughout the world for the kind of football we play.” 5:14PM Gazidis on today's news: “Obviously this has been an emotional day for everyone. Now I have the impossible job of communicating that feeling. Typically, Arsene is not here as he is taking training. I will leave it to others to talk about the facts and figures of his tenure. There is something more coming out today. There is an affection from Arsenal fans and right across the sphere of football. I’ve had the pleasure of working alongside Arsene over the last 10 years.” 5:12PM Ivan Gazidis addresses the media... "Arsene changed the game. He set a totally new standard, a new ambition. Am ambition not just to win but to win while achieving perfection. To make art out of football." 4:42PM Jack Wilshere on the outgoing boss... "We need to send him off in the right way now" �� Turn your sound up and listen to this from @JackWilsherepic.twitter.com/aZ9UA5u0mo— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) April 20, 2018 "I'm sure when the dust settles, we have a few days to think about it, we'll start to reflect on it, but at the moment it's a bit raw, it's a bit sensitive." 4:08PM Thierry Henry on his former manager October 2002 and September's manager of the month congratulates the player of the month Credit: EDDIE KEOGH/PA I was a little mixed because it's a sad day for me to see the big man leave the club, although we all know he has matches left. I'm happy in a way that people can give him the farewell he deserves. His legacy is untouchable. Managers, fans from other teams - [they say] how Arsène changed Arsenal. I am happy that now we can all talk about his legacy. But we must not get carried away with celebrating the end of his time. The team must win the Europa League, it would be an incredible feat and Arsène has never won in Europe before, so it would be a good way to give him a nice goodbye. I remember when I was playing for Arsenal, people were talking about how we play, not what we won, but how we did it and how Arsène made Arsenal a club known in the whole world. If I could be the successor of Wenger? Look at me laughing. It's funny. One person to whom you can ask this question is Ivan Gazidis. He should answer the question. 3:57PM And a word from Germany From one he helped to make it (to Bayern Munich) 22 years @Arsenal - almost my whole lifetime. Impressive. Glad I could be a small part of it ���� #MerciArsène#Wengerpic.twitter.com/lzGJXJlOGC— Serge Gnabry (@SergeGnabry) April 20, 2018 3:51PM A tribute from an opponent Arsene Wenger built the best teams that I played against in English Football .The 98 team was Amazing.The biggest compliment is that he played football that made us change the way we played against them. He now deserves the most incredible send off from all in the coming weeks.— Gary Neville (@GNev2) April 20, 2018 3:36PM A trawl through the picture archive ... Has inspired this, 22 years in 11 photographs: Wenger at Arsenal gallery 3:17PM Sir Alex Ferguson pays tribute "I am really happy for Arsène Wenger. I have great respect for him and for the job he has done at Arsenal. It is great testament to his talent, professionalism and determination that has been able to dedicate 22 years of his life to a job that he loves. "In an era where football managers sometimes only last one or two seasons, it shows what an achievement it is to serve that length of time at a club the size of Arsenal. "I am pleased that he has announced he is leaving at this stage of the season, as he can now have the send-off that he truly deserves. "He is, without doubt, one the greatest Premier League managers and I am proud to have been a rival, a colleague and a friend to such a great man." 2:47PM Pep Guardiola tips his hat Luke Edwards reports from the Manchester City manager's press conference: “He has all my respect for what he has done. The Premier League is about huge personalities like Arsène, it is because of what he has done, his vision. “I wish him all the best in the future, I hope he can be involved in world football in a different way with his experience. Whether it is with Arsenal, Uefa, Fifa, or somewhere else, I don't know. It was a pleasure to compete against him here, with City, as well as Barcelona and Bayern. Pep Guardiola takes Manchester City training on Friday Credit: Victoria Haydn/Man City via Getty Images “It will be difficult for anyone to do what he has done at a top European club again. Sir Alex Ferguson did it at Manchester United, but it is so, so complicated. With the way social media is now, everybody has an opinion and can express it, you feel the pressure as a manager. “You can also feel pressure because staying in the Premier League is so important, then you have the sporting directors, who do not have a lot of patience. It will be so difficult to find a person who will be able to stay at a club for so long and do what Arsène has done.” 2:32PM 'Arsenal will unite behind Wenger now' Paul Matz, from the Arsenal Independent Supporters' Association, speaks to Telegraph Sport 2:06PM 'I have been talking well about him for a while' Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez, who has locked horns with Arsene Wenger plenty of times down the years in his time at Liverpool, Chelsea and on Tyneside, said this at today's press conference: "I have been talking well about him for a while. "To do things in the way that he has done and win the way he was winning, for so many years... we are talking about one of the best managers in football history." 2:01PM 'Like a father through tough times in my career' Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere posted this on Facebook: "To the man who gave me my chance as a 16-year-old, and showed unbelievable faith and commitment towards me. Always a gentleman, like a father through tough times in my career. He always believed in me when most people didn't. Thank you for everything boss! It's down to us now to end your era right. #onearsenewenger" Big shoes for anyone to fill,playing for Arsenal under Arsene was one of the best period of my career, 2 premiership, 2 FA cups, The invincibles, playing with some of the best assembled players,influencing millions of fans in Africa to support this great club. pic.twitter.com/tILZo70jBE— Kanu Nwankwo (@papilokanu) April 20, 2018 Personally a very sad day. I am forever in debt to this man. The person who had faith in me and gave me a platform to progress. Thank you for all the memories and trophies bosspic.twitter.com/EP26M6TP3W— Héctor Bellerín (@HectorBellerin) April 20, 2018 1:56PM 'He deserves respect from the whole world of football' Our man Matt Law was at Stamford Bridge today and asked Antonio Conte for his thoughts on Arsene Wenger. Reaction to Wenger? "My reaction... I think we must pay a great tribute to Arsene Wenger for his career. For his career at Arsenal. He and Ferguson, we're talking about the last two managers to stay for such a long time in a club. Arsene Wenger worked 22 years for Arsenal. I think that's great, it's a fantastic story. He won a lot at this club and, for this reason, I think he deserves a great tribute for his career." What was his influence in a footballing sense? "I think Arsene is one of the managers who had a great influence on football because, in every moment in his idea of football, he tried to play good football, creative and offensive football. He deserves great tribute also for this." How important is it that he gains that great tribute? "He deserves great respect. Not only from Arsenal supporters, but from the whole world of football. He deserves great respect. We are talking about one of the best managers in the world with a great and important career with Arsenal. He deserves a great tribute for his career. It would be very difficult to see in the future another manager staying for such a long time at the same club. I think, maybe, Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger were a really good story for football. Now it will be very difficult to see that again, another situation like this." 1:54PM 'A proper football man who lives and breathes it' David Moyes, whose West Ham side face Arsenal on Sunday, hailed Arsene Wenger's longevity. "He's been a great competitor, a terrific manager who has graced the Premier League for many years. "He's a proper football man who lives and breathes it. To do 22 years is an incredible achievement." 1:53PM 'There are not enough words for what he's done' Burnley boss Sean Dyche, who will be the second-longest serving current manager in the Premier League once Arsene Wenger stands down, has paid tribute to the Frenchman. "He is a legend of the game - the work that he's done will be remembered. "Some things that now seem normal and simple weren't at the time. Hydration in football sounds a simple thing but was not taken to a high level. Making sure the food they were eating was correct. Their health and well-being. "For youngish managers like myself there are not enough good words you can use for what he's done." 1:42PM 'It was a pleasure to compete against him' Pep Guardiola, manager of new Premier League champions Man City, has also spoken. "He is a huge personality. The Premier League is the Premier League because of what he has done and his vision. I wish him all the best for the future. "Hopefully he will be involved in a different way in world football. Of course it was a pleasure at Barcelona, Bayern Munich and here to compete against him." 1:39PM 'Arsenal fans will unite behind Wenger now' Paul Matz from the Arsenal Independent Supporters' Association, has told The Telegraph he believes the club will unite behind departing manager Arsene Wenger for the rest of the season as they focus on winning the Europa League. 1:37PM Mourinho asked about Wenger... wait for it Jose Mourinho has claimed that deep down he really respects Arsene Wenger and his various insults over the years did not reflect his true relationship with the Arsenal manager, who announced that he will leave the club at the end of the season. "If he's happy with the decision he makes and looks forward to the next chapter of his career and his life I'm really happy for him. If he's sad, I'm sad. I'm pretty sure as a club - and especially because Mr Wenger and Arsenal were for many, many years the biggest rivals of Sir Alex [Ferguson's] era - we will show Mr Wenger the respect he deserves." Asked whether he regretted many of his spats with Wenger, which were often characterised by the strength of Mourinho's response, he was dismissive. "It's not about regretting. I think your question is a typical question from somebody that was not a manager, not a player. Of course, you don't know the way we respect each other even when sometimes it doesn't look like we don't. "Players that get yellow cards and red cards by aggressive actions against each other, bad words during the career - the manager is the same thing. The ones that respect each other more are the ones with the problems. It's power against power; ambition against ambition; quality against quality. But in the end it's people from the same business who respect one another’s careers. "So it happened. What matters for me is the way I respect the person, the professional, the career. I always say that for some the memories are short, but for us football people - the real football people, the others live on us - don't have short memories. I know what it means, three Premier League titles and seven FA Cups, what he did in Japan and France, what he brought to French football. "[Also] What he gave to Arsenal in the period without Premier Leagues, the transition from stadium to stadium, we know what he did. If he's happy with the decision, I'm really happy and I hope he doesn't retire from football." 1:23PM Where it all began for Wenger Where it all began for Arsene Wenger in the #PL... pic.twitter.com/gbhqBu9LTq— Premier League (@premierleague) April 20, 2018 1:19PM The Top 10 longest-serving managers in Premier League history Arsene Wenger, Arsenal, October 1996 to May 2018 (21 years, seven months) Sir Alex Ferguson, Manchester United, August 1992 to May 2013 (20 years, nine months) David Moyes, Everton, March 2002 to May 2013 (11 years, two months) Harry Redknapp, West Ham, August 1994 to May 2001 (six years, eight months) Rafael Benitez, Liverpool, August 2004 to June 2010 (five years, 10 months) Alan Curbishley, Charlton, August 2000 to May 2006 (five years, nine months) Sam Allardyce, Bolton, August 2001 to April 2007 (five years, eight months) Gerard Houllier, Liverpool, November 1998 to May 2004 (five years, six months) Jim Smith, Derby, August 1996 to October 2001 (five years, two months) Sir Bobby Robson, Newcastle, September 1999 to August 2004 (four years, 11 months) 12:58PM 'One of the best in English football history' Premier League executive chairman Richard Scudamore offered his own tribute to Arsene Wenger. "It is hard to encapsulate the enormity of Arsene Wenger's contribution to Arsenal Football Club, the Premier League and football generally over these past 22 seasons. "All of Arsene's teams have been a joy to watch and his 2003-04 'Invincibles' will go down as one of the best in English football history." 12:50PM 'One major reason why I'm here is because of him' Club captain Per Mertesacker admitted it was "emotional" to find out that Arsene Wenger was set to depart. "We have just been informed basically. It is quite emotional. Obviously he has been at the club for such a long time, he has been so supportive to me. One major reason why I'm here is because of him. "It's been emotional and there will be time to digest it but it is a sad feeling right now." 12:47PM Wenger told players of his exit beforehand Arsene Wenger asked Arsenal to hold off announcing his decision to leave the club so he could inform his players first-hand. The news was announced this morning, with Wenger set to depart 12 months into a two-year deal. It is understood Wenger was keen to tell the Arsenal players himself and did so ahead of training at their London Colney base and minutes before the news was made public. His coaching staff were also informed of the decision in advance, although club staff working at the Emirates Stadium rather than the training ground discovered the news at the same time as everyone else. Wenger's surprise announcement came a day after he evaded questions over his future at his usual pre-match press conference. 12:36PM How many times did your team lose to Wenger's Arsenal? Was your club one of the teams Arsene Wenger had the wood over? How many times did your team lose to Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal? 12:35PM 'Today will mark the start of a new era for the club' Arsene Wenger's decision to leave Arsenal at the end of the season is good for all those involved, according to a leading supporters' group. Lois Langton, chair of the Arsenal Independent Supporters' Association, believes the timing is right and hailed Wenger as a "fantastic" manager in his day. "Without question, the announcement that Arsene Wenger will finally stand down at the end of this season is the right decision, both for the club and the manager, although, having been so long coming, it feels surreal that the day has finally arrived. "The problems associated with his tenure in recent years are well documented and now that the announcement has been made, there is nothing to be gained by going over old ground. "Arsene Wenger was, for a period of time, a fantastic manager for Arsenal. The Invincibles epitomise what he brought to the Club and, to that extent, his legacy will continue. "We have seen with Manchester City this season how difficult it is to go a league campaign undefeated. The 2003/2004 season in particular will forever be a source of pride and achievement. "It is now time to move on. We have a Europa League semi-final coming up against Atletico and a first success in Europe for Arsene Wenger would provide a fitting farewell. "Arsenal has a rich and wonderful heritage and today will mark the start of a new era for the club." 12:31PM Will Arsenal now raise their game against the Hammers? Arsenal play West Ham this Sunday. Here's our man Nick Callow's abbreviated preview: West Ham are not mathematically safe from relegation so Arsenal should fear a club they have lost to three times at Emirates Stadium. Arsenal can be pipped to sixth by Burnley, but Thursday's Europa Atletico Madrid semi-final will dictate Arsene Wenger's selection while David Moyes can go for broke. PREDICTION: 1-1 12:04PM VOTE: Who should Arsenal choose to replace Wenger? 11:55AM Where next for Wenger? Seeing as the man eats, drinks and sleeps football, it is highly unlikely he will walk off into the sunset and retire. The odds are now stacked in favour of him becoming the next Paris Saint-Germain manager, with Unai Emery expected to be shown the door by the Paris giants. Wenger would also be a a highly-popular choice given his profile in France and continuing analysis as a guest pundit for French TV. 11:48AM 'Name it the Arsene Wenger Stadium' Former Arsenal midfielder Paul Merson has urged fans to get behind the Frenchman for the rest of the season, starting with Sunday's home match against West Ham. "I think everybody can pay their respect to him now about how great he was as a manager. It's perfect timing. "I think it gives the fans (the chance) to pack the Emirates for the last few games of the season and have a right go. "If fans do not turn up against West Ham and pack that place out, they need serious questions asked about them and are they real Arsenal fans or are they glory-hunters?" Merson has also called for the Emirates Stadium to be renamed in Wenger's honour. "They should drop the Emirates bit - they don't need the money - and name it the Arsene Wenger Stadium. "That's his stadium. He built that. He made that stadium. Even if they called it the Emirates Arsene Wenger Stadium. He deserves to be on that." 11:44AM 'It shows the great dignity and class of the man' Spain and Chelsea's Cesc Fabregas, who burst in to the Arsenal starting line-up under Arsene Wenger, posted on Instagram... "Wow. I never expected that but it shows the great dignity and class of the man. I will never forget his guidance and support, his tutelage and mentorship. "He had faith in me from day one and I owe him a lot, he was like a father figure to me who always pushed me to be the best. Arsene, you deserve all the respect and happiness in the world. #classact" 11:43AM Inside information Ian Wright appeared to have been aware of the news before it was announced, tweeting a shocked face emoji around half an hour before the club's statement. — Ian Wright (@IanWright0) April 20, 2018 11:41AM Will it be Rodgers who replaces Wenger? Celtic majority shareholder Dermot Desmond has admitted he would let manager Brendan Rodgers speak to Arsenal if the Premier League club approached the Northern Irishman... "Absolutely. I don't think you can put handcuffs on anybody if they want to go to a club as good as Arsenal. "It will be Brendan's decision and Brendan's decision only." 11:33AM 'He moved the goalposts for everyone else' Southampton manager Mark Hughes believes it would be a "massive wrench" for Arsene Wenger to leave after so long in the post. "When you have had longevity in the game like Arsene has, and I have been in the Premier League for a long time, our paths have crossed on numerous occasions, we had a few run-ins but other times we were very civil and respectful of each other's efforts. "I had a good conversation with him two weeks ago, he looked very relaxed and chilled. "He came with different ideas, different views on how the game should be played, he moved the goalposts for everyone else, he came in and had success and everyone else had to catch up." 11:31AM 'Fans are celebrating like they've won the lottery' Former Arsenal goalkeeper David Seaman, Arsene Wenger's No 1 for the first seven years of his reign, is not happy with how some Gunners fans are reacting... "It's going to be good now, because there's going to be a chance he will get the send-off and the respect he deserves. The fans that are celebrating like they've won the lottery, it makes me a little bit angry if I'm honest. It's time to show respect and realise what he's done. "For me, he is Arsenal, and it's right that he's decided to leave on his own terms. "Now let's enjoy that. I hope all the fans that have stayed away now return because they've still got a chance of winning something this season. Get behind the team, get behind Arsenal, and show him the respect he deserves. "He's a gentleman. It's brilliant to be in his company. He's a really, really nice guy - and a lot of people don't see that. People say he's stubborn and this and that, but that's not true. It might have been true as a manager, but as a man he's a true gentleman. "When he came in he changed everything - the way we played, the diet... He revolutionised Arsenal. He was brilliant. For me, and especially for the back four - he added years to their careers." 11:05AM Wenger's Arsenal reign in numbers 1996 - the year when a then-unheralded Wenger, who had been in charge at Monaco and Japanese side Nagoya Grampus Eight, took over at Highbury. 1228 - games at the helm, ahead of Sunday's Premier League fixture against West Ham. 704 - wins to date as Arsenal boss. 3 - Premier League title wins, the last during an unbeaten Invincibles campaign of 2003/2004. 1549 - goals scored in Premier League matches by Wenger's teams. 10 - major trophies won. 473 - Premier League victories. 7 - FA Cup triumphs, with three of those having come the last four seasons. 151 - Premier League losses. 21 - full seasons in charge. 49 - games unbeaten in the Premier League from May 2003 to October 2004. 10:58AM Nearly 22 years in three minutes #MerciArsènepic.twitter.com/bjP0wLMgee— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) April 20, 2018 10:55AM How Twitter is reacting to Wenger leaving Unsurprisingly, frequent Arsene Wenger critic Piers Morgan has tweeted with a certain amount of relish... BREAKING: Wenger out. pic.twitter.com/HBuwQdY9aw— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) April 20, 2018 Fortunately, Gary Neville, the voice of reason, has said what many feel... Arsene Wenger built the best teams that I played against in English Football .The 98 team was Amazing.The biggest compliment is that he played football that made us change the way we played against them. He now deserves the most incredible send off from all in the coming weeks.— Gary Neville (@GNev2) April 20, 2018 Arsenal legend David Seaman has called on Gunners fans to give Wenger the send-off he deserves... Sad day for @Arsenal with Arsene leaving, can we now give him the send off/respect he deserves?!! #rememberthetrophies— David Seaman (@thedavidseaman) April 20, 2018 Journalist and TV presenter Robert Peston is suffering from mixed emotions... Such mixed feelings about Wenger resignation. I wanted him to go, but I miss him already. He was magnificent for us over many years, but it was time #Arsenal— Robert Peston (@Peston) April 20, 2018 Radio 1 DJ Greg James sees the funny side... BUT WHO GETS THE COAT?! I WANT THE COAT. SHOTGUN THE COAT. pic.twitter.com/C4qJEbO8YG— Greg James (@gregjames) April 20, 2018 Former Arsenal captain Tony Adams posted on Instagram: "Thanks for everything Arsene. Move over Herbert, Arsene Wenger the greatest Arsenal Manager." 10:50AM How fickle football can be It was expected that many Arsenal fans would boycott the club's remaining home games as a way of voicing their unhappiness at Arsene Wenger. BUT... Arsenal sure to be packed out for remaining games now— Matt Law (@Matt_Law_DT) April 20, 2018 10:36AM One word: longevity 823 - Arsene Wenger has managed more Premier League games than any other manager (823) and only Sir Alex Ferguson has won more games (528) than Wenger (473). Longevity. pic.twitter.com/ktdsaZPb1y— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 20, 2018 10:34AM Klopp hails Wenger Other Premier League manages are being asked for their thoughts on Arsene Wenger after today's momentous announcement. Here's what Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp says: "He is an influence in football. A fantastic career, outstanding personality. A big player in the business." 10:32AM How has it come to this? Arsene Wenger has won three Premier League titles during his spell of over 21 years at the helm, the last of which came as a result of the unbeaten 'Invincibles' season in 2003-04. No-one has won more FA Cups than the former Monaco boss, who was a shock appointment back in 1996. Protests against his reign picked up last season as the Gunners finished outside of the top four for the first time in a full campaign under Wenger's control. But despite the growing negativity, Wenger signed a new two-year deal last summer with the mandate of sustaining a title challenge. That failed miserably and, at the time of the announcement, Arsenal sit sixth in the table and 33 points adrift of newly-crowned champions Manchester City. 10:26AM Set your alarms for 5pm! Arsenal are holding a media conference with chief executive Ivan Gazidis at 5pm at the Emirates Stadium. 10:24AM Winterburn says 'time is right' Former Arsenal defender Nigel Winterburn believes the decision is the right one: "I think it's run its natural course. Arsene Wenger has been absolutely amazing for Arsenal Football Club. "It probably feels to me like it is the right time. When Arsene Wenger does step down, I think he will be remembered very, very fondly. We talk about the modern era, George Graham started it and Arsene Wenger's taken it to the next level. "When he leaves the football club, I think people will look back and really appreciate what Arsene Wenger has done." 10:05AM Who will replace him? Arsene Wenger will lead the team to the end of the season and the club say they will 'make an appointment as soon as possible'. Our Arsenal man - Jeremy Wilson - says these are the leading candidates: Leonardo Jardim, Mikel Arteta, Joachim Low, Brendan Rodgers, Max Allegri and Luis Enrique. 10:02AM 'Arsene has unparalleled class and we will always be grateful' Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke has issued the following statement: "This is one of the most difficult days we have ever had in all our years in sport. One of the main reasons we got involved with Arsenal was because of what Arsène has brought to the club on and off the pitch. His longevity and consistency over such a sustained period at the highest level of the game will never be matched. "Arsène has unparalleled class and we will always be grateful to him. Everyone who loves Arsenal and everyone who loves football owes him a debt of gratitude. Three Premier League titles, including an entire season unbeaten, seven FA Cup triumphs and 20 successive years in the Champions League is an exceptional record. He has also transformed the identity of our club and of English football with his vision for how the game can be played. "We have high ambitions to build on Arsène's remarkable tenure and to honour his vision by ensuring that Arsenal competes for and wins the biggest and most important prizes in the game. "We must now focus on making a strong finish to the season and ask our millions of fans around the world to join us in paying appropriate tribute to one of the greats of Arsenal's history and one of the greats of the game." 9:57AM BREAKING NEWS: Arsene Wenger leaving Arsenal Arsene Wenger has announced he is to step down as manager of Arsenal at the end of the season. "After careful consideration and following discussions with the club, I feel it is the right time for me to step down at the end of the season. "I am grateful for having had the privilege to serve the club for so many memorable years. "I managed the club with full commitment and integrity. "I want to thank the staff, the players, the Directors and the fans who make this club so special. "I urge our fans to stand behind the team to finish on a high. "To all the Arsenal lovers take care of the values of the club. "My love and support for ever."
Arsene Wenger leaving Arsenal at the end of the season Wenger's last match at Emirates on May 6 against Burnley Last Premier League match ever on May 13 against Huddersfield Arsenal to hold press conference with Ivan Gazidis at 5pm Mourinho speaks: "We'll show Mr Wenger respect he deserves" Why Wenger will enjoy great success in life after Arsenal Next Arsenal manager odds: Who will replace Wenger? How many times did your team lose to Wenger's Arsenal? Arsenal are promising to be “bold” and could again go left-field in replacing Arsene Wenger after the club’s most successful-ever manager decided to announce his departure amid the prospect of being sacked this summer. Wenger revealed on Friday morning that this would be his 22nd and last season as Arsenal manager and, while the timing of the public announcement was his, the wider backdrop was of the club already actively preparing for change. The clear expectation was that he would be asked to leave this summer and Wenger did not want to wait to be sacked. It was also felt that an early announcement would ensure that Wenger received a big unifying send-off and allow all sides to prepare for a future apart. It was noticeable that Gazidis would not answer on Friday whether he had wanted Wenger to stay or tried to persuade him to see out the remaining year on his contract. Wenger has shown no sign of wanting to retire from management and is expected to make a clear break and seek employment elsewhere. Gazidis has been assessing potential replacements for several years, but has now actively begun the search and wants to preserve many of Wenger’s values within a structure that gives the manager rather less power. End of an era | Wenger to leave Arsenal at end of season A new backroom team has already been assembled and, while Gazidis called it “our biggest ever challenge", he said the club had never been better prepared. Former Barcelona manager Luis Enrique and ex-Arsenal captain Mikel Arteta are thought to be the leading contenders to replace Wenger, while Monaco manager Leonardo Jardim, former Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti and Germany head coach Joachim Low are also in the running. A complication with Low will be his reluctance to do anything that could destabilise Germany’s defence of the World Cup. Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers would be interested and has admirers inside Arsenal, but there are concerns at how fans might respond to his appointment at a time when unity is desperately sought. Former Borussia Dortmund manager Thomas Tuchel is close to be appointed Paris St Germain, but Juventus manager Max Allegri is keen on eventually working in England and would be of interest if he is ready to move this summer. Gazidis noticeably highlighted how Arsenal appointed an unknown in Wenger way back in 1996. Guy Wenger “Replace Arsene? That’s not going to happen,” he said. “But we have to make sure we don’t lose his qualities and his values in the club and that we take them forward. So someone who will continue to play exciting, progressive football that gets people interested and excited in the games we play. How the candidate represents the club is important. “That value of giving youth a chance is also very important. I think we’ve got to be open-minded and brave in the decision. When Arsene was appointed, I don’t think he was on many people’s radar. We need to be bold in the appointment.” Wenger made the final decision to leave earlier this week and, after discussions with directors on Thursday, he personally informed his staff and the players on Friday morning. There were many tears both at the stadium and training ground, where club staff were said to be in a state of shock. Wenger has won three Premier League titles, an all-time record seven FA Cups, two doubles, reached the 2006 European Cup final and went the entire 2003-4 Premier League season undefeated. He also helped oversee the move from Highbury to the Emirates Stadium. Tributes were paid to Wenger on Friday from across sport, with his old adversary Sir Alex Ferguson saying that he was “proud to have been a rival, a colleague and a friend to such a great man." As ever, Wenger stressed the importance of maintaining the values he has embodied in his time in English football. Put simply, that is an entertaining playing style, opportunities for young players and a fiscal structure that safeguards the club’s long-term future. “After careful consideration and following discussions with the club, I feel it is the right time for me to step down at the end of the season,” said Wenger. “I am grateful for having had the privilege to serve the club for so many memorable years. I managed the club with full commitment and integrity. I urge our fans to stand behind the team to finish on a high. To all the Arsenal lovers take care of the values of the club. My love and support for ever.” Arsenal fan's view | 'All the bad feeling has disappeared' Arsenal’s majority owner, Stan Kroenke, has always been a massive supporter of Wenger and regarded this as perhaps the hardest moment in his time in professional sport. “This is one of the most difficult days we have ever had in all our years in sport,” he said. “One of the main reasons we got involved with Arsenal was because of what Arsène has brought to the club on and off the pitch. His longevity and consistency over such a sustained period at the highest level of the game will never be matched. “Arsène has unparalleled class and we will always be grateful to him. Everyone who loves Arsenal and everyone who loves football owes him a debt of gratitude. Three Premier League titles, including an entire season unbeaten, seven FA Cup triumphs and 20 successive years in the Champions League is an exceptional record. He has also transformed the identity of our club and of English football with his vision for how the game can be played.” Gazidis added: “Arsene is going to feel the full force of this club behind him over the next couple of weeks. Arsene changed the game. He set a totally new standard. A new ambition. An ambition not just to win, but to win while achieving perfection. To make art out of football. He was always brave enough to be true to that extraordinary ambition and incredibly he achieved it with Arsenal’s Invincibles season.“ 5:26PM Gazidis on his abiding memories of Wenger's reign: “There are great moments - the trophies, the FA Cups, the victory against Barcelona. But the memories I have of Arsene are of speaking to him in quiet moments. He’s an incredibly self-critical man who always gives others the benefit of the doubt. There’s a reason there is so much affection for him. He’s a special person.” 5:23PM Gazidis on the players' reaction: “I think from the reaction at the training ground today, what I felt was an incredible amount of passion to give Arsene the send off that he deserves. “The decision had to come at some point. Now it’s time for us to look forward.” 5:21PM Gazidis on Wenger's future: “Will he retire? He’s somebody who is in great shape and has a competitive edge but that’s a question for him.” 5:19PM Gazidis on the next Arsenal manager: "We're going to have a process around that. The process begins today but I want to keep that process in-house. I don't want to be making public comments about it. We haven't had any discussions to date regarding that." 5:18PM Gazidis on where Arsenal go next: “Our first priority is to come together as a club and we are seeing that today. Our players. staff and fans are behind this great man and we will give him the send off he deserves. I don’t underestimate that challenge but I am confident in the people we have in place to take Arsene’s vision forward and build on it.” "We are not going to find a replacement for Arsene Wenger" 5:16PM Gazidis on Wenger's immediate legacy “Arsene often said his aim was to leave the club in a better place than when he found out. We are in a better place than we could have ever imagined.” 5:15PM Gazidis on Wenger's inspiration: “Beyond football, he has inspired the people around him. He is able to make people believe that they can achieve great things. He inspired George Weah to believe he could not only become the world’s best football player, but to become the president of a nation. He has taken every challenge with humour and grace and class.” 5:15PM Gazidis on the Wenger philosophy: “Arsene changed the game. He set a totally new standard. A new ambition. Not just to win, but to win while achieving perfection - to make art. Incredibly, he achieved it with the Invincibles. Arsene has been brave enough to live by his philosophy. He’s made Arsenal throughout the world for the kind of football we play.” 5:14PM Gazidis on today's news: “Obviously this has been an emotional day for everyone. Now I have the impossible job of communicating that feeling. Typically, Arsene is not here as he is taking training. I will leave it to others to talk about the facts and figures of his tenure. There is something more coming out today. There is an affection from Arsenal fans and right across the sphere of football. I’ve had the pleasure of working alongside Arsene over the last 10 years.” 5:12PM Ivan Gazidis addresses the media... "Arsene changed the game. He set a totally new standard, a new ambition. Am ambition not just to win but to win while achieving perfection. To make art out of football." 4:42PM Jack Wilshere on the outgoing boss... "We need to send him off in the right way now" �� Turn your sound up and listen to this from @JackWilsherepic.twitter.com/aZ9UA5u0mo— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) April 20, 2018 "I'm sure when the dust settles, we have a few days to think about it, we'll start to reflect on it, but at the moment it's a bit raw, it's a bit sensitive." 4:08PM Thierry Henry on his former manager October 2002 and September's manager of the month congratulates the player of the month Credit: EDDIE KEOGH/PA I was a little mixed because it's a sad day for me to see the big man leave the club, although we all know he has matches left. I'm happy in a way that people can give him the farewell he deserves. His legacy is untouchable. Managers, fans from other teams - [they say] how Arsène changed Arsenal. I am happy that now we can all talk about his legacy. But we must not get carried away with celebrating the end of his time. The team must win the Europa League, it would be an incredible feat and Arsène has never won in Europe before, so it would be a good way to give him a nice goodbye. I remember when I was playing for Arsenal, people were talking about how we play, not what we won, but how we did it and how Arsène made Arsenal a club known in the whole world. If I could be the successor of Wenger? Look at me laughing. It's funny. One person to whom you can ask this question is Ivan Gazidis. He should answer the question. 3:57PM And a word from Germany From one he helped to make it (to Bayern Munich) 22 years @Arsenal - almost my whole lifetime. Impressive. Glad I could be a small part of it ���� #MerciArsène#Wengerpic.twitter.com/lzGJXJlOGC— Serge Gnabry (@SergeGnabry) April 20, 2018 3:51PM A tribute from an opponent Arsene Wenger built the best teams that I played against in English Football .The 98 team was Amazing.The biggest compliment is that he played football that made us change the way we played against them. He now deserves the most incredible send off from all in the coming weeks.— Gary Neville (@GNev2) April 20, 2018 3:36PM A trawl through the picture archive ... Has inspired this, 22 years in 11 photographs: Wenger at Arsenal gallery 3:17PM Sir Alex Ferguson pays tribute "I am really happy for Arsène Wenger. I have great respect for him and for the job he has done at Arsenal. It is great testament to his talent, professionalism and determination that has been able to dedicate 22 years of his life to a job that he loves. "In an era where football managers sometimes only last one or two seasons, it shows what an achievement it is to serve that length of time at a club the size of Arsenal. "I am pleased that he has announced he is leaving at this stage of the season, as he can now have the send-off that he truly deserves. "He is, without doubt, one the greatest Premier League managers and I am proud to have been a rival, a colleague and a friend to such a great man." 2:47PM Pep Guardiola tips his hat Luke Edwards reports from the Manchester City manager's press conference: “He has all my respect for what he has done. The Premier League is about huge personalities like Arsène, it is because of what he has done, his vision. “I wish him all the best in the future, I hope he can be involved in world football in a different way with his experience. Whether it is with Arsenal, Uefa, Fifa, or somewhere else, I don't know. It was a pleasure to compete against him here, with City, as well as Barcelona and Bayern. Pep Guardiola takes Manchester City training on Friday Credit: Victoria Haydn/Man City via Getty Images “It will be difficult for anyone to do what he has done at a top European club again. Sir Alex Ferguson did it at Manchester United, but it is so, so complicated. With the way social media is now, everybody has an opinion and can express it, you feel the pressure as a manager. “You can also feel pressure because staying in the Premier League is so important, then you have the sporting directors, who do not have a lot of patience. It will be so difficult to find a person who will be able to stay at a club for so long and do what Arsène has done.” 2:32PM 'Arsenal will unite behind Wenger now' Paul Matz, from the Arsenal Independent Supporters' Association, speaks to Telegraph Sport 2:06PM 'I have been talking well about him for a while' Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez, who has locked horns with Arsene Wenger plenty of times down the years in his time at Liverpool, Chelsea and on Tyneside, said this at today's press conference: "I have been talking well about him for a while. "To do things in the way that he has done and win the way he was winning, for so many years... we are talking about one of the best managers in football history." 2:01PM 'Like a father through tough times in my career' Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere posted this on Facebook: "To the man who gave me my chance as a 16-year-old, and showed unbelievable faith and commitment towards me. Always a gentleman, like a father through tough times in my career. He always believed in me when most people didn't. Thank you for everything boss! It's down to us now to end your era right. #onearsenewenger" Big shoes for anyone to fill,playing for Arsenal under Arsene was one of the best period of my career, 2 premiership, 2 FA cups, The invincibles, playing with some of the best assembled players,influencing millions of fans in Africa to support this great club. pic.twitter.com/tILZo70jBE— Kanu Nwankwo (@papilokanu) April 20, 2018 Personally a very sad day. I am forever in debt to this man. The person who had faith in me and gave me a platform to progress. Thank you for all the memories and trophies bosspic.twitter.com/EP26M6TP3W— Héctor Bellerín (@HectorBellerin) April 20, 2018 1:56PM 'He deserves respect from the whole world of football' Our man Matt Law was at Stamford Bridge today and asked Antonio Conte for his thoughts on Arsene Wenger. Reaction to Wenger? "My reaction... I think we must pay a great tribute to Arsene Wenger for his career. For his career at Arsenal. He and Ferguson, we're talking about the last two managers to stay for such a long time in a club. Arsene Wenger worked 22 years for Arsenal. I think that's great, it's a fantastic story. He won a lot at this club and, for this reason, I think he deserves a great tribute for his career." What was his influence in a footballing sense? "I think Arsene is one of the managers who had a great influence on football because, in every moment in his idea of football, he tried to play good football, creative and offensive football. He deserves great tribute also for this." How important is it that he gains that great tribute? "He deserves great respect. Not only from Arsenal supporters, but from the whole world of football. He deserves great respect. We are talking about one of the best managers in the world with a great and important career with Arsenal. He deserves a great tribute for his career. It would be very difficult to see in the future another manager staying for such a long time at the same club. I think, maybe, Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger were a really good story for football. Now it will be very difficult to see that again, another situation like this." 1:54PM 'A proper football man who lives and breathes it' David Moyes, whose West Ham side face Arsenal on Sunday, hailed Arsene Wenger's longevity. "He's been a great competitor, a terrific manager who has graced the Premier League for many years. "He's a proper football man who lives and breathes it. To do 22 years is an incredible achievement." 1:53PM 'There are not enough words for what he's done' Burnley boss Sean Dyche, who will be the second-longest serving current manager in the Premier League once Arsene Wenger stands down, has paid tribute to the Frenchman. "He is a legend of the game - the work that he's done will be remembered. "Some things that now seem normal and simple weren't at the time. Hydration in football sounds a simple thing but was not taken to a high level. Making sure the food they were eating was correct. Their health and well-being. "For youngish managers like myself there are not enough good words you can use for what he's done." 1:42PM 'It was a pleasure to compete against him' Pep Guardiola, manager of new Premier League champions Man City, has also spoken. "He is a huge personality. The Premier League is the Premier League because of what he has done and his vision. I wish him all the best for the future. "Hopefully he will be involved in a different way in world football. Of course it was a pleasure at Barcelona, Bayern Munich and here to compete against him." 1:39PM 'Arsenal fans will unite behind Wenger now' Paul Matz from the Arsenal Independent Supporters' Association, has told The Telegraph he believes the club will unite behind departing manager Arsene Wenger for the rest of the season as they focus on winning the Europa League. 1:37PM Mourinho asked about Wenger... wait for it Jose Mourinho has claimed that deep down he really respects Arsene Wenger and his various insults over the years did not reflect his true relationship with the Arsenal manager, who announced that he will leave the club at the end of the season. "If he's happy with the decision he makes and looks forward to the next chapter of his career and his life I'm really happy for him. If he's sad, I'm sad. I'm pretty sure as a club - and especially because Mr Wenger and Arsenal were for many, many years the biggest rivals of Sir Alex [Ferguson's] era - we will show Mr Wenger the respect he deserves." Asked whether he regretted many of his spats with Wenger, which were often characterised by the strength of Mourinho's response, he was dismissive. "It's not about regretting. I think your question is a typical question from somebody that was not a manager, not a player. Of course, you don't know the way we respect each other even when sometimes it doesn't look like we don't. "Players that get yellow cards and red cards by aggressive actions against each other, bad words during the career - the manager is the same thing. The ones that respect each other more are the ones with the problems. It's power against power; ambition against ambition; quality against quality. But in the end it's people from the same business who respect one another’s careers. "So it happened. What matters for me is the way I respect the person, the professional, the career. I always say that for some the memories are short, but for us football people - the real football people, the others live on us - don't have short memories. I know what it means, three Premier League titles and seven FA Cups, what he did in Japan and France, what he brought to French football. "[Also] What he gave to Arsenal in the period without Premier Leagues, the transition from stadium to stadium, we know what he did. If he's happy with the decision, I'm really happy and I hope he doesn't retire from football." 1:23PM Where it all began for Wenger Where it all began for Arsene Wenger in the #PL... pic.twitter.com/gbhqBu9LTq— Premier League (@premierleague) April 20, 2018 1:19PM The Top 10 longest-serving managers in Premier League history Arsene Wenger, Arsenal, October 1996 to May 2018 (21 years, seven months) Sir Alex Ferguson, Manchester United, August 1992 to May 2013 (20 years, nine months) David Moyes, Everton, March 2002 to May 2013 (11 years, two months) Harry Redknapp, West Ham, August 1994 to May 2001 (six years, eight months) Rafael Benitez, Liverpool, August 2004 to June 2010 (five years, 10 months) Alan Curbishley, Charlton, August 2000 to May 2006 (five years, nine months) Sam Allardyce, Bolton, August 2001 to April 2007 (five years, eight months) Gerard Houllier, Liverpool, November 1998 to May 2004 (five years, six months) Jim Smith, Derby, August 1996 to October 2001 (five years, two months) Sir Bobby Robson, Newcastle, September 1999 to August 2004 (four years, 11 months) 12:58PM 'One of the best in English football history' Premier League executive chairman Richard Scudamore offered his own tribute to Arsene Wenger. "It is hard to encapsulate the enormity of Arsene Wenger's contribution to Arsenal Football Club, the Premier League and football generally over these past 22 seasons. "All of Arsene's teams have been a joy to watch and his 2003-04 'Invincibles' will go down as one of the best in English football history." 12:50PM 'One major reason why I'm here is because of him' Club captain Per Mertesacker admitted it was "emotional" to find out that Arsene Wenger was set to depart. "We have just been informed basically. It is quite emotional. Obviously he has been at the club for such a long time, he has been so supportive to me. One major reason why I'm here is because of him. "It's been emotional and there will be time to digest it but it is a sad feeling right now." 12:47PM Wenger told players of his exit beforehand Arsene Wenger asked Arsenal to hold off announcing his decision to leave the club so he could inform his players first-hand. The news was announced this morning, with Wenger set to depart 12 months into a two-year deal. It is understood Wenger was keen to tell the Arsenal players himself and did so ahead of training at their London Colney base and minutes before the news was made public. His coaching staff were also informed of the decision in advance, although club staff working at the Emirates Stadium rather than the training ground discovered the news at the same time as everyone else. Wenger's surprise announcement came a day after he evaded questions over his future at his usual pre-match press conference. 12:36PM How many times did your team lose to Wenger's Arsenal? Was your club one of the teams Arsene Wenger had the wood over? How many times did your team lose to Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal? 12:35PM 'Today will mark the start of a new era for the club' Arsene Wenger's decision to leave Arsenal at the end of the season is good for all those involved, according to a leading supporters' group. Lois Langton, chair of the Arsenal Independent Supporters' Association, believes the timing is right and hailed Wenger as a "fantastic" manager in his day. "Without question, the announcement that Arsene Wenger will finally stand down at the end of this season is the right decision, both for the club and the manager, although, having been so long coming, it feels surreal that the day has finally arrived. "The problems associated with his tenure in recent years are well documented and now that the announcement has been made, there is nothing to be gained by going over old ground. "Arsene Wenger was, for a period of time, a fantastic manager for Arsenal. The Invincibles epitomise what he brought to the Club and, to that extent, his legacy will continue. "We have seen with Manchester City this season how difficult it is to go a league campaign undefeated. The 2003/2004 season in particular will forever be a source of pride and achievement. "It is now time to move on. We have a Europa League semi-final coming up against Atletico and a first success in Europe for Arsene Wenger would provide a fitting farewell. "Arsenal has a rich and wonderful heritage and today will mark the start of a new era for the club." 12:31PM Will Arsenal now raise their game against the Hammers? Arsenal play West Ham this Sunday. Here's our man Nick Callow's abbreviated preview: West Ham are not mathematically safe from relegation so Arsenal should fear a club they have lost to three times at Emirates Stadium. Arsenal can be pipped to sixth by Burnley, but Thursday's Europa Atletico Madrid semi-final will dictate Arsene Wenger's selection while David Moyes can go for broke. PREDICTION: 1-1 12:04PM VOTE: Who should Arsenal choose to replace Wenger? 11:55AM Where next for Wenger? Seeing as the man eats, drinks and sleeps football, it is highly unlikely he will walk off into the sunset and retire. The odds are now stacked in favour of him becoming the next Paris Saint-Germain manager, with Unai Emery expected to be shown the door by the Paris giants. Wenger would also be a a highly-popular choice given his profile in France and continuing analysis as a guest pundit for French TV. 11:48AM 'Name it the Arsene Wenger Stadium' Former Arsenal midfielder Paul Merson has urged fans to get behind the Frenchman for the rest of the season, starting with Sunday's home match against West Ham. "I think everybody can pay their respect to him now about how great he was as a manager. It's perfect timing. "I think it gives the fans (the chance) to pack the Emirates for the last few games of the season and have a right go. "If fans do not turn up against West Ham and pack that place out, they need serious questions asked about them and are they real Arsenal fans or are they glory-hunters?" Merson has also called for the Emirates Stadium to be renamed in Wenger's honour. "They should drop the Emirates bit - they don't need the money - and name it the Arsene Wenger Stadium. "That's his stadium. He built that. He made that stadium. Even if they called it the Emirates Arsene Wenger Stadium. He deserves to be on that." 11:44AM 'It shows the great dignity and class of the man' Spain and Chelsea's Cesc Fabregas, who burst in to the Arsenal starting line-up under Arsene Wenger, posted on Instagram... "Wow. I never expected that but it shows the great dignity and class of the man. I will never forget his guidance and support, his tutelage and mentorship. "He had faith in me from day one and I owe him a lot, he was like a father figure to me who always pushed me to be the best. Arsene, you deserve all the respect and happiness in the world. #classact" 11:43AM Inside information Ian Wright appeared to have been aware of the news before it was announced, tweeting a shocked face emoji around half an hour before the club's statement. — Ian Wright (@IanWright0) April 20, 2018 11:41AM Will it be Rodgers who replaces Wenger? Celtic majority shareholder Dermot Desmond has admitted he would let manager Brendan Rodgers speak to Arsenal if the Premier League club approached the Northern Irishman... "Absolutely. I don't think you can put handcuffs on anybody if they want to go to a club as good as Arsenal. "It will be Brendan's decision and Brendan's decision only." 11:33AM 'He moved the goalposts for everyone else' Southampton manager Mark Hughes believes it would be a "massive wrench" for Arsene Wenger to leave after so long in the post. "When you have had longevity in the game like Arsene has, and I have been in the Premier League for a long time, our paths have crossed on numerous occasions, we had a few run-ins but other times we were very civil and respectful of each other's efforts. "I had a good conversation with him two weeks ago, he looked very relaxed and chilled. "He came with different ideas, different views on how the game should be played, he moved the goalposts for everyone else, he came in and had success and everyone else had to catch up." 11:31AM 'Fans are celebrating like they've won the lottery' Former Arsenal goalkeeper David Seaman, Arsene Wenger's No 1 for the first seven years of his reign, is not happy with how some Gunners fans are reacting... "It's going to be good now, because there's going to be a chance he will get the send-off and the respect he deserves. The fans that are celebrating like they've won the lottery, it makes me a little bit angry if I'm honest. It's time to show respect and realise what he's done. "For me, he is Arsenal, and it's right that he's decided to leave on his own terms. "Now let's enjoy that. I hope all the fans that have stayed away now return because they've still got a chance of winning something this season. Get behind the team, get behind Arsenal, and show him the respect he deserves. "He's a gentleman. It's brilliant to be in his company. He's a really, really nice guy - and a lot of people don't see that. People say he's stubborn and this and that, but that's not true. It might have been true as a manager, but as a man he's a true gentleman. "When he came in he changed everything - the way we played, the diet... He revolutionised Arsenal. He was brilliant. For me, and especially for the back four - he added years to their careers." 11:05AM Wenger's Arsenal reign in numbers 1996 - the year when a then-unheralded Wenger, who had been in charge at Monaco and Japanese side Nagoya Grampus Eight, took over at Highbury. 1228 - games at the helm, ahead of Sunday's Premier League fixture against West Ham. 704 - wins to date as Arsenal boss. 3 - Premier League title wins, the last during an unbeaten Invincibles campaign of 2003/2004. 1549 - goals scored in Premier League matches by Wenger's teams. 10 - major trophies won. 473 - Premier League victories. 7 - FA Cup triumphs, with three of those having come the last four seasons. 151 - Premier League losses. 21 - full seasons in charge. 49 - games unbeaten in the Premier League from May 2003 to October 2004. 10:58AM Nearly 22 years in three minutes #MerciArsènepic.twitter.com/bjP0wLMgee— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) April 20, 2018 10:55AM How Twitter is reacting to Wenger leaving Unsurprisingly, frequent Arsene Wenger critic Piers Morgan has tweeted with a certain amount of relish... BREAKING: Wenger out. pic.twitter.com/HBuwQdY9aw— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) April 20, 2018 Fortunately, Gary Neville, the voice of reason, has said what many feel... Arsene Wenger built the best teams that I played against in English Football .The 98 team was Amazing.The biggest compliment is that he played football that made us change the way we played against them. He now deserves the most incredible send off from all in the coming weeks.— Gary Neville (@GNev2) April 20, 2018 Arsenal legend David Seaman has called on Gunners fans to give Wenger the send-off he deserves... Sad day for @Arsenal with Arsene leaving, can we now give him the send off/respect he deserves?!! #rememberthetrophies— David Seaman (@thedavidseaman) April 20, 2018 Journalist and TV presenter Robert Peston is suffering from mixed emotions... Such mixed feelings about Wenger resignation. I wanted him to go, but I miss him already. He was magnificent for us over many years, but it was time #Arsenal— Robert Peston (@Peston) April 20, 2018 Radio 1 DJ Greg James sees the funny side... BUT WHO GETS THE COAT?! I WANT THE COAT. SHOTGUN THE COAT. pic.twitter.com/C4qJEbO8YG— Greg James (@gregjames) April 20, 2018 Former Arsenal captain Tony Adams posted on Instagram: "Thanks for everything Arsene. Move over Herbert, Arsene Wenger the greatest Arsenal Manager." 10:50AM How fickle football can be It was expected that many Arsenal fans would boycott the club's remaining home games as a way of voicing their unhappiness at Arsene Wenger. BUT... Arsenal sure to be packed out for remaining games now— Matt Law (@Matt_Law_DT) April 20, 2018 10:36AM One word: longevity 823 - Arsene Wenger has managed more Premier League games than any other manager (823) and only Sir Alex Ferguson has won more games (528) than Wenger (473). Longevity. pic.twitter.com/ktdsaZPb1y— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 20, 2018 10:34AM Klopp hails Wenger Other Premier League manages are being asked for their thoughts on Arsene Wenger after today's momentous announcement. Here's what Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp says: "He is an influence in football. A fantastic career, outstanding personality. A big player in the business." 10:32AM How has it come to this? Arsene Wenger has won three Premier League titles during his spell of over 21 years at the helm, the last of which came as a result of the unbeaten 'Invincibles' season in 2003-04. No-one has won more FA Cups than the former Monaco boss, who was a shock appointment back in 1996. Protests against his reign picked up last season as the Gunners finished outside of the top four for the first time in a full campaign under Wenger's control. But despite the growing negativity, Wenger signed a new two-year deal last summer with the mandate of sustaining a title challenge. That failed miserably and, at the time of the announcement, Arsenal sit sixth in the table and 33 points adrift of newly-crowned champions Manchester City. 10:26AM Set your alarms for 5pm! Arsenal are holding a media conference with chief executive Ivan Gazidis at 5pm at the Emirates Stadium. 10:24AM Winterburn says 'time is right' Former Arsenal defender Nigel Winterburn believes the decision is the right one: "I think it's run its natural course. Arsene Wenger has been absolutely amazing for Arsenal Football Club. "It probably feels to me like it is the right time. When Arsene Wenger does step down, I think he will be remembered very, very fondly. We talk about the modern era, George Graham started it and Arsene Wenger's taken it to the next level. "When he leaves the football club, I think people will look back and really appreciate what Arsene Wenger has done." 10:05AM Who will replace him? Arsene Wenger will lead the team to the end of the season and the club say they will 'make an appointment as soon as possible'. Our Arsenal man - Jeremy Wilson - says these are the leading candidates: Leonardo Jardim, Mikel Arteta, Joachim Low, Brendan Rodgers, Max Allegri and Luis Enrique. 10:02AM 'Arsene has unparalleled class and we will always be grateful' Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke has issued the following statement: "This is one of the most difficult days we have ever had in all our years in sport. One of the main reasons we got involved with Arsenal was because of what Arsène has brought to the club on and off the pitch. His longevity and consistency over such a sustained period at the highest level of the game will never be matched. "Arsène has unparalleled class and we will always be grateful to him. Everyone who loves Arsenal and everyone who loves football owes him a debt of gratitude. Three Premier League titles, including an entire season unbeaten, seven FA Cup triumphs and 20 successive years in the Champions League is an exceptional record. He has also transformed the identity of our club and of English football with his vision for how the game can be played. "We have high ambitions to build on Arsène's remarkable tenure and to honour his vision by ensuring that Arsenal competes for and wins the biggest and most important prizes in the game. "We must now focus on making a strong finish to the season and ask our millions of fans around the world to join us in paying appropriate tribute to one of the greats of Arsenal's history and one of the greats of the game." 9:57AM BREAKING NEWS: Arsene Wenger leaving Arsenal Arsene Wenger has announced he is to step down as manager of Arsenal at the end of the season. "After careful consideration and following discussions with the club, I feel it is the right time for me to step down at the end of the season. "I am grateful for having had the privilege to serve the club for so many memorable years. "I managed the club with full commitment and integrity. "I want to thank the staff, the players, the Directors and the fans who make this club so special. "I urge our fans to stand behind the team to finish on a high. "To all the Arsenal lovers take care of the values of the club. "My love and support for ever."
Arsenal prepare for 'biggest ever challenge' to replace outgoing Arsene Wenger after 22 years in charge
Arsene Wenger leaving Arsenal at the end of the season Wenger's last match at Emirates on May 6 against Burnley Last Premier League match ever on May 13 against Huddersfield Arsenal to hold press conference with Ivan Gazidis at 5pm Mourinho speaks: "We'll show Mr Wenger respect he deserves" Why Wenger will enjoy great success in life after Arsenal Next Arsenal manager odds: Who will replace Wenger? How many times did your team lose to Wenger's Arsenal? Arsenal are promising to be “bold” and could again go left-field in replacing Arsene Wenger after the club’s most successful-ever manager decided to announce his departure amid the prospect of being sacked this summer. Wenger revealed on Friday morning that this would be his 22nd and last season as Arsenal manager and, while the timing of the public announcement was his, the wider backdrop was of the club already actively preparing for change. The clear expectation was that he would be asked to leave this summer and Wenger did not want to wait to be sacked. It was also felt that an early announcement would ensure that Wenger received a big unifying send-off and allow all sides to prepare for a future apart. It was noticeable that Gazidis would not answer on Friday whether he had wanted Wenger to stay or tried to persuade him to see out the remaining year on his contract. Wenger has shown no sign of wanting to retire from management and is expected to make a clear break and seek employment elsewhere. Gazidis has been assessing potential replacements for several years, but has now actively begun the search and wants to preserve many of Wenger’s values within a structure that gives the manager rather less power. End of an era | Wenger to leave Arsenal at end of season A new backroom team has already been assembled and, while Gazidis called it “our biggest ever challenge", he said the club had never been better prepared. Former Barcelona manager Luis Enrique and ex-Arsenal captain Mikel Arteta are thought to be the leading contenders to replace Wenger, while Monaco manager Leonardo Jardim, former Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti and Germany head coach Joachim Low are also in the running. A complication with Low will be his reluctance to do anything that could destabilise Germany’s defence of the World Cup. Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers would be interested and has admirers inside Arsenal, but there are concerns at how fans might respond to his appointment at a time when unity is desperately sought. Former Borussia Dortmund manager Thomas Tuchel is close to be appointed Paris St Germain, but Juventus manager Max Allegri is keen on eventually working in England and would be of interest if he is ready to move this summer. Gazidis noticeably highlighted how Arsenal appointed an unknown in Wenger way back in 1996. Guy Wenger “Replace Arsene? That’s not going to happen,” he said. “But we have to make sure we don’t lose his qualities and his values in the club and that we take them forward. So someone who will continue to play exciting, progressive football that gets people interested and excited in the games we play. How the candidate represents the club is important. “That value of giving youth a chance is also very important. I think we’ve got to be open-minded and brave in the decision. When Arsene was appointed, I don’t think he was on many people’s radar. We need to be bold in the appointment.” Wenger made the final decision to leave earlier this week and, after discussions with directors on Thursday, he personally informed his staff and the players on Friday morning. There were many tears both at the stadium and training ground, where club staff were said to be in a state of shock. Wenger has won three Premier League titles, an all-time record seven FA Cups, two doubles, reached the 2006 European Cup final and went the entire 2003-4 Premier League season undefeated. He also helped oversee the move from Highbury to the Emirates Stadium. Tributes were paid to Wenger on Friday from across sport, with his old adversary Sir Alex Ferguson saying that he was “proud to have been a rival, a colleague and a friend to such a great man." As ever, Wenger stressed the importance of maintaining the values he has embodied in his time in English football. Put simply, that is an entertaining playing style, opportunities for young players and a fiscal structure that safeguards the club’s long-term future. “After careful consideration and following discussions with the club, I feel it is the right time for me to step down at the end of the season,” said Wenger. “I am grateful for having had the privilege to serve the club for so many memorable years. I managed the club with full commitment and integrity. I urge our fans to stand behind the team to finish on a high. To all the Arsenal lovers take care of the values of the club. My love and support for ever.” Arsenal fan's view | 'All the bad feeling has disappeared' Arsenal’s majority owner, Stan Kroenke, has always been a massive supporter of Wenger and regarded this as perhaps the hardest moment in his time in professional sport. “This is one of the most difficult days we have ever had in all our years in sport,” he said. “One of the main reasons we got involved with Arsenal was because of what Arsène has brought to the club on and off the pitch. His longevity and consistency over such a sustained period at the highest level of the game will never be matched. “Arsène has unparalleled class and we will always be grateful to him. Everyone who loves Arsenal and everyone who loves football owes him a debt of gratitude. Three Premier League titles, including an entire season unbeaten, seven FA Cup triumphs and 20 successive years in the Champions League is an exceptional record. He has also transformed the identity of our club and of English football with his vision for how the game can be played.” Gazidis added: “Arsene is going to feel the full force of this club behind him over the next couple of weeks. Arsene changed the game. He set a totally new standard. A new ambition. An ambition not just to win, but to win while achieving perfection. To make art out of football. He was always brave enough to be true to that extraordinary ambition and incredibly he achieved it with Arsenal’s Invincibles season.“ 5:26PM Gazidis on his abiding memories of Wenger's reign: “There are great moments - the trophies, the FA Cups, the victory against Barcelona. But the memories I have of Arsene are of speaking to him in quiet moments. He’s an incredibly self-critical man who always gives others the benefit of the doubt. There’s a reason there is so much affection for him. He’s a special person.” 5:23PM Gazidis on the players' reaction: “I think from the reaction at the training ground today, what I felt was an incredible amount of passion to give Arsene the send off that he deserves. “The decision had to come at some point. Now it’s time for us to look forward.” 5:21PM Gazidis on Wenger's future: “Will he retire? He’s somebody who is in great shape and has a competitive edge but that’s a question for him.” 5:19PM Gazidis on the next Arsenal manager: "We're going to have a process around that. The process begins today but I want to keep that process in-house. I don't want to be making public comments about it. We haven't had any discussions to date regarding that." 5:18PM Gazidis on where Arsenal go next: “Our first priority is to come together as a club and we are seeing that today. Our players. staff and fans are behind this great man and we will give him the send off he deserves. I don’t underestimate that challenge but I am confident in the people we have in place to take Arsene’s vision forward and build on it.” "We are not going to find a replacement for Arsene Wenger" 5:16PM Gazidis on Wenger's immediate legacy “Arsene often said his aim was to leave the club in a better place than when he found out. We are in a better place than we could have ever imagined.” 5:15PM Gazidis on Wenger's inspiration: “Beyond football, he has inspired the people around him. He is able to make people believe that they can achieve great things. He inspired George Weah to believe he could not only become the world’s best football player, but to become the president of a nation. He has taken every challenge with humour and grace and class.” 5:15PM Gazidis on the Wenger philosophy: “Arsene changed the game. He set a totally new standard. A new ambition. Not just to win, but to win while achieving perfection - to make art. Incredibly, he achieved it with the Invincibles. Arsene has been brave enough to live by his philosophy. He’s made Arsenal throughout the world for the kind of football we play.” 5:14PM Gazidis on today's news: “Obviously this has been an emotional day for everyone. Now I have the impossible job of communicating that feeling. Typically, Arsene is not here as he is taking training. I will leave it to others to talk about the facts and figures of his tenure. There is something more coming out today. There is an affection from Arsenal fans and right across the sphere of football. I’ve had the pleasure of working alongside Arsene over the last 10 years.” 5:12PM Ivan Gazidis addresses the media... "Arsene changed the game. He set a totally new standard, a new ambition. Am ambition not just to win but to win while achieving perfection. To make art out of football." 4:42PM Jack Wilshere on the outgoing boss... "We need to send him off in the right way now" �� Turn your sound up and listen to this from @JackWilsherepic.twitter.com/aZ9UA5u0mo— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) April 20, 2018 "I'm sure when the dust settles, we have a few days to think about it, we'll start to reflect on it, but at the moment it's a bit raw, it's a bit sensitive." 4:08PM Thierry Henry on his former manager October 2002 and September's manager of the month congratulates the player of the month Credit: EDDIE KEOGH/PA I was a little mixed because it's a sad day for me to see the big man leave the club, although we all know he has matches left. I'm happy in a way that people can give him the farewell he deserves. His legacy is untouchable. Managers, fans from other teams - [they say] how Arsène changed Arsenal. I am happy that now we can all talk about his legacy. But we must not get carried away with celebrating the end of his time. The team must win the Europa League, it would be an incredible feat and Arsène has never won in Europe before, so it would be a good way to give him a nice goodbye. I remember when I was playing for Arsenal, people were talking about how we play, not what we won, but how we did it and how Arsène made Arsenal a club known in the whole world. If I could be the successor of Wenger? Look at me laughing. It's funny. One person to whom you can ask this question is Ivan Gazidis. He should answer the question. 3:57PM And a word from Germany From one he helped to make it (to Bayern Munich) 22 years @Arsenal - almost my whole lifetime. Impressive. Glad I could be a small part of it ���� #MerciArsène#Wengerpic.twitter.com/lzGJXJlOGC— Serge Gnabry (@SergeGnabry) April 20, 2018 3:51PM A tribute from an opponent Arsene Wenger built the best teams that I played against in English Football .The 98 team was Amazing.The biggest compliment is that he played football that made us change the way we played against them. He now deserves the most incredible send off from all in the coming weeks.— Gary Neville (@GNev2) April 20, 2018 3:36PM A trawl through the picture archive ... Has inspired this, 22 years in 11 photographs: Wenger at Arsenal gallery 3:17PM Sir Alex Ferguson pays tribute "I am really happy for Arsène Wenger. I have great respect for him and for the job he has done at Arsenal. It is great testament to his talent, professionalism and determination that has been able to dedicate 22 years of his life to a job that he loves. "In an era where football managers sometimes only last one or two seasons, it shows what an achievement it is to serve that length of time at a club the size of Arsenal. "I am pleased that he has announced he is leaving at this stage of the season, as he can now have the send-off that he truly deserves. "He is, without doubt, one the greatest Premier League managers and I am proud to have been a rival, a colleague and a friend to such a great man." 2:47PM Pep Guardiola tips his hat Luke Edwards reports from the Manchester City manager's press conference: “He has all my respect for what he has done. The Premier League is about huge personalities like Arsène, it is because of what he has done, his vision. “I wish him all the best in the future, I hope he can be involved in world football in a different way with his experience. Whether it is with Arsenal, Uefa, Fifa, or somewhere else, I don't know. It was a pleasure to compete against him here, with City, as well as Barcelona and Bayern. Pep Guardiola takes Manchester City training on Friday Credit: Victoria Haydn/Man City via Getty Images “It will be difficult for anyone to do what he has done at a top European club again. Sir Alex Ferguson did it at Manchester United, but it is so, so complicated. With the way social media is now, everybody has an opinion and can express it, you feel the pressure as a manager. “You can also feel pressure because staying in the Premier League is so important, then you have the sporting directors, who do not have a lot of patience. It will be so difficult to find a person who will be able to stay at a club for so long and do what Arsène has done.” 2:32PM 'Arsenal will unite behind Wenger now' Paul Matz, from the Arsenal Independent Supporters' Association, speaks to Telegraph Sport 2:06PM 'I have been talking well about him for a while' Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez, who has locked horns with Arsene Wenger plenty of times down the years in his time at Liverpool, Chelsea and on Tyneside, said this at today's press conference: "I have been talking well about him for a while. "To do things in the way that he has done and win the way he was winning, for so many years... we are talking about one of the best managers in football history." 2:01PM 'Like a father through tough times in my career' Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere posted this on Facebook: "To the man who gave me my chance as a 16-year-old, and showed unbelievable faith and commitment towards me. Always a gentleman, like a father through tough times in my career. He always believed in me when most people didn't. Thank you for everything boss! It's down to us now to end your era right. #onearsenewenger" Big shoes for anyone to fill,playing for Arsenal under Arsene was one of the best period of my career, 2 premiership, 2 FA cups, The invincibles, playing with some of the best assembled players,influencing millions of fans in Africa to support this great club. pic.twitter.com/tILZo70jBE— Kanu Nwankwo (@papilokanu) April 20, 2018 Personally a very sad day. I am forever in debt to this man. The person who had faith in me and gave me a platform to progress. Thank you for all the memories and trophies bosspic.twitter.com/EP26M6TP3W— Héctor Bellerín (@HectorBellerin) April 20, 2018 1:56PM 'He deserves respect from the whole world of football' Our man Matt Law was at Stamford Bridge today and asked Antonio Conte for his thoughts on Arsene Wenger. Reaction to Wenger? "My reaction... I think we must pay a great tribute to Arsene Wenger for his career. For his career at Arsenal. He and Ferguson, we're talking about the last two managers to stay for such a long time in a club. Arsene Wenger worked 22 years for Arsenal. I think that's great, it's a fantastic story. He won a lot at this club and, for this reason, I think he deserves a great tribute for his career." What was his influence in a footballing sense? "I think Arsene is one of the managers who had a great influence on football because, in every moment in his idea of football, he tried to play good football, creative and offensive football. He deserves great tribute also for this." How important is it that he gains that great tribute? "He deserves great respect. Not only from Arsenal supporters, but from the whole world of football. He deserves great respect. We are talking about one of the best managers in the world with a great and important career with Arsenal. He deserves a great tribute for his career. It would be very difficult to see in the future another manager staying for such a long time at the same club. I think, maybe, Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger were a really good story for football. Now it will be very difficult to see that again, another situation like this." 1:54PM 'A proper football man who lives and breathes it' David Moyes, whose West Ham side face Arsenal on Sunday, hailed Arsene Wenger's longevity. "He's been a great competitor, a terrific manager who has graced the Premier League for many years. "He's a proper football man who lives and breathes it. To do 22 years is an incredible achievement." 1:53PM 'There are not enough words for what he's done' Burnley boss Sean Dyche, who will be the second-longest serving current manager in the Premier League once Arsene Wenger stands down, has paid tribute to the Frenchman. "He is a legend of the game - the work that he's done will be remembered. "Some things that now seem normal and simple weren't at the time. Hydration in football sounds a simple thing but was not taken to a high level. Making sure the food they were eating was correct. Their health and well-being. "For youngish managers like myself there are not enough good words you can use for what he's done." 1:42PM 'It was a pleasure to compete against him' Pep Guardiola, manager of new Premier League champions Man City, has also spoken. "He is a huge personality. The Premier League is the Premier League because of what he has done and his vision. I wish him all the best for the future. "Hopefully he will be involved in a different way in world football. Of course it was a pleasure at Barcelona, Bayern Munich and here to compete against him." 1:39PM 'Arsenal fans will unite behind Wenger now' Paul Matz from the Arsenal Independent Supporters' Association, has told The Telegraph he believes the club will unite behind departing manager Arsene Wenger for the rest of the season as they focus on winning the Europa League. 1:37PM Mourinho asked about Wenger... wait for it Jose Mourinho has claimed that deep down he really respects Arsene Wenger and his various insults over the years did not reflect his true relationship with the Arsenal manager, who announced that he will leave the club at the end of the season. "If he's happy with the decision he makes and looks forward to the next chapter of his career and his life I'm really happy for him. If he's sad, I'm sad. I'm pretty sure as a club - and especially because Mr Wenger and Arsenal were for many, many years the biggest rivals of Sir Alex [Ferguson's] era - we will show Mr Wenger the respect he deserves." Asked whether he regretted many of his spats with Wenger, which were often characterised by the strength of Mourinho's response, he was dismissive. "It's not about regretting. I think your question is a typical question from somebody that was not a manager, not a player. Of course, you don't know the way we respect each other even when sometimes it doesn't look like we don't. "Players that get yellow cards and red cards by aggressive actions against each other, bad words during the career - the manager is the same thing. The ones that respect each other more are the ones with the problems. It's power against power; ambition against ambition; quality against quality. But in the end it's people from the same business who respect one another’s careers. "So it happened. What matters for me is the way I respect the person, the professional, the career. I always say that for some the memories are short, but for us football people - the real football people, the others live on us - don't have short memories. I know what it means, three Premier League titles and seven FA Cups, what he did in Japan and France, what he brought to French football. "[Also] What he gave to Arsenal in the period without Premier Leagues, the transition from stadium to stadium, we know what he did. If he's happy with the decision, I'm really happy and I hope he doesn't retire from football." 1:23PM Where it all began for Wenger Where it all began for Arsene Wenger in the #PL... pic.twitter.com/gbhqBu9LTq— Premier League (@premierleague) April 20, 2018 1:19PM The Top 10 longest-serving managers in Premier League history Arsene Wenger, Arsenal, October 1996 to May 2018 (21 years, seven months) Sir Alex Ferguson, Manchester United, August 1992 to May 2013 (20 years, nine months) David Moyes, Everton, March 2002 to May 2013 (11 years, two months) Harry Redknapp, West Ham, August 1994 to May 2001 (six years, eight months) Rafael Benitez, Liverpool, August 2004 to June 2010 (five years, 10 months) Alan Curbishley, Charlton, August 2000 to May 2006 (five years, nine months) Sam Allardyce, Bolton, August 2001 to April 2007 (five years, eight months) Gerard Houllier, Liverpool, November 1998 to May 2004 (five years, six months) Jim Smith, Derby, August 1996 to October 2001 (five years, two months) Sir Bobby Robson, Newcastle, September 1999 to August 2004 (four years, 11 months) 12:58PM 'One of the best in English football history' Premier League executive chairman Richard Scudamore offered his own tribute to Arsene Wenger. "It is hard to encapsulate the enormity of Arsene Wenger's contribution to Arsenal Football Club, the Premier League and football generally over these past 22 seasons. "All of Arsene's teams have been a joy to watch and his 2003-04 'Invincibles' will go down as one of the best in English football history." 12:50PM 'One major reason why I'm here is because of him' Club captain Per Mertesacker admitted it was "emotional" to find out that Arsene Wenger was set to depart. "We have just been informed basically. It is quite emotional. Obviously he has been at the club for such a long time, he has been so supportive to me. One major reason why I'm here is because of him. "It's been emotional and there will be time to digest it but it is a sad feeling right now." 12:47PM Wenger told players of his exit beforehand Arsene Wenger asked Arsenal to hold off announcing his decision to leave the club so he could inform his players first-hand. The news was announced this morning, with Wenger set to depart 12 months into a two-year deal. It is understood Wenger was keen to tell the Arsenal players himself and did so ahead of training at their London Colney base and minutes before the news was made public. His coaching staff were also informed of the decision in advance, although club staff working at the Emirates Stadium rather than the training ground discovered the news at the same time as everyone else. Wenger's surprise announcement came a day after he evaded questions over his future at his usual pre-match press conference. 12:36PM How many times did your team lose to Wenger's Arsenal? Was your club one of the teams Arsene Wenger had the wood over? How many times did your team lose to Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal? 12:35PM 'Today will mark the start of a new era for the club' Arsene Wenger's decision to leave Arsenal at the end of the season is good for all those involved, according to a leading supporters' group. Lois Langton, chair of the Arsenal Independent Supporters' Association, believes the timing is right and hailed Wenger as a "fantastic" manager in his day. "Without question, the announcement that Arsene Wenger will finally stand down at the end of this season is the right decision, both for the club and the manager, although, having been so long coming, it feels surreal that the day has finally arrived. "The problems associated with his tenure in recent years are well documented and now that the announcement has been made, there is nothing to be gained by going over old ground. "Arsene Wenger was, for a period of time, a fantastic manager for Arsenal. The Invincibles epitomise what he brought to the Club and, to that extent, his legacy will continue. "We have seen with Manchester City this season how difficult it is to go a league campaign undefeated. The 2003/2004 season in particular will forever be a source of pride and achievement. "It is now time to move on. We have a Europa League semi-final coming up against Atletico and a first success in Europe for Arsene Wenger would provide a fitting farewell. "Arsenal has a rich and wonderful heritage and today will mark the start of a new era for the club." 12:31PM Will Arsenal now raise their game against the Hammers? Arsenal play West Ham this Sunday. Here's our man Nick Callow's abbreviated preview: West Ham are not mathematically safe from relegation so Arsenal should fear a club they have lost to three times at Emirates Stadium. Arsenal can be pipped to sixth by Burnley, but Thursday's Europa Atletico Madrid semi-final will dictate Arsene Wenger's selection while David Moyes can go for broke. PREDICTION: 1-1 12:04PM VOTE: Who should Arsenal choose to replace Wenger? 11:55AM Where next for Wenger? Seeing as the man eats, drinks and sleeps football, it is highly unlikely he will walk off into the sunset and retire. The odds are now stacked in favour of him becoming the next Paris Saint-Germain manager, with Unai Emery expected to be shown the door by the Paris giants. Wenger would also be a a highly-popular choice given his profile in France and continuing analysis as a guest pundit for French TV. 11:48AM 'Name it the Arsene Wenger Stadium' Former Arsenal midfielder Paul Merson has urged fans to get behind the Frenchman for the rest of the season, starting with Sunday's home match against West Ham. "I think everybody can pay their respect to him now about how great he was as a manager. It's perfect timing. "I think it gives the fans (the chance) to pack the Emirates for the last few games of the season and have a right go. "If fans do not turn up against West Ham and pack that place out, they need serious questions asked about them and are they real Arsenal fans or are they glory-hunters?" Merson has also called for the Emirates Stadium to be renamed in Wenger's honour. "They should drop the Emirates bit - they don't need the money - and name it the Arsene Wenger Stadium. "That's his stadium. He built that. He made that stadium. Even if they called it the Emirates Arsene Wenger Stadium. He deserves to be on that." 11:44AM 'It shows the great dignity and class of the man' Spain and Chelsea's Cesc Fabregas, who burst in to the Arsenal starting line-up under Arsene Wenger, posted on Instagram... "Wow. I never expected that but it shows the great dignity and class of the man. I will never forget his guidance and support, his tutelage and mentorship. "He had faith in me from day one and I owe him a lot, he was like a father figure to me who always pushed me to be the best. Arsene, you deserve all the respect and happiness in the world. #classact" 11:43AM Inside information Ian Wright appeared to have been aware of the news before it was announced, tweeting a shocked face emoji around half an hour before the club's statement. — Ian Wright (@IanWright0) April 20, 2018 11:41AM Will it be Rodgers who replaces Wenger? Celtic majority shareholder Dermot Desmond has admitted he would let manager Brendan Rodgers speak to Arsenal if the Premier League club approached the Northern Irishman... "Absolutely. I don't think you can put handcuffs on anybody if they want to go to a club as good as Arsenal. "It will be Brendan's decision and Brendan's decision only." 11:33AM 'He moved the goalposts for everyone else' Southampton manager Mark Hughes believes it would be a "massive wrench" for Arsene Wenger to leave after so long in the post. "When you have had longevity in the game like Arsene has, and I have been in the Premier League for a long time, our paths have crossed on numerous occasions, we had a few run-ins but other times we were very civil and respectful of each other's efforts. "I had a good conversation with him two weeks ago, he looked very relaxed and chilled. "He came with different ideas, different views on how the game should be played, he moved the goalposts for everyone else, he came in and had success and everyone else had to catch up." 11:31AM 'Fans are celebrating like they've won the lottery' Former Arsenal goalkeeper David Seaman, Arsene Wenger's No 1 for the first seven years of his reign, is not happy with how some Gunners fans are reacting... "It's going to be good now, because there's going to be a chance he will get the send-off and the respect he deserves. The fans that are celebrating like they've won the lottery, it makes me a little bit angry if I'm honest. It's time to show respect and realise what he's done. "For me, he is Arsenal, and it's right that he's decided to leave on his own terms. "Now let's enjoy that. I hope all the fans that have stayed away now return because they've still got a chance of winning something this season. Get behind the team, get behind Arsenal, and show him the respect he deserves. "He's a gentleman. It's brilliant to be in his company. He's a really, really nice guy - and a lot of people don't see that. People say he's stubborn and this and that, but that's not true. It might have been true as a manager, but as a man he's a true gentleman. "When he came in he changed everything - the way we played, the diet... He revolutionised Arsenal. He was brilliant. For me, and especially for the back four - he added years to their careers." 11:05AM Wenger's Arsenal reign in numbers 1996 - the year when a then-unheralded Wenger, who had been in charge at Monaco and Japanese side Nagoya Grampus Eight, took over at Highbury. 1228 - games at the helm, ahead of Sunday's Premier League fixture against West Ham. 704 - wins to date as Arsenal boss. 3 - Premier League title wins, the last during an unbeaten Invincibles campaign of 2003/2004. 1549 - goals scored in Premier League matches by Wenger's teams. 10 - major trophies won. 473 - Premier League victories. 7 - FA Cup triumphs, with three of those having come the last four seasons. 151 - Premier League losses. 21 - full seasons in charge. 49 - games unbeaten in the Premier League from May 2003 to October 2004. 10:58AM Nearly 22 years in three minutes #MerciArsènepic.twitter.com/bjP0wLMgee— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) April 20, 2018 10:55AM How Twitter is reacting to Wenger leaving Unsurprisingly, frequent Arsene Wenger critic Piers Morgan has tweeted with a certain amount of relish... BREAKING: Wenger out. pic.twitter.com/HBuwQdY9aw— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) April 20, 2018 Fortunately, Gary Neville, the voice of reason, has said what many feel... Arsene Wenger built the best teams that I played against in English Football .The 98 team was Amazing.The biggest compliment is that he played football that made us change the way we played against them. He now deserves the most incredible send off from all in the coming weeks.— Gary Neville (@GNev2) April 20, 2018 Arsenal legend David Seaman has called on Gunners fans to give Wenger the send-off he deserves... Sad day for @Arsenal with Arsene leaving, can we now give him the send off/respect he deserves?!! #rememberthetrophies— David Seaman (@thedavidseaman) April 20, 2018 Journalist and TV presenter Robert Peston is suffering from mixed emotions... Such mixed feelings about Wenger resignation. I wanted him to go, but I miss him already. He was magnificent for us over many years, but it was time #Arsenal— Robert Peston (@Peston) April 20, 2018 Radio 1 DJ Greg James sees the funny side... BUT WHO GETS THE COAT?! I WANT THE COAT. SHOTGUN THE COAT. pic.twitter.com/C4qJEbO8YG— Greg James (@gregjames) April 20, 2018 Former Arsenal captain Tony Adams posted on Instagram: "Thanks for everything Arsene. Move over Herbert, Arsene Wenger the greatest Arsenal Manager." 10:50AM How fickle football can be It was expected that many Arsenal fans would boycott the club's remaining home games as a way of voicing their unhappiness at Arsene Wenger. BUT... Arsenal sure to be packed out for remaining games now— Matt Law (@Matt_Law_DT) April 20, 2018 10:36AM One word: longevity 823 - Arsene Wenger has managed more Premier League games than any other manager (823) and only Sir Alex Ferguson has won more games (528) than Wenger (473). Longevity. pic.twitter.com/ktdsaZPb1y— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 20, 2018 10:34AM Klopp hails Wenger Other Premier League manages are being asked for their thoughts on Arsene Wenger after today's momentous announcement. Here's what Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp says: "He is an influence in football. A fantastic career, outstanding personality. A big player in the business." 10:32AM How has it come to this? Arsene Wenger has won three Premier League titles during his spell of over 21 years at the helm, the last of which came as a result of the unbeaten 'Invincibles' season in 2003-04. No-one has won more FA Cups than the former Monaco boss, who was a shock appointment back in 1996. Protests against his reign picked up last season as the Gunners finished outside of the top four for the first time in a full campaign under Wenger's control. But despite the growing negativity, Wenger signed a new two-year deal last summer with the mandate of sustaining a title challenge. That failed miserably and, at the time of the announcement, Arsenal sit sixth in the table and 33 points adrift of newly-crowned champions Manchester City. 10:26AM Set your alarms for 5pm! Arsenal are holding a media conference with chief executive Ivan Gazidis at 5pm at the Emirates Stadium. 10:24AM Winterburn says 'time is right' Former Arsenal defender Nigel Winterburn believes the decision is the right one: "I think it's run its natural course. Arsene Wenger has been absolutely amazing for Arsenal Football Club. "It probably feels to me like it is the right time. When Arsene Wenger does step down, I think he will be remembered very, very fondly. We talk about the modern era, George Graham started it and Arsene Wenger's taken it to the next level. "When he leaves the football club, I think people will look back and really appreciate what Arsene Wenger has done." 10:05AM Who will replace him? Arsene Wenger will lead the team to the end of the season and the club say they will 'make an appointment as soon as possible'. Our Arsenal man - Jeremy Wilson - says these are the leading candidates: Leonardo Jardim, Mikel Arteta, Joachim Low, Brendan Rodgers, Max Allegri and Luis Enrique. 10:02AM 'Arsene has unparalleled class and we will always be grateful' Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke has issued the following statement: "This is one of the most difficult days we have ever had in all our years in sport. One of the main reasons we got involved with Arsenal was because of what Arsène has brought to the club on and off the pitch. His longevity and consistency over such a sustained period at the highest level of the game will never be matched. "Arsène has unparalleled class and we will always be grateful to him. Everyone who loves Arsenal and everyone who loves football owes him a debt of gratitude. Three Premier League titles, including an entire season unbeaten, seven FA Cup triumphs and 20 successive years in the Champions League is an exceptional record. He has also transformed the identity of our club and of English football with his vision for how the game can be played. "We have high ambitions to build on Arsène's remarkable tenure and to honour his vision by ensuring that Arsenal competes for and wins the biggest and most important prizes in the game. "We must now focus on making a strong finish to the season and ask our millions of fans around the world to join us in paying appropriate tribute to one of the greats of Arsenal's history and one of the greats of the game." 9:57AM BREAKING NEWS: Arsene Wenger leaving Arsenal Arsene Wenger has announced he is to step down as manager of Arsenal at the end of the season. "After careful consideration and following discussions with the club, I feel it is the right time for me to step down at the end of the season. "I am grateful for having had the privilege to serve the club for so many memorable years. "I managed the club with full commitment and integrity. "I want to thank the staff, the players, the Directors and the fans who make this club so special. "I urge our fans to stand behind the team to finish on a high. "To all the Arsenal lovers take care of the values of the club. "My love and support for ever."
Arsene Wenger leaving Arsenal at the end of the season Wenger's last match at Emirates on May 6 against Burnley Last Premier League match ever on May 13 against Huddersfield Arsenal to hold press conference with Ivan Gazidis at 5pm Mourinho speaks: "We'll show Mr Wenger respect he deserves" Why Wenger will enjoy great success in life after Arsenal Next Arsenal manager odds: Who will replace Wenger? How many times did your team lose to Wenger's Arsenal? Arsène Wenger, Arsenal’s longest-serving and most successful-ever manager, is to step down from his job at the end of the season after 22 years at the helm. Wenger has won three Premier League titles, an all-time record seven FA Cups, two doubles, reached the 2006 European Cup final and went the entire 2003-04 Premier League season undefeated, but has faced opposition over recent seasons at the repeated failure to challenge for either the Premier League or Champions League. Arsenal are still in the semi-finals of the Europa League but, even with the possibility of returning to the Champions League through that competition, a decision has been made to end the uncertainty that has hung over the club in recent months. A new backroom structure was already in place and candidates are being assessed as Arsenal now attempt to deal with one of the most seismic moments in their history. Wenger confirmed the decision this morning and, as ever, he stressed the importance of maintaining the values he has embodied in his time in English football. Put simply, that is an entertaining style of football, opportunities for young players and a fiscal structure that safeguards the club’s long-term future. Wenger replacements “After careful consideration and following discussions with the club, I feel it is the right time for me to step down at the end of the season,” said Wenger. “I am grateful for having had the privilege to serve the club for so many memorable years. I managed the club with full commitment and integrity. “I want to thank the staff, the players, the Directors and the fans who make this club so special. I urge our fans to stand behind the team to finish on a high. To all the Arsenal lovers take care of the values of the club. My love and support for ever.” Guy Wenger Arsenal’s majority owner, Stan Kroenke, has always been a massive supporter of Wenger and regarded this as perhaps the toughest decision in his time in sport. “This is one of the most difficult days we have ever had in all our years in sport,” he said. “One of the main reasons we got involved with Arsenal was because of what Arsène has brought to the club on and off the pitch. His longevity and consistency over such a sustained period at the highest level of the game will never be matched. “Arsène has unparalleled class and we will always be grateful to him. Everyone who loves Arsenal and everyone who loves football owes him a debt of gratitude. Three Premier League titles, including an entire season unbeaten, seven FA Cup triumphs and 20 successive years in the Champions League is an exceptional record. He has also transformed the identity of our club and of English football with his vision for how the game can be played. Arsenal fan's view | 'All the bad feeling has disappeared' “We have high ambitions to build on Arsène’s remarkable tenure and to honour his vision by ensuring that Arsenal competes for and wins the biggest and most important prizes in the game. “We must now focus on making a strong finish to the season and ask our millions of fans around the world to join us in paying appropriate tribute to one of the greats of Arsenal’s history and one of the greats of the game.” Arsenal have said that they will make an appointment as soon as possible. 4:42PM Jack Wilshere on the outgoing boss... "We need to send him off in the right way now" �� Turn your sound up and listen to this from @JackWilsherepic.twitter.com/aZ9UA5u0mo— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) April 20, 2018 "I'm sure when the dust settles, we have a few days to think about it, we'll start to reflect on it, but at the moment it's a bit raw, it's a bit sensitive." 4:08PM Thierry Henry on his former manager October 2002 and September's manager of the month congratulates the player of the month Credit: EDDIE KEOGH/PA I was a little mixed because it's a sad day for me to see the big man leave the club, although we all know he has matches left. I'm happy in a way that people can give him the farewell he deserves. His legacy is untouchable. Managers, fans from other teams - [they say] how Arsène changed Arsenal. I am happy that now we can all talk about his legacy. But we must not get carried away with celebrating the end of his time. The team must win the Europa League, it would be an incredible feat and Arsène has never won in Europe before, so it would be a good way to give him a nice goodbye. I remember when I was playing for Arsenal, people were talking about how we play, not what we won, but how we did it and how Arsène made Arsenal a club known in the whole world. If I could be the successor of Wenger? Look at me laughing. It's funny. One person to whom you can ask this question is Ivan Gazidis. He should answer the question. 3:57PM And a word from Germany From one he helped to make it (to Bayern Munich) 22 years @Arsenal - almost my whole lifetime. Impressive. Glad I could be a small part of it ���� #MerciArsène#Wengerpic.twitter.com/lzGJXJlOGC— Serge Gnabry (@SergeGnabry) April 20, 2018 3:51PM A tribute from an opponent Arsene Wenger built the best teams that I played against in English Football .The 98 team was Amazing.The biggest compliment is that he played football that made us change the way we played against them. He now deserves the most incredible send off from all in the coming weeks.— Gary Neville (@GNev2) April 20, 2018 3:36PM A trawl through the picture archive ... Has inspired this, 22 years in 11 photographs: Wenger at Arsenal gallery 3:17PM Sir Alex Ferguson pays tribute "I am really happy for Arsène Wenger. I have great respect for him and for the job he has done at Arsenal. It is great testament to his talent, professionalism and determination that has been able to dedicate 22 years of his life to a job that he loves. "In an era where football managers sometimes only last one or two seasons, it shows what an achievement it is to serve that length of time at a club the size of Arsenal. "I am pleased that he has announced he is leaving at this stage of the season, as he can now have the send-off that he truly deserves. "He is, without doubt, one the greatest Premier League managers and I am proud to have been a rival, a colleague and a friend to such a great man." 2:47PM Pep Guardiola tips his hat Luke Edwards reports from the Manchester City manager's press conference: “He has all my respect for what he has done. The Premier League is about huge personalities like Arsène, it is because of what he has done, his vision. “I wish him all the best in the future, I hope he can be involved in world football in a different way with his experience. Whether it is with Arsenal, Uefa, Fifa, or somewhere else, I don't know. It was a pleasure to compete against him here, with City, as well as Barcelona and Bayern. Pep Guardiola takes Manchester City training on Friday Credit: Victoria Haydn/Man City via Getty Images “It will be difficult for anyone to do what he has done at a top European club again. Sir Alex Ferguson did it at Manchester United, but it is so, so complicated. With the way social media is now, everybody has an opinion and can express it, you feel the pressure as a manager. “You can also feel pressure because staying in the Premier League is so important, then you have the sporting directors, who do not have a lot of patience. It will be so difficult to find a person who will be able to stay at a club for so long and do what Arsène has done.” 2:32PM 'Arsenal will unite behind Wenger now' Paul Matz, from the Arsenal Independent Supporters' Association, speaks to Telegraph Sport 2:06PM 'I have been talking well about him for a while' Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez, who has locked horns with Arsene Wenger plenty of times down the years in his time at Liverpool, Chelsea and on Tyneside, said this at today's press conference: "I have been talking well about him for a while. "To do things in the way that he has done and win the way he was winning, for so many years... we are talking about one of the best managers in football history." 2:01PM 'Like a father through tough times in my career' Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere posted this on Facebook: "To the man who gave me my chance as a 16-year-old, and showed unbelievable faith and commitment towards me. Always a gentleman, like a father through tough times in my career. He always believed in me when most people didn't. Thank you for everything boss! It's down to us now to end your era right. #onearsenewenger" Big shoes for anyone to fill,playing for Arsenal under Arsene was one of the best period of my career, 2 premiership, 2 FA cups, The invincibles, playing with some of the best assembled players,influencing millions of fans in Africa to support this great club. pic.twitter.com/tILZo70jBE— Kanu Nwankwo (@papilokanu) April 20, 2018 Personally a very sad day. I am forever in debt to this man. The person who had faith in me and gave me a platform to progress. Thank you for all the memories and trophies bosspic.twitter.com/EP26M6TP3W— Héctor Bellerín (@HectorBellerin) April 20, 2018 1:56PM 'He deserves respect from the whole world of football' Our man Matt Law was at Stamford Bridge today and asked Antonio Conte for his thoughts on Arsene Wenger. Reaction to Wenger? "My reaction... I think we must pay a great tribute to Arsene Wenger for his career. For his career at Arsenal. He and Ferguson, we're talking about the last two managers to stay for such a long time in a club. Arsene Wenger worked 22 years for Arsenal. I think that's great, it's a fantastic story. He won a lot at this club and, for this reason, I think he deserves a great tribute for his career." What was his influence in a footballing sense? "I think Arsene is one of the managers who had a great influence on football because, in every moment in his idea of football, he tried to play good football, creative and offensive football. He deserves great tribute also for this." How important is it that he gains that great tribute? "He deserves great respect. Not only from Arsenal supporters, but from the whole world of football. He deserves great respect. We are talking about one of the best managers in the world with a great and important career with Arsenal. He deserves a great tribute for his career. It would be very difficult to see in the future another manager staying for such a long time at the same club. I think, maybe, Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger were a really good story for football. Now it will be very difficult to see that again, another situation like this." 1:54PM 'A proper football man who lives and breathes it' David Moyes, whose West Ham side face Arsenal on Sunday, hailed Arsene Wenger's longevity. "He's been a great competitor, a terrific manager who has graced the Premier League for many years. "He's a proper football man who lives and breathes it. To do 22 years is an incredible achievement." 1:53PM 'There are not enough words for what he's done' Burnley boss Sean Dyche, who will be the second-longest serving current manager in the Premier League once Arsene Wenger stands down, has paid tribute to the Frenchman. "He is a legend of the game - the work that he's done will be remembered. "Some things that now seem normal and simple weren't at the time. Hydration in football sounds a simple thing but was not taken to a high level. Making sure the food they were eating was correct. Their health and well-being. "For youngish managers like myself there are not enough good words you can use for what he's done." 1:42PM 'It was a pleasure to compete against him' Pep Guardiola, manager of new Premier League champions Man City, has also spoken. "He is a huge personality. The Premier League is the Premier League because of what he has done and his vision. I wish him all the best for the future. "Hopefully he will be involved in a different way in world football. Of course it was a pleasure at Barcelona, Bayern Munich and here to compete against him." 1:39PM 'Arsenal fans will unite behind Wenger now' Paul Matz from the Arsenal Independent Supporters' Association, has told The Telegraph he believes the club will unite behind departing manager Arsene Wenger for the rest of the season as they focus on winning the Europa League. 1:37PM Mourinho asked about Wenger... wait for it Jose Mourinho has claimed that deep down he really respects Arsene Wenger and his various insults over the years did not reflect his true relationship with the Arsenal manager, who announced that he will leave the club at the end of the season. "If he's happy with the decision he makes and looks forward to the next chapter of his career and his life I'm really happy for him. If he's sad, I'm sad. I'm pretty sure as a club - and especially because Mr Wenger and Arsenal were for many, many years the biggest rivals of Sir Alex [Ferguson's] era - we will show Mr Wenger the respect he deserves." Asked whether he regretted many of his spats with Wenger, which were often characterised by the strength of Mourinho's response, he was dismissive. "It's not about regretting. I think your question is a typical question from somebody that was not a manager, not a player. Of course, you don't know the way we respect each other even when sometimes it doesn't look like we don't. "Players that get yellow cards and red cards by aggressive actions against each other, bad words during the career - the manager is the same thing. The ones that respect each other more are the ones with the problems. It's power against power; ambition against ambition; quality against quality. But in the end it's people from the same business who respect one another’s careers. "So it happened. What matters for me is the way I respect the person, the professional, the career. I always say that for some the memories are short, but for us football people - the real football people, the others live on us - don't have short memories. I know what it means, three Premier League titles and seven FA Cups, what he did in Japan and France, what he brought to French football. "[Also] What he gave to Arsenal in the period without Premier Leagues, the transition from stadium to stadium, we know what he did. If he's happy with the decision, I'm really happy and I hope he doesn't retire from football." 1:23PM Where it all began for Wenger Where it all began for Arsene Wenger in the #PL... pic.twitter.com/gbhqBu9LTq— Premier League (@premierleague) April 20, 2018 1:19PM The Top 10 longest-serving managers in Premier League history Arsene Wenger, Arsenal, October 1996 to May 2018 (21 years, seven months) Sir Alex Ferguson, Manchester United, August 1992 to May 2013 (20 years, nine months) David Moyes, Everton, March 2002 to May 2013 (11 years, two months) Harry Redknapp, West Ham, August 1994 to May 2001 (six years, eight months) Rafael Benitez, Liverpool, August 2004 to June 2010 (five years, 10 months) Alan Curbishley, Charlton, August 2000 to May 2006 (five years, nine months) Sam Allardyce, Bolton, August 2001 to April 2007 (five years, eight months) Gerard Houllier, Liverpool, November 1998 to May 2004 (five years, six months) Jim Smith, Derby, August 1996 to October 2001 (five years, two months) Sir Bobby Robson, Newcastle, September 1999 to August 2004 (four years, 11 months) 12:58PM 'One of the best in English football history' Premier League executive chairman Richard Scudamore offered his own tribute to Arsene Wenger. "It is hard to encapsulate the enormity of Arsene Wenger's contribution to Arsenal Football Club, the Premier League and football generally over these past 22 seasons. "All of Arsene's teams have been a joy to watch and his 2003-04 'Invincibles' will go down as one of the best in English football history." 12:50PM 'One major reason why I'm here is because of him' Club captain Per Mertesacker admitted it was "emotional" to find out that Arsene Wenger was set to depart. "We have just been informed basically. It is quite emotional. Obviously he has been at the club for such a long time, he has been so supportive to me. One major reason why I'm here is because of him. "It's been emotional and there will be time to digest it but it is a sad feeling right now." 12:47PM Wenger told players of his exit beforehand Arsene Wenger asked Arsenal to hold off announcing his decision to leave the club so he could inform his players first-hand. The news was announced this morning, with Wenger set to depart 12 months into a two-year deal. It is understood Wenger was keen to tell the Arsenal players himself and did so ahead of training at their London Colney base and minutes before the news was made public. His coaching staff were also informed of the decision in advance, although club staff working at the Emirates Stadium rather than the training ground discovered the news at the same time as everyone else. Wenger's surprise announcement came a day after he evaded questions over his future at his usual pre-match press conference. 12:36PM How many times did your team lose to Wenger's Arsenal? Was your club one of the teams Arsene Wenger had the wood over? How many times did your team lose to Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal? 12:35PM 'Today will mark the start of a new era for the club' Arsene Wenger's decision to leave Arsenal at the end of the season is good for all those involved, according to a leading supporters' group. Lois Langton, chair of the Arsenal Independent Supporters' Association, believes the timing is right and hailed Wenger as a "fantastic" manager in his day. "Without question, the announcement that Arsene Wenger will finally stand down at the end of this season is the right decision, both for the club and the manager, although, having been so long coming, it feels surreal that the day has finally arrived. "The problems associated with his tenure in recent years are well documented and now that the announcement has been made, there is nothing to be gained by going over old ground. "Arsene Wenger was, for a period of time, a fantastic manager for Arsenal. The Invincibles epitomise what he brought to the Club and, to that extent, his legacy will continue. "We have seen with Manchester City this season how difficult it is to go a league campaign undefeated. The 2003/2004 season in particular will forever be a source of pride and achievement. "It is now time to move on. We have a Europa League semi-final coming up against Atletico and a first success in Europe for Arsene Wenger would provide a fitting farewell. "Arsenal has a rich and wonderful heritage and today will mark the start of a new era for the club." 12:31PM Will Arsenal now raise their game against the Hammers? Arsenal play West Ham this Sunday. Here's our man Nick Callow's abbreviated preview: West Ham are not mathematically safe from relegation so Arsenal should fear a club they have lost to three times at Emirates Stadium. Arsenal can be pipped to sixth by Burnley, but Thursday's Europa Atletico Madrid semi-final will dictate Arsene Wenger's selection while David Moyes can go for broke. PREDICTION: 1-1 12:04PM VOTE: Who should Arsenal choose to replace Wenger? 11:55AM Where next for Wenger? Seeing as the man eats, drinks and sleeps football, it is highly unlikely he will walk off into the sunset and retire. The odds are now stacked in favour of him becoming the next Paris Saint-Germain manager, with Unai Emery expected to be shown the door by the Paris giants. Wenger would also be a a highly-popular choice given his profile in France and continuing analysis as a guest pundit for French TV. 11:48AM 'Name it the Arsene Wenger Stadium' Former Arsenal midfielder Paul Merson has urged fans to get behind the Frenchman for the rest of the season, starting with Sunday's home match against West Ham. "I think everybody can pay their respect to him now about how great he was as a manager. It's perfect timing. "I think it gives the fans (the chance) to pack the Emirates for the last few games of the season and have a right go. "If fans do not turn up against West Ham and pack that place out, they need serious questions asked about them and are they real Arsenal fans or are they glory-hunters?" Merson has also called for the Emirates Stadium to be renamed in Wenger's honour. "They should drop the Emirates bit - they don't need the money - and name it the Arsene Wenger Stadium. "That's his stadium. He built that. He made that stadium. Even if they called it the Emirates Arsene Wenger Stadium. He deserves to be on that." 11:44AM 'It shows the great dignity and class of the man' Spain and Chelsea's Cesc Fabregas, who burst in to the Arsenal starting line-up under Arsene Wenger, posted on Instagram... "Wow. I never expected that but it shows the great dignity and class of the man. I will never forget his guidance and support, his tutelage and mentorship. "He had faith in me from day one and I owe him a lot, he was like a father figure to me who always pushed me to be the best. Arsene, you deserve all the respect and happiness in the world. #classact" 11:43AM Inside information Ian Wright appeared to have been aware of the news before it was announced, tweeting a shocked face emoji around half an hour before the club's statement. — Ian Wright (@IanWright0) April 20, 2018 11:41AM Will it be Rodgers who replaces Wenger? Celtic majority shareholder Dermot Desmond has admitted he would let manager Brendan Rodgers speak to Arsenal if the Premier League club approached the Northern Irishman... "Absolutely. I don't think you can put handcuffs on anybody if they want to go to a club as good as Arsenal. "It will be Brendan's decision and Brendan's decision only." 11:33AM 'He moved the goalposts for everyone else' Southampton manager Mark Hughes believes it would be a "massive wrench" for Arsene Wenger to leave after so long in the post. "When you have had longevity in the game like Arsene has, and I have been in the Premier League for a long time, our paths have crossed on numerous occasions, we had a few run-ins but other times we were very civil and respectful of each other's efforts. "I had a good conversation with him two weeks ago, he looked very relaxed and chilled. "He came with different ideas, different views on how the game should be played, he moved the goalposts for everyone else, he came in and had success and everyone else had to catch up." 11:31AM 'Fans are celebrating like they've won the lottery' Former Arsenal goalkeeper David Seaman, Arsene Wenger's No 1 for the first seven years of his reign, is not happy with how some Gunners fans are reacting... "It's going to be good now, because there's going to be a chance he will get the send-off and the respect he deserves. The fans that are celebrating like they've won the lottery, it makes me a little bit angry if I'm honest. It's time to show respect and realise what he's done. "For me, he is Arsenal, and it's right that he's decided to leave on his own terms. "Now let's enjoy that. I hope all the fans that have stayed away now return because they've still got a chance of winning something this season. Get behind the team, get behind Arsenal, and show him the respect he deserves. "He's a gentleman. It's brilliant to be in his company. He's a really, really nice guy - and a lot of people don't see that. People say he's stubborn and this and that, but that's not true. It might have been true as a manager, but as a man he's a true gentleman. "When he came in he changed everything - the way we played, the diet... He revolutionised Arsenal. He was brilliant. For me, and especially for the back four - he added years to their careers." 11:05AM Wenger's Arsenal reign in numbers 1996 - the year when a then-unheralded Wenger, who had been in charge at Monaco and Japanese side Nagoya Grampus Eight, took over at Highbury. 1228 - games at the helm, ahead of Sunday's Premier League fixture against West Ham. 704 - wins to date as Arsenal boss. 3 - Premier League title wins, the last during an unbeaten Invincibles campaign of 2003/2004. 1549 - goals scored in Premier League matches by Wenger's teams. 10 - major trophies won. 473 - Premier League victories. 7 - FA Cup triumphs, with three of those having come the last four seasons. 151 - Premier League losses. 21 - full seasons in charge. 49 - games unbeaten in the Premier League from May 2003 to October 2004. 10:58AM Nearly 22 years in three minutes #MerciArsènepic.twitter.com/bjP0wLMgee— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) April 20, 2018 10:55AM How Twitter is reacting to Wenger leaving Unsurprisingly, frequent Arsene Wenger critic Piers Morgan has tweeted with a certain amount of relish... BREAKING: Wenger out. pic.twitter.com/HBuwQdY9aw— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) April 20, 2018 Fortunately, Gary Neville, the voice of reason, has said what many feel... Arsene Wenger built the best teams that I played against in English Football .The 98 team was Amazing.The biggest compliment is that he played football that made us change the way we played against them. He now deserves the most incredible send off from all in the coming weeks.— Gary Neville (@GNev2) April 20, 2018 Arsenal legend David Seaman has called on Gunners fans to give Wenger the send-off he deserves... Sad day for @Arsenal with Arsene leaving, can we now give him the send off/respect he deserves?!! #rememberthetrophies— David Seaman (@thedavidseaman) April 20, 2018 Journalist and TV presenter Robert Peston is suffering from mixed emotions... Such mixed feelings about Wenger resignation. I wanted him to go, but I miss him already. He was magnificent for us over many years, but it was time #Arsenal— Robert Peston (@Peston) April 20, 2018 Radio 1 DJ Greg James sees the funny side... BUT WHO GETS THE COAT?! I WANT THE COAT. SHOTGUN THE COAT. pic.twitter.com/C4qJEbO8YG— Greg James (@gregjames) April 20, 2018 Former Arsenal captain Tony Adams posted on Instagram: "Thanks for everything Arsene. Move over Herbert, Arsene Wenger the greatest Arsenal Manager." 10:50AM How fickle football can be It was expected that many Arsenal fans would boycott the club's remaining home games as a way of voicing their unhappiness at Arsene Wenger. BUT... Arsenal sure to be packed out for remaining games now— Matt Law (@Matt_Law_DT) April 20, 2018 10:36AM One word: longevity 823 - Arsene Wenger has managed more Premier League games than any other manager (823) and only Sir Alex Ferguson has won more games (528) than Wenger (473). Longevity. pic.twitter.com/ktdsaZPb1y— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 20, 2018 10:34AM Klopp hails Wenger Other Premier League manages are being asked for their thoughts on Arsene Wenger after today's momentous announcement. Here's what Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp says: "He is an influence in football. A fantastic career, outstanding personality. A big player in the business." 10:32AM How has it come to this? Arsene Wenger has won three Premier League titles during his spell of over 21 years at the helm, the last of which came as a result of the unbeaten 'Invincibles' season in 2003-04. No-one has won more FA Cups than the former Monaco boss, who was a shock appointment back in 1996. Protests against his reign picked up last season as the Gunners finished outside of the top four for the first time in a full campaign under Wenger's control. But despite the growing negativity, Wenger signed a new two-year deal last summer with the mandate of sustaining a title challenge. That failed miserably and, at the time of the announcement, Arsenal sit sixth in the table and 33 points adrift of newly-crowned champions Manchester City. 10:26AM Set your alarms for 5pm! Arsenal are holding a media conference with chief executive Ivan Gazidis at 5pm at the Emirates Stadium. 10:24AM Winterburn says 'time is right' Former Arsenal defender Nigel Winterburn believes the decision is the right one: "I think it's run its natural course. Arsene Wenger has been absolutely amazing for Arsenal Football Club. "It probably feels to me like it is the right time. When Arsene Wenger does step down, I think he will be remembered very, very fondly. We talk about the modern era, George Graham started it and Arsene Wenger's taken it to the next level. "When he leaves the football club, I think people will look back and really appreciate what Arsene Wenger has done." 10:05AM Who will replace him? Arsene Wenger will lead the team to the end of the season and the club say they will 'make an appointment as soon as possible'. Our Arsenal man - Jeremy Wilson - says these are the leading candidates: Leonardo Jardim, Mikel Arteta, Joachim Low, Brendan Rodgers, Max Allegri and Luis Enrique. 10:02AM 'Arsene has unparalleled class and we will always be grateful' Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke has issued the following statement: "This is one of the most difficult days we have ever had in all our years in sport. One of the main reasons we got involved with Arsenal was because of what Arsène has brought to the club on and off the pitch. His longevity and consistency over such a sustained period at the highest level of the game will never be matched. "Arsène has unparalleled class and we will always be grateful to him. Everyone who loves Arsenal and everyone who loves football owes him a debt of gratitude. Three Premier League titles, including an entire season unbeaten, seven FA Cup triumphs and 20 successive years in the Champions League is an exceptional record. He has also transformed the identity of our club and of English football with his vision for how the game can be played. "We have high ambitions to build on Arsène's remarkable tenure and to honour his vision by ensuring that Arsenal competes for and wins the biggest and most important prizes in the game. "We must now focus on making a strong finish to the season and ask our millions of fans around the world to join us in paying appropriate tribute to one of the greats of Arsenal's history and one of the greats of the game." 9:57AM BREAKING NEWS: Arsene Wenger leaving Arsenal Arsene Wenger has announced he is to step down as manager of Arsenal at the end of the season. "After careful consideration and following discussions with the club, I feel it is the right time for me to step down at the end of the season. "I am grateful for having had the privilege to serve the club for so many memorable years. "I managed the club with full commitment and integrity. "I want to thank the staff, the players, the Directors and the fans who make this club so special. "I urge our fans to stand behind the team to finish on a high. "To all the Arsenal lovers take care of the values of the club. "My love and support for ever."
Arsene Wenger leaving Arsenal at end of season: live updates
Arsene Wenger leaving Arsenal at the end of the season Wenger's last match at Emirates on May 6 against Burnley Last Premier League match ever on May 13 against Huddersfield Arsenal to hold press conference with Ivan Gazidis at 5pm Mourinho speaks: "We'll show Mr Wenger respect he deserves" Why Wenger will enjoy great success in life after Arsenal Next Arsenal manager odds: Who will replace Wenger? How many times did your team lose to Wenger's Arsenal? Arsène Wenger, Arsenal’s longest-serving and most successful-ever manager, is to step down from his job at the end of the season after 22 years at the helm. Wenger has won three Premier League titles, an all-time record seven FA Cups, two doubles, reached the 2006 European Cup final and went the entire 2003-04 Premier League season undefeated, but has faced opposition over recent seasons at the repeated failure to challenge for either the Premier League or Champions League. Arsenal are still in the semi-finals of the Europa League but, even with the possibility of returning to the Champions League through that competition, a decision has been made to end the uncertainty that has hung over the club in recent months. A new backroom structure was already in place and candidates are being assessed as Arsenal now attempt to deal with one of the most seismic moments in their history. Wenger confirmed the decision this morning and, as ever, he stressed the importance of maintaining the values he has embodied in his time in English football. Put simply, that is an entertaining style of football, opportunities for young players and a fiscal structure that safeguards the club’s long-term future. Wenger replacements “After careful consideration and following discussions with the club, I feel it is the right time for me to step down at the end of the season,” said Wenger. “I am grateful for having had the privilege to serve the club for so many memorable years. I managed the club with full commitment and integrity. “I want to thank the staff, the players, the Directors and the fans who make this club so special. I urge our fans to stand behind the team to finish on a high. To all the Arsenal lovers take care of the values of the club. My love and support for ever.” Guy Wenger Arsenal’s majority owner, Stan Kroenke, has always been a massive supporter of Wenger and regarded this as perhaps the toughest decision in his time in sport. “This is one of the most difficult days we have ever had in all our years in sport,” he said. “One of the main reasons we got involved with Arsenal was because of what Arsène has brought to the club on and off the pitch. His longevity and consistency over such a sustained period at the highest level of the game will never be matched. “Arsène has unparalleled class and we will always be grateful to him. Everyone who loves Arsenal and everyone who loves football owes him a debt of gratitude. Three Premier League titles, including an entire season unbeaten, seven FA Cup triumphs and 20 successive years in the Champions League is an exceptional record. He has also transformed the identity of our club and of English football with his vision for how the game can be played. Arsenal fan's view | 'All the bad feeling has disappeared' “We have high ambitions to build on Arsène’s remarkable tenure and to honour his vision by ensuring that Arsenal competes for and wins the biggest and most important prizes in the game. “We must now focus on making a strong finish to the season and ask our millions of fans around the world to join us in paying appropriate tribute to one of the greats of Arsenal’s history and one of the greats of the game.” Arsenal have said that they will make an appointment as soon as possible. 4:42PM Jack Wilshere on the outgoing boss... "We need to send him off in the right way now" �� Turn your sound up and listen to this from @JackWilsherepic.twitter.com/aZ9UA5u0mo— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) April 20, 2018 "I'm sure when the dust settles, we have a few days to think about it, we'll start to reflect on it, but at the moment it's a bit raw, it's a bit sensitive." 4:08PM Thierry Henry on his former manager October 2002 and September's manager of the month congratulates the player of the month Credit: EDDIE KEOGH/PA I was a little mixed because it's a sad day for me to see the big man leave the club, although we all know he has matches left. I'm happy in a way that people can give him the farewell he deserves. His legacy is untouchable. Managers, fans from other teams - [they say] how Arsène changed Arsenal. I am happy that now we can all talk about his legacy. But we must not get carried away with celebrating the end of his time. The team must win the Europa League, it would be an incredible feat and Arsène has never won in Europe before, so it would be a good way to give him a nice goodbye. I remember when I was playing for Arsenal, people were talking about how we play, not what we won, but how we did it and how Arsène made Arsenal a club known in the whole world. If I could be the successor of Wenger? Look at me laughing. It's funny. One person to whom you can ask this question is Ivan Gazidis. He should answer the question. 3:57PM And a word from Germany From one he helped to make it (to Bayern Munich) 22 years @Arsenal - almost my whole lifetime. Impressive. Glad I could be a small part of it ���� #MerciArsène#Wengerpic.twitter.com/lzGJXJlOGC— Serge Gnabry (@SergeGnabry) April 20, 2018 3:51PM A tribute from an opponent Arsene Wenger built the best teams that I played against in English Football .The 98 team was Amazing.The biggest compliment is that he played football that made us change the way we played against them. He now deserves the most incredible send off from all in the coming weeks.— Gary Neville (@GNev2) April 20, 2018 3:36PM A trawl through the picture archive ... Has inspired this, 22 years in 11 photographs: Wenger at Arsenal gallery 3:17PM Sir Alex Ferguson pays tribute "I am really happy for Arsène Wenger. I have great respect for him and for the job he has done at Arsenal. It is great testament to his talent, professionalism and determination that has been able to dedicate 22 years of his life to a job that he loves. "In an era where football managers sometimes only last one or two seasons, it shows what an achievement it is to serve that length of time at a club the size of Arsenal. "I am pleased that he has announced he is leaving at this stage of the season, as he can now have the send-off that he truly deserves. "He is, without doubt, one the greatest Premier League managers and I am proud to have been a rival, a colleague and a friend to such a great man." 2:47PM Pep Guardiola tips his hat Luke Edwards reports from the Manchester City manager's press conference: “He has all my respect for what he has done. The Premier League is about huge personalities like Arsène, it is because of what he has done, his vision. “I wish him all the best in the future, I hope he can be involved in world football in a different way with his experience. Whether it is with Arsenal, Uefa, Fifa, or somewhere else, I don't know. It was a pleasure to compete against him here, with City, as well as Barcelona and Bayern. Pep Guardiola takes Manchester City training on Friday Credit: Victoria Haydn/Man City via Getty Images “It will be difficult for anyone to do what he has done at a top European club again. Sir Alex Ferguson did it at Manchester United, but it is so, so complicated. With the way social media is now, everybody has an opinion and can express it, you feel the pressure as a manager. “You can also feel pressure because staying in the Premier League is so important, then you have the sporting directors, who do not have a lot of patience. It will be so difficult to find a person who will be able to stay at a club for so long and do what Arsène has done.” 2:32PM 'Arsenal will unite behind Wenger now' Paul Matz, from the Arsenal Independent Supporters' Association, speaks to Telegraph Sport 2:06PM 'I have been talking well about him for a while' Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez, who has locked horns with Arsene Wenger plenty of times down the years in his time at Liverpool, Chelsea and on Tyneside, said this at today's press conference: "I have been talking well about him for a while. "To do things in the way that he has done and win the way he was winning, for so many years... we are talking about one of the best managers in football history." 2:01PM 'Like a father through tough times in my career' Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere posted this on Facebook: "To the man who gave me my chance as a 16-year-old, and showed unbelievable faith and commitment towards me. Always a gentleman, like a father through tough times in my career. He always believed in me when most people didn't. Thank you for everything boss! It's down to us now to end your era right. #onearsenewenger" Big shoes for anyone to fill,playing for Arsenal under Arsene was one of the best period of my career, 2 premiership, 2 FA cups, The invincibles, playing with some of the best assembled players,influencing millions of fans in Africa to support this great club. pic.twitter.com/tILZo70jBE— Kanu Nwankwo (@papilokanu) April 20, 2018 Personally a very sad day. I am forever in debt to this man. The person who had faith in me and gave me a platform to progress. Thank you for all the memories and trophies bosspic.twitter.com/EP26M6TP3W— Héctor Bellerín (@HectorBellerin) April 20, 2018 1:56PM 'He deserves respect from the whole world of football' Our man Matt Law was at Stamford Bridge today and asked Antonio Conte for his thoughts on Arsene Wenger. Reaction to Wenger? "My reaction... I think we must pay a great tribute to Arsene Wenger for his career. For his career at Arsenal. He and Ferguson, we're talking about the last two managers to stay for such a long time in a club. Arsene Wenger worked 22 years for Arsenal. I think that's great, it's a fantastic story. He won a lot at this club and, for this reason, I think he deserves a great tribute for his career." What was his influence in a footballing sense? "I think Arsene is one of the managers who had a great influence on football because, in every moment in his idea of football, he tried to play good football, creative and offensive football. He deserves great tribute also for this." How important is it that he gains that great tribute? "He deserves great respect. Not only from Arsenal supporters, but from the whole world of football. He deserves great respect. We are talking about one of the best managers in the world with a great and important career with Arsenal. He deserves a great tribute for his career. It would be very difficult to see in the future another manager staying for such a long time at the same club. I think, maybe, Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger were a really good story for football. Now it will be very difficult to see that again, another situation like this." 1:54PM 'A proper football man who lives and breathes it' David Moyes, whose West Ham side face Arsenal on Sunday, hailed Arsene Wenger's longevity. "He's been a great competitor, a terrific manager who has graced the Premier League for many years. "He's a proper football man who lives and breathes it. To do 22 years is an incredible achievement." 1:53PM 'There are not enough words for what he's done' Burnley boss Sean Dyche, who will be the second-longest serving current manager in the Premier League once Arsene Wenger stands down, has paid tribute to the Frenchman. "He is a legend of the game - the work that he's done will be remembered. "Some things that now seem normal and simple weren't at the time. Hydration in football sounds a simple thing but was not taken to a high level. Making sure the food they were eating was correct. Their health and well-being. "For youngish managers like myself there are not enough good words you can use for what he's done." 1:42PM 'It was a pleasure to compete against him' Pep Guardiola, manager of new Premier League champions Man City, has also spoken. "He is a huge personality. The Premier League is the Premier League because of what he has done and his vision. I wish him all the best for the future. "Hopefully he will be involved in a different way in world football. Of course it was a pleasure at Barcelona, Bayern Munich and here to compete against him." 1:39PM 'Arsenal fans will unite behind Wenger now' Paul Matz from the Arsenal Independent Supporters' Association, has told The Telegraph he believes the club will unite behind departing manager Arsene Wenger for the rest of the season as they focus on winning the Europa League. 1:37PM Mourinho asked about Wenger... wait for it Jose Mourinho has claimed that deep down he really respects Arsene Wenger and his various insults over the years did not reflect his true relationship with the Arsenal manager, who announced that he will leave the club at the end of the season. "If he's happy with the decision he makes and looks forward to the next chapter of his career and his life I'm really happy for him. If he's sad, I'm sad. I'm pretty sure as a club - and especially because Mr Wenger and Arsenal were for many, many years the biggest rivals of Sir Alex [Ferguson's] era - we will show Mr Wenger the respect he deserves." Asked whether he regretted many of his spats with Wenger, which were often characterised by the strength of Mourinho's response, he was dismissive. "It's not about regretting. I think your question is a typical question from somebody that was not a manager, not a player. Of course, you don't know the way we respect each other even when sometimes it doesn't look like we don't. "Players that get yellow cards and red cards by aggressive actions against each other, bad words during the career - the manager is the same thing. The ones that respect each other more are the ones with the problems. It's power against power; ambition against ambition; quality against quality. But in the end it's people from the same business who respect one another’s careers. "So it happened. What matters for me is the way I respect the person, the professional, the career. I always say that for some the memories are short, but for us football people - the real football people, the others live on us - don't have short memories. I know what it means, three Premier League titles and seven FA Cups, what he did in Japan and France, what he brought to French football. "[Also] What he gave to Arsenal in the period without Premier Leagues, the transition from stadium to stadium, we know what he did. If he's happy with the decision, I'm really happy and I hope he doesn't retire from football." 1:23PM Where it all began for Wenger Where it all began for Arsene Wenger in the #PL... pic.twitter.com/gbhqBu9LTq— Premier League (@premierleague) April 20, 2018 1:19PM The Top 10 longest-serving managers in Premier League history Arsene Wenger, Arsenal, October 1996 to May 2018 (21 years, seven months) Sir Alex Ferguson, Manchester United, August 1992 to May 2013 (20 years, nine months) David Moyes, Everton, March 2002 to May 2013 (11 years, two months) Harry Redknapp, West Ham, August 1994 to May 2001 (six years, eight months) Rafael Benitez, Liverpool, August 2004 to June 2010 (five years, 10 months) Alan Curbishley, Charlton, August 2000 to May 2006 (five years, nine months) Sam Allardyce, Bolton, August 2001 to April 2007 (five years, eight months) Gerard Houllier, Liverpool, November 1998 to May 2004 (five years, six months) Jim Smith, Derby, August 1996 to October 2001 (five years, two months) Sir Bobby Robson, Newcastle, September 1999 to August 2004 (four years, 11 months) 12:58PM 'One of the best in English football history' Premier League executive chairman Richard Scudamore offered his own tribute to Arsene Wenger. "It is hard to encapsulate the enormity of Arsene Wenger's contribution to Arsenal Football Club, the Premier League and football generally over these past 22 seasons. "All of Arsene's teams have been a joy to watch and his 2003-04 'Invincibles' will go down as one of the best in English football history." 12:50PM 'One major reason why I'm here is because of him' Club captain Per Mertesacker admitted it was "emotional" to find out that Arsene Wenger was set to depart. "We have just been informed basically. It is quite emotional. Obviously he has been at the club for such a long time, he has been so supportive to me. One major reason why I'm here is because of him. "It's been emotional and there will be time to digest it but it is a sad feeling right now." 12:47PM Wenger told players of his exit beforehand Arsene Wenger asked Arsenal to hold off announcing his decision to leave the club so he could inform his players first-hand. The news was announced this morning, with Wenger set to depart 12 months into a two-year deal. It is understood Wenger was keen to tell the Arsenal players himself and did so ahead of training at their London Colney base and minutes before the news was made public. His coaching staff were also informed of the decision in advance, although club staff working at the Emirates Stadium rather than the training ground discovered the news at the same time as everyone else. Wenger's surprise announcement came a day after he evaded questions over his future at his usual pre-match press conference. 12:36PM How many times did your team lose to Wenger's Arsenal? Was your club one of the teams Arsene Wenger had the wood over? How many times did your team lose to Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal? 12:35PM 'Today will mark the start of a new era for the club' Arsene Wenger's decision to leave Arsenal at the end of the season is good for all those involved, according to a leading supporters' group. Lois Langton, chair of the Arsenal Independent Supporters' Association, believes the timing is right and hailed Wenger as a "fantastic" manager in his day. "Without question, the announcement that Arsene Wenger will finally stand down at the end of this season is the right decision, both for the club and the manager, although, having been so long coming, it feels surreal that the day has finally arrived. "The problems associated with his tenure in recent years are well documented and now that the announcement has been made, there is nothing to be gained by going over old ground. "Arsene Wenger was, for a period of time, a fantastic manager for Arsenal. The Invincibles epitomise what he brought to the Club and, to that extent, his legacy will continue. "We have seen with Manchester City this season how difficult it is to go a league campaign undefeated. The 2003/2004 season in particular will forever be a source of pride and achievement. "It is now time to move on. We have a Europa League semi-final coming up against Atletico and a first success in Europe for Arsene Wenger would provide a fitting farewell. "Arsenal has a rich and wonderful heritage and today will mark the start of a new era for the club." 12:31PM Will Arsenal now raise their game against the Hammers? Arsenal play West Ham this Sunday. Here's our man Nick Callow's abbreviated preview: West Ham are not mathematically safe from relegation so Arsenal should fear a club they have lost to three times at Emirates Stadium. Arsenal can be pipped to sixth by Burnley, but Thursday's Europa Atletico Madrid semi-final will dictate Arsene Wenger's selection while David Moyes can go for broke. PREDICTION: 1-1 12:04PM VOTE: Who should Arsenal choose to replace Wenger? 11:55AM Where next for Wenger? Seeing as the man eats, drinks and sleeps football, it is highly unlikely he will walk off into the sunset and retire. The odds are now stacked in favour of him becoming the next Paris Saint-Germain manager, with Unai Emery expected to be shown the door by the Paris giants. Wenger would also be a a highly-popular choice given his profile in France and continuing analysis as a guest pundit for French TV. 11:48AM 'Name it the Arsene Wenger Stadium' Former Arsenal midfielder Paul Merson has urged fans to get behind the Frenchman for the rest of the season, starting with Sunday's home match against West Ham. "I think everybody can pay their respect to him now about how great he was as a manager. It's perfect timing. "I think it gives the fans (the chance) to pack the Emirates for the last few games of the season and have a right go. "If fans do not turn up against West Ham and pack that place out, they need serious questions asked about them and are they real Arsenal fans or are they glory-hunters?" Merson has also called for the Emirates Stadium to be renamed in Wenger's honour. "They should drop the Emirates bit - they don't need the money - and name it the Arsene Wenger Stadium. "That's his stadium. He built that. He made that stadium. Even if they called it the Emirates Arsene Wenger Stadium. He deserves to be on that." 11:44AM 'It shows the great dignity and class of the man' Spain and Chelsea's Cesc Fabregas, who burst in to the Arsenal starting line-up under Arsene Wenger, posted on Instagram... "Wow. I never expected that but it shows the great dignity and class of the man. I will never forget his guidance and support, his tutelage and mentorship. "He had faith in me from day one and I owe him a lot, he was like a father figure to me who always pushed me to be the best. Arsene, you deserve all the respect and happiness in the world. #classact" 11:43AM Inside information Ian Wright appeared to have been aware of the news before it was announced, tweeting a shocked face emoji around half an hour before the club's statement. — Ian Wright (@IanWright0) April 20, 2018 11:41AM Will it be Rodgers who replaces Wenger? Celtic majority shareholder Dermot Desmond has admitted he would let manager Brendan Rodgers speak to Arsenal if the Premier League club approached the Northern Irishman... "Absolutely. I don't think you can put handcuffs on anybody if they want to go to a club as good as Arsenal. "It will be Brendan's decision and Brendan's decision only." 11:33AM 'He moved the goalposts for everyone else' Southampton manager Mark Hughes believes it would be a "massive wrench" for Arsene Wenger to leave after so long in the post. "When you have had longevity in the game like Arsene has, and I have been in the Premier League for a long time, our paths have crossed on numerous occasions, we had a few run-ins but other times we were very civil and respectful of each other's efforts. "I had a good conversation with him two weeks ago, he looked very relaxed and chilled. "He came with different ideas, different views on how the game should be played, he moved the goalposts for everyone else, he came in and had success and everyone else had to catch up." 11:31AM 'Fans are celebrating like they've won the lottery' Former Arsenal goalkeeper David Seaman, Arsene Wenger's No 1 for the first seven years of his reign, is not happy with how some Gunners fans are reacting... "It's going to be good now, because there's going to be a chance he will get the send-off and the respect he deserves. The fans that are celebrating like they've won the lottery, it makes me a little bit angry if I'm honest. It's time to show respect and realise what he's done. "For me, he is Arsenal, and it's right that he's decided to leave on his own terms. "Now let's enjoy that. I hope all the fans that have stayed away now return because they've still got a chance of winning something this season. Get behind the team, get behind Arsenal, and show him the respect he deserves. "He's a gentleman. It's brilliant to be in his company. He's a really, really nice guy - and a lot of people don't see that. People say he's stubborn and this and that, but that's not true. It might have been true as a manager, but as a man he's a true gentleman. "When he came in he changed everything - the way we played, the diet... He revolutionised Arsenal. He was brilliant. For me, and especially for the back four - he added years to their careers." 11:05AM Wenger's Arsenal reign in numbers 1996 - the year when a then-unheralded Wenger, who had been in charge at Monaco and Japanese side Nagoya Grampus Eight, took over at Highbury. 1228 - games at the helm, ahead of Sunday's Premier League fixture against West Ham. 704 - wins to date as Arsenal boss. 3 - Premier League title wins, the last during an unbeaten Invincibles campaign of 2003/2004. 1549 - goals scored in Premier League matches by Wenger's teams. 10 - major trophies won. 473 - Premier League victories. 7 - FA Cup triumphs, with three of those having come the last four seasons. 151 - Premier League losses. 21 - full seasons in charge. 49 - games unbeaten in the Premier League from May 2003 to October 2004. 10:58AM Nearly 22 years in three minutes #MerciArsènepic.twitter.com/bjP0wLMgee— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) April 20, 2018 10:55AM How Twitter is reacting to Wenger leaving Unsurprisingly, frequent Arsene Wenger critic Piers Morgan has tweeted with a certain amount of relish... BREAKING: Wenger out. pic.twitter.com/HBuwQdY9aw— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) April 20, 2018 Fortunately, Gary Neville, the voice of reason, has said what many feel... Arsene Wenger built the best teams that I played against in English Football .The 98 team was Amazing.The biggest compliment is that he played football that made us change the way we played against them. He now deserves the most incredible send off from all in the coming weeks.— Gary Neville (@GNev2) April 20, 2018 Arsenal legend David Seaman has called on Gunners fans to give Wenger the send-off he deserves... Sad day for @Arsenal with Arsene leaving, can we now give him the send off/respect he deserves?!! #rememberthetrophies— David Seaman (@thedavidseaman) April 20, 2018 Journalist and TV presenter Robert Peston is suffering from mixed emotions... Such mixed feelings about Wenger resignation. I wanted him to go, but I miss him already. He was magnificent for us over many years, but it was time #Arsenal— Robert Peston (@Peston) April 20, 2018 Radio 1 DJ Greg James sees the funny side... BUT WHO GETS THE COAT?! I WANT THE COAT. SHOTGUN THE COAT. pic.twitter.com/C4qJEbO8YG— Greg James (@gregjames) April 20, 2018 Former Arsenal captain Tony Adams posted on Instagram: "Thanks for everything Arsene. Move over Herbert, Arsene Wenger the greatest Arsenal Manager." 10:50AM How fickle football can be It was expected that many Arsenal fans would boycott the club's remaining home games as a way of voicing their unhappiness at Arsene Wenger. BUT... Arsenal sure to be packed out for remaining games now— Matt Law (@Matt_Law_DT) April 20, 2018 10:36AM One word: longevity 823 - Arsene Wenger has managed more Premier League games than any other manager (823) and only Sir Alex Ferguson has won more games (528) than Wenger (473). Longevity. pic.twitter.com/ktdsaZPb1y— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 20, 2018 10:34AM Klopp hails Wenger Other Premier League manages are being asked for their thoughts on Arsene Wenger after today's momentous announcement. Here's what Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp says: "He is an influence in football. A fantastic career, outstanding personality. A big player in the business." 10:32AM How has it come to this? Arsene Wenger has won three Premier League titles during his spell of over 21 years at the helm, the last of which came as a result of the unbeaten 'Invincibles' season in 2003-04. No-one has won more FA Cups than the former Monaco boss, who was a shock appointment back in 1996. Protests against his reign picked up last season as the Gunners finished outside of the top four for the first time in a full campaign under Wenger's control. But despite the growing negativity, Wenger signed a new two-year deal last summer with the mandate of sustaining a title challenge. That failed miserably and, at the time of the announcement, Arsenal sit sixth in the table and 33 points adrift of newly-crowned champions Manchester City. 10:26AM Set your alarms for 5pm! Arsenal are holding a media conference with chief executive Ivan Gazidis at 5pm at the Emirates Stadium. 10:24AM Winterburn says 'time is right' Former Arsenal defender Nigel Winterburn believes the decision is the right one: "I think it's run its natural course. Arsene Wenger has been absolutely amazing for Arsenal Football Club. "It probably feels to me like it is the right time. When Arsene Wenger does step down, I think he will be remembered very, very fondly. We talk about the modern era, George Graham started it and Arsene Wenger's taken it to the next level. "When he leaves the football club, I think people will look back and really appreciate what Arsene Wenger has done." 10:05AM Who will replace him? Arsene Wenger will lead the team to the end of the season and the club say they will 'make an appointment as soon as possible'. Our Arsenal man - Jeremy Wilson - says these are the leading candidates: Leonardo Jardim, Mikel Arteta, Joachim Low, Brendan Rodgers, Max Allegri and Luis Enrique. 10:02AM 'Arsene has unparalleled class and we will always be grateful' Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke has issued the following statement: "This is one of the most difficult days we have ever had in all our years in sport. One of the main reasons we got involved with Arsenal was because of what Arsène has brought to the club on and off the pitch. His longevity and consistency over such a sustained period at the highest level of the game will never be matched. "Arsène has unparalleled class and we will always be grateful to him. Everyone who loves Arsenal and everyone who loves football owes him a debt of gratitude. Three Premier League titles, including an entire season unbeaten, seven FA Cup triumphs and 20 successive years in the Champions League is an exceptional record. He has also transformed the identity of our club and of English football with his vision for how the game can be played. "We have high ambitions to build on Arsène's remarkable tenure and to honour his vision by ensuring that Arsenal competes for and wins the biggest and most important prizes in the game. "We must now focus on making a strong finish to the season and ask our millions of fans around the world to join us in paying appropriate tribute to one of the greats of Arsenal's history and one of the greats of the game." 9:57AM BREAKING NEWS: Arsene Wenger leaving Arsenal Arsene Wenger has announced he is to step down as manager of Arsenal at the end of the season. "After careful consideration and following discussions with the club, I feel it is the right time for me to step down at the end of the season. "I am grateful for having had the privilege to serve the club for so many memorable years. "I managed the club with full commitment and integrity. "I want to thank the staff, the players, the Directors and the fans who make this club so special. "I urge our fans to stand behind the team to finish on a high. "To all the Arsenal lovers take care of the values of the club. "My love and support for ever."
Arsene Wenger leaving Arsenal at the end of the season Wenger's last match at Emirates on May 6 against Burnley Last Premier League match ever on May 13 against Huddersfield Arsenal to hold press conference with Ivan Gazidis at 5pm Mourinho speaks: "We'll show Mr Wenger respect he deserves" Why Wenger will enjoy great success in life after Arsenal Next Arsenal manager odds: Who will replace Wenger? How many times did your team lose to Wenger's Arsenal? Arsène Wenger, Arsenal’s longest-serving and most successful-ever manager, is to step down from his job at the end of the season after 22 years at the helm. Wenger has won three Premier League titles, an all-time record seven FA Cups, two doubles, reached the 2006 European Cup final and went the entire 2003-04 Premier League season undefeated, but has faced opposition over recent seasons at the repeated failure to challenge for either the Premier League or Champions League. Arsenal are still in the semi-finals of the Europa League but, even with the possibility of returning to the Champions League through that competition, a decision has been made to end the uncertainty that has hung over the club in recent months. A new backroom structure was already in place and candidates are being assessed as Arsenal now attempt to deal with one of the most seismic moments in their history. Wenger confirmed the decision this morning and, as ever, he stressed the importance of maintaining the values he has embodied in his time in English football. Put simply, that is an entertaining style of football, opportunities for young players and a fiscal structure that safeguards the club’s long-term future. Wenger replacements “After careful consideration and following discussions with the club, I feel it is the right time for me to step down at the end of the season,” said Wenger. “I am grateful for having had the privilege to serve the club for so many memorable years. I managed the club with full commitment and integrity. “I want to thank the staff, the players, the Directors and the fans who make this club so special. I urge our fans to stand behind the team to finish on a high. To all the Arsenal lovers take care of the values of the club. My love and support for ever.” Guy Wenger Arsenal’s majority owner, Stan Kroenke, has always been a massive supporter of Wenger and regarded this as perhaps the toughest decision in his time in sport. “This is one of the most difficult days we have ever had in all our years in sport,” he said. “One of the main reasons we got involved with Arsenal was because of what Arsène has brought to the club on and off the pitch. His longevity and consistency over such a sustained period at the highest level of the game will never be matched. “Arsène has unparalleled class and we will always be grateful to him. Everyone who loves Arsenal and everyone who loves football owes him a debt of gratitude. Three Premier League titles, including an entire season unbeaten, seven FA Cup triumphs and 20 successive years in the Champions League is an exceptional record. He has also transformed the identity of our club and of English football with his vision for how the game can be played. Arsenal fan's view | 'All the bad feeling has disappeared' “We have high ambitions to build on Arsène’s remarkable tenure and to honour his vision by ensuring that Arsenal competes for and wins the biggest and most important prizes in the game. “We must now focus on making a strong finish to the season and ask our millions of fans around the world to join us in paying appropriate tribute to one of the greats of Arsenal’s history and one of the greats of the game.” Arsenal have said that they will make an appointment as soon as possible. 4:42PM Jack Wilshere on the outgoing boss... "We need to send him off in the right way now" �� Turn your sound up and listen to this from @JackWilsherepic.twitter.com/aZ9UA5u0mo— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) April 20, 2018 "I'm sure when the dust settles, we have a few days to think about it, we'll start to reflect on it, but at the moment it's a bit raw, it's a bit sensitive." 4:08PM Thierry Henry on his former manager October 2002 and September's manager of the month congratulates the player of the month Credit: EDDIE KEOGH/PA I was a little mixed because it's a sad day for me to see the big man leave the club, although we all know he has matches left. I'm happy in a way that people can give him the farewell he deserves. His legacy is untouchable. Managers, fans from other teams - [they say] how Arsène changed Arsenal. I am happy that now we can all talk about his legacy. But we must not get carried away with celebrating the end of his time. The team must win the Europa League, it would be an incredible feat and Arsène has never won in Europe before, so it would be a good way to give him a nice goodbye. I remember when I was playing for Arsenal, people were talking about how we play, not what we won, but how we did it and how Arsène made Arsenal a club known in the whole world. If I could be the successor of Wenger? Look at me laughing. It's funny. One person to whom you can ask this question is Ivan Gazidis. He should answer the question. 3:57PM And a word from Germany From one he helped to make it (to Bayern Munich) 22 years @Arsenal - almost my whole lifetime. Impressive. Glad I could be a small part of it ���� #MerciArsène#Wengerpic.twitter.com/lzGJXJlOGC— Serge Gnabry (@SergeGnabry) April 20, 2018 3:51PM A tribute from an opponent Arsene Wenger built the best teams that I played against in English Football .The 98 team was Amazing.The biggest compliment is that he played football that made us change the way we played against them. He now deserves the most incredible send off from all in the coming weeks.— Gary Neville (@GNev2) April 20, 2018 3:36PM A trawl through the picture archive ... Has inspired this, 22 years in 11 photographs: Wenger at Arsenal gallery 3:17PM Sir Alex Ferguson pays tribute "I am really happy for Arsène Wenger. I have great respect for him and for the job he has done at Arsenal. It is great testament to his talent, professionalism and determination that has been able to dedicate 22 years of his life to a job that he loves. "In an era where football managers sometimes only last one or two seasons, it shows what an achievement it is to serve that length of time at a club the size of Arsenal. "I am pleased that he has announced he is leaving at this stage of the season, as he can now have the send-off that he truly deserves. "He is, without doubt, one the greatest Premier League managers and I am proud to have been a rival, a colleague and a friend to such a great man." 2:47PM Pep Guardiola tips his hat Luke Edwards reports from the Manchester City manager's press conference: “He has all my respect for what he has done. The Premier League is about huge personalities like Arsène, it is because of what he has done, his vision. “I wish him all the best in the future, I hope he can be involved in world football in a different way with his experience. Whether it is with Arsenal, Uefa, Fifa, or somewhere else, I don't know. It was a pleasure to compete against him here, with City, as well as Barcelona and Bayern. Pep Guardiola takes Manchester City training on Friday Credit: Victoria Haydn/Man City via Getty Images “It will be difficult for anyone to do what he has done at a top European club again. Sir Alex Ferguson did it at Manchester United, but it is so, so complicated. With the way social media is now, everybody has an opinion and can express it, you feel the pressure as a manager. “You can also feel pressure because staying in the Premier League is so important, then you have the sporting directors, who do not have a lot of patience. It will be so difficult to find a person who will be able to stay at a club for so long and do what Arsène has done.” 2:32PM 'Arsenal will unite behind Wenger now' Paul Matz, from the Arsenal Independent Supporters' Association, speaks to Telegraph Sport 2:06PM 'I have been talking well about him for a while' Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez, who has locked horns with Arsene Wenger plenty of times down the years in his time at Liverpool, Chelsea and on Tyneside, said this at today's press conference: "I have been talking well about him for a while. "To do things in the way that he has done and win the way he was winning, for so many years... we are talking about one of the best managers in football history." 2:01PM 'Like a father through tough times in my career' Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere posted this on Facebook: "To the man who gave me my chance as a 16-year-old, and showed unbelievable faith and commitment towards me. Always a gentleman, like a father through tough times in my career. He always believed in me when most people didn't. Thank you for everything boss! It's down to us now to end your era right. #onearsenewenger" Big shoes for anyone to fill,playing for Arsenal under Arsene was one of the best period of my career, 2 premiership, 2 FA cups, The invincibles, playing with some of the best assembled players,influencing millions of fans in Africa to support this great club. pic.twitter.com/tILZo70jBE— Kanu Nwankwo (@papilokanu) April 20, 2018 Personally a very sad day. I am forever in debt to this man. The person who had faith in me and gave me a platform to progress. Thank you for all the memories and trophies bosspic.twitter.com/EP26M6TP3W— Héctor Bellerín (@HectorBellerin) April 20, 2018 1:56PM 'He deserves respect from the whole world of football' Our man Matt Law was at Stamford Bridge today and asked Antonio Conte for his thoughts on Arsene Wenger. Reaction to Wenger? "My reaction... I think we must pay a great tribute to Arsene Wenger for his career. For his career at Arsenal. He and Ferguson, we're talking about the last two managers to stay for such a long time in a club. Arsene Wenger worked 22 years for Arsenal. I think that's great, it's a fantastic story. He won a lot at this club and, for this reason, I think he deserves a great tribute for his career." What was his influence in a footballing sense? "I think Arsene is one of the managers who had a great influence on football because, in every moment in his idea of football, he tried to play good football, creative and offensive football. He deserves great tribute also for this." How important is it that he gains that great tribute? "He deserves great respect. Not only from Arsenal supporters, but from the whole world of football. He deserves great respect. We are talking about one of the best managers in the world with a great and important career with Arsenal. He deserves a great tribute for his career. It would be very difficult to see in the future another manager staying for such a long time at the same club. I think, maybe, Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger were a really good story for football. Now it will be very difficult to see that again, another situation like this." 1:54PM 'A proper football man who lives and breathes it' David Moyes, whose West Ham side face Arsenal on Sunday, hailed Arsene Wenger's longevity. "He's been a great competitor, a terrific manager who has graced the Premier League for many years. "He's a proper football man who lives and breathes it. To do 22 years is an incredible achievement." 1:53PM 'There are not enough words for what he's done' Burnley boss Sean Dyche, who will be the second-longest serving current manager in the Premier League once Arsene Wenger stands down, has paid tribute to the Frenchman. "He is a legend of the game - the work that he's done will be remembered. "Some things that now seem normal and simple weren't at the time. Hydration in football sounds a simple thing but was not taken to a high level. Making sure the food they were eating was correct. Their health and well-being. "For youngish managers like myself there are not enough good words you can use for what he's done." 1:42PM 'It was a pleasure to compete against him' Pep Guardiola, manager of new Premier League champions Man City, has also spoken. "He is a huge personality. The Premier League is the Premier League because of what he has done and his vision. I wish him all the best for the future. "Hopefully he will be involved in a different way in world football. Of course it was a pleasure at Barcelona, Bayern Munich and here to compete against him." 1:39PM 'Arsenal fans will unite behind Wenger now' Paul Matz from the Arsenal Independent Supporters' Association, has told The Telegraph he believes the club will unite behind departing manager Arsene Wenger for the rest of the season as they focus on winning the Europa League. 1:37PM Mourinho asked about Wenger... wait for it Jose Mourinho has claimed that deep down he really respects Arsene Wenger and his various insults over the years did not reflect his true relationship with the Arsenal manager, who announced that he will leave the club at the end of the season. "If he's happy with the decision he makes and looks forward to the next chapter of his career and his life I'm really happy for him. If he's sad, I'm sad. I'm pretty sure as a club - and especially because Mr Wenger and Arsenal were for many, many years the biggest rivals of Sir Alex [Ferguson's] era - we will show Mr Wenger the respect he deserves." Asked whether he regretted many of his spats with Wenger, which were often characterised by the strength of Mourinho's response, he was dismissive. "It's not about regretting. I think your question is a typical question from somebody that was not a manager, not a player. Of course, you don't know the way we respect each other even when sometimes it doesn't look like we don't. "Players that get yellow cards and red cards by aggressive actions against each other, bad words during the career - the manager is the same thing. The ones that respect each other more are the ones with the problems. It's power against power; ambition against ambition; quality against quality. But in the end it's people from the same business who respect one another’s careers. "So it happened. What matters for me is the way I respect the person, the professional, the career. I always say that for some the memories are short, but for us football people - the real football people, the others live on us - don't have short memories. I know what it means, three Premier League titles and seven FA Cups, what he did in Japan and France, what he brought to French football. "[Also] What he gave to Arsenal in the period without Premier Leagues, the transition from stadium to stadium, we know what he did. If he's happy with the decision, I'm really happy and I hope he doesn't retire from football." 1:23PM Where it all began for Wenger Where it all began for Arsene Wenger in the #PL... pic.twitter.com/gbhqBu9LTq— Premier League (@premierleague) April 20, 2018 1:19PM The Top 10 longest-serving managers in Premier League history Arsene Wenger, Arsenal, October 1996 to May 2018 (21 years, seven months) Sir Alex Ferguson, Manchester United, August 1992 to May 2013 (20 years, nine months) David Moyes, Everton, March 2002 to May 2013 (11 years, two months) Harry Redknapp, West Ham, August 1994 to May 2001 (six years, eight months) Rafael Benitez, Liverpool, August 2004 to June 2010 (five years, 10 months) Alan Curbishley, Charlton, August 2000 to May 2006 (five years, nine months) Sam Allardyce, Bolton, August 2001 to April 2007 (five years, eight months) Gerard Houllier, Liverpool, November 1998 to May 2004 (five years, six months) Jim Smith, Derby, August 1996 to October 2001 (five years, two months) Sir Bobby Robson, Newcastle, September 1999 to August 2004 (four years, 11 months) 12:58PM 'One of the best in English football history' Premier League executive chairman Richard Scudamore offered his own tribute to Arsene Wenger. "It is hard to encapsulate the enormity of Arsene Wenger's contribution to Arsenal Football Club, the Premier League and football generally over these past 22 seasons. "All of Arsene's teams have been a joy to watch and his 2003-04 'Invincibles' will go down as one of the best in English football history." 12:50PM 'One major reason why I'm here is because of him' Club captain Per Mertesacker admitted it was "emotional" to find out that Arsene Wenger was set to depart. "We have just been informed basically. It is quite emotional. Obviously he has been at the club for such a long time, he has been so supportive to me. One major reason why I'm here is because of him. "It's been emotional and there will be time to digest it but it is a sad feeling right now." 12:47PM Wenger told players of his exit beforehand Arsene Wenger asked Arsenal to hold off announcing his decision to leave the club so he could inform his players first-hand. The news was announced this morning, with Wenger set to depart 12 months into a two-year deal. It is understood Wenger was keen to tell the Arsenal players himself and did so ahead of training at their London Colney base and minutes before the news was made public. His coaching staff were also informed of the decision in advance, although club staff working at the Emirates Stadium rather than the training ground discovered the news at the same time as everyone else. Wenger's surprise announcement came a day after he evaded questions over his future at his usual pre-match press conference. 12:36PM How many times did your team lose to Wenger's Arsenal? Was your club one of the teams Arsene Wenger had the wood over? How many times did your team lose to Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal? 12:35PM 'Today will mark the start of a new era for the club' Arsene Wenger's decision to leave Arsenal at the end of the season is good for all those involved, according to a leading supporters' group. Lois Langton, chair of the Arsenal Independent Supporters' Association, believes the timing is right and hailed Wenger as a "fantastic" manager in his day. "Without question, the announcement that Arsene Wenger will finally stand down at the end of this season is the right decision, both for the club and the manager, although, having been so long coming, it feels surreal that the day has finally arrived. "The problems associated with his tenure in recent years are well documented and now that the announcement has been made, there is nothing to be gained by going over old ground. "Arsene Wenger was, for a period of time, a fantastic manager for Arsenal. The Invincibles epitomise what he brought to the Club and, to that extent, his legacy will continue. "We have seen with Manchester City this season how difficult it is to go a league campaign undefeated. The 2003/2004 season in particular will forever be a source of pride and achievement. "It is now time to move on. We have a Europa League semi-final coming up against Atletico and a first success in Europe for Arsene Wenger would provide a fitting farewell. "Arsenal has a rich and wonderful heritage and today will mark the start of a new era for the club." 12:31PM Will Arsenal now raise their game against the Hammers? Arsenal play West Ham this Sunday. Here's our man Nick Callow's abbreviated preview: West Ham are not mathematically safe from relegation so Arsenal should fear a club they have lost to three times at Emirates Stadium. Arsenal can be pipped to sixth by Burnley, but Thursday's Europa Atletico Madrid semi-final will dictate Arsene Wenger's selection while David Moyes can go for broke. PREDICTION: 1-1 12:04PM VOTE: Who should Arsenal choose to replace Wenger? 11:55AM Where next for Wenger? Seeing as the man eats, drinks and sleeps football, it is highly unlikely he will walk off into the sunset and retire. The odds are now stacked in favour of him becoming the next Paris Saint-Germain manager, with Unai Emery expected to be shown the door by the Paris giants. Wenger would also be a a highly-popular choice given his profile in France and continuing analysis as a guest pundit for French TV. 11:48AM 'Name it the Arsene Wenger Stadium' Former Arsenal midfielder Paul Merson has urged fans to get behind the Frenchman for the rest of the season, starting with Sunday's home match against West Ham. "I think everybody can pay their respect to him now about how great he was as a manager. It's perfect timing. "I think it gives the fans (the chance) to pack the Emirates for the last few games of the season and have a right go. "If fans do not turn up against West Ham and pack that place out, they need serious questions asked about them and are they real Arsenal fans or are they glory-hunters?" Merson has also called for the Emirates Stadium to be renamed in Wenger's honour. "They should drop the Emirates bit - they don't need the money - and name it the Arsene Wenger Stadium. "That's his stadium. He built that. He made that stadium. Even if they called it the Emirates Arsene Wenger Stadium. He deserves to be on that." 11:44AM 'It shows the great dignity and class of the man' Spain and Chelsea's Cesc Fabregas, who burst in to the Arsenal starting line-up under Arsene Wenger, posted on Instagram... "Wow. I never expected that but it shows the great dignity and class of the man. I will never forget his guidance and support, his tutelage and mentorship. "He had faith in me from day one and I owe him a lot, he was like a father figure to me who always pushed me to be the best. Arsene, you deserve all the respect and happiness in the world. #classact" 11:43AM Inside information Ian Wright appeared to have been aware of the news before it was announced, tweeting a shocked face emoji around half an hour before the club's statement. — Ian Wright (@IanWright0) April 20, 2018 11:41AM Will it be Rodgers who replaces Wenger? Celtic majority shareholder Dermot Desmond has admitted he would let manager Brendan Rodgers speak to Arsenal if the Premier League club approached the Northern Irishman... "Absolutely. I don't think you can put handcuffs on anybody if they want to go to a club as good as Arsenal. "It will be Brendan's decision and Brendan's decision only." 11:33AM 'He moved the goalposts for everyone else' Southampton manager Mark Hughes believes it would be a "massive wrench" for Arsene Wenger to leave after so long in the post. "When you have had longevity in the game like Arsene has, and I have been in the Premier League for a long time, our paths have crossed on numerous occasions, we had a few run-ins but other times we were very civil and respectful of each other's efforts. "I had a good conversation with him two weeks ago, he looked very relaxed and chilled. "He came with different ideas, different views on how the game should be played, he moved the goalposts for everyone else, he came in and had success and everyone else had to catch up." 11:31AM 'Fans are celebrating like they've won the lottery' Former Arsenal goalkeeper David Seaman, Arsene Wenger's No 1 for the first seven years of his reign, is not happy with how some Gunners fans are reacting... "It's going to be good now, because there's going to be a chance he will get the send-off and the respect he deserves. The fans that are celebrating like they've won the lottery, it makes me a little bit angry if I'm honest. It's time to show respect and realise what he's done. "For me, he is Arsenal, and it's right that he's decided to leave on his own terms. "Now let's enjoy that. I hope all the fans that have stayed away now return because they've still got a chance of winning something this season. Get behind the team, get behind Arsenal, and show him the respect he deserves. "He's a gentleman. It's brilliant to be in his company. He's a really, really nice guy - and a lot of people don't see that. People say he's stubborn and this and that, but that's not true. It might have been true as a manager, but as a man he's a true gentleman. "When he came in he changed everything - the way we played, the diet... He revolutionised Arsenal. He was brilliant. For me, and especially for the back four - he added years to their careers." 11:05AM Wenger's Arsenal reign in numbers 1996 - the year when a then-unheralded Wenger, who had been in charge at Monaco and Japanese side Nagoya Grampus Eight, took over at Highbury. 1228 - games at the helm, ahead of Sunday's Premier League fixture against West Ham. 704 - wins to date as Arsenal boss. 3 - Premier League title wins, the last during an unbeaten Invincibles campaign of 2003/2004. 1549 - goals scored in Premier League matches by Wenger's teams. 10 - major trophies won. 473 - Premier League victories. 7 - FA Cup triumphs, with three of those having come the last four seasons. 151 - Premier League losses. 21 - full seasons in charge. 49 - games unbeaten in the Premier League from May 2003 to October 2004. 10:58AM Nearly 22 years in three minutes #MerciArsènepic.twitter.com/bjP0wLMgee— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) April 20, 2018 10:55AM How Twitter is reacting to Wenger leaving Unsurprisingly, frequent Arsene Wenger critic Piers Morgan has tweeted with a certain amount of relish... BREAKING: Wenger out. pic.twitter.com/HBuwQdY9aw— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) April 20, 2018 Fortunately, Gary Neville, the voice of reason, has said what many feel... Arsene Wenger built the best teams that I played against in English Football .The 98 team was Amazing.The biggest compliment is that he played football that made us change the way we played against them. He now deserves the most incredible send off from all in the coming weeks.— Gary Neville (@GNev2) April 20, 2018 Arsenal legend David Seaman has called on Gunners fans to give Wenger the send-off he deserves... Sad day for @Arsenal with Arsene leaving, can we now give him the send off/respect he deserves?!! #rememberthetrophies— David Seaman (@thedavidseaman) April 20, 2018 Journalist and TV presenter Robert Peston is suffering from mixed emotions... Such mixed feelings about Wenger resignation. I wanted him to go, but I miss him already. He was magnificent for us over many years, but it was time #Arsenal— Robert Peston (@Peston) April 20, 2018 Radio 1 DJ Greg James sees the funny side... BUT WHO GETS THE COAT?! I WANT THE COAT. SHOTGUN THE COAT. pic.twitter.com/C4qJEbO8YG— Greg James (@gregjames) April 20, 2018 Former Arsenal captain Tony Adams posted on Instagram: "Thanks for everything Arsene. Move over Herbert, Arsene Wenger the greatest Arsenal Manager." 10:50AM How fickle football can be It was expected that many Arsenal fans would boycott the club's remaining home games as a way of voicing their unhappiness at Arsene Wenger. BUT... Arsenal sure to be packed out for remaining games now— Matt Law (@Matt_Law_DT) April 20, 2018 10:36AM One word: longevity 823 - Arsene Wenger has managed more Premier League games than any other manager (823) and only Sir Alex Ferguson has won more games (528) than Wenger (473). Longevity. pic.twitter.com/ktdsaZPb1y— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 20, 2018 10:34AM Klopp hails Wenger Other Premier League manages are being asked for their thoughts on Arsene Wenger after today's momentous announcement. Here's what Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp says: "He is an influence in football. A fantastic career, outstanding personality. A big player in the business." 10:32AM How has it come to this? Arsene Wenger has won three Premier League titles during his spell of over 21 years at the helm, the last of which came as a result of the unbeaten 'Invincibles' season in 2003-04. No-one has won more FA Cups than the former Monaco boss, who was a shock appointment back in 1996. Protests against his reign picked up last season as the Gunners finished outside of the top four for the first time in a full campaign under Wenger's control. But despite the growing negativity, Wenger signed a new two-year deal last summer with the mandate of sustaining a title challenge. That failed miserably and, at the time of the announcement, Arsenal sit sixth in the table and 33 points adrift of newly-crowned champions Manchester City. 10:26AM Set your alarms for 5pm! Arsenal are holding a media conference with chief executive Ivan Gazidis at 5pm at the Emirates Stadium. 10:24AM Winterburn says 'time is right' Former Arsenal defender Nigel Winterburn believes the decision is the right one: "I think it's run its natural course. Arsene Wenger has been absolutely amazing for Arsenal Football Club. "It probably feels to me like it is the right time. When Arsene Wenger does step down, I think he will be remembered very, very fondly. We talk about the modern era, George Graham started it and Arsene Wenger's taken it to the next level. "When he leaves the football club, I think people will look back and really appreciate what Arsene Wenger has done." 10:05AM Who will replace him? Arsene Wenger will lead the team to the end of the season and the club say they will 'make an appointment as soon as possible'. Our Arsenal man - Jeremy Wilson - says these are the leading candidates: Leonardo Jardim, Mikel Arteta, Joachim Low, Brendan Rodgers, Max Allegri and Luis Enrique. 10:02AM 'Arsene has unparalleled class and we will always be grateful' Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke has issued the following statement: "This is one of the most difficult days we have ever had in all our years in sport. One of the main reasons we got involved with Arsenal was because of what Arsène has brought to the club on and off the pitch. His longevity and consistency over such a sustained period at the highest level of the game will never be matched. "Arsène has unparalleled class and we will always be grateful to him. Everyone who loves Arsenal and everyone who loves football owes him a debt of gratitude. Three Premier League titles, including an entire season unbeaten, seven FA Cup triumphs and 20 successive years in the Champions League is an exceptional record. He has also transformed the identity of our club and of English football with his vision for how the game can be played. "We have high ambitions to build on Arsène's remarkable tenure and to honour his vision by ensuring that Arsenal competes for and wins the biggest and most important prizes in the game. "We must now focus on making a strong finish to the season and ask our millions of fans around the world to join us in paying appropriate tribute to one of the greats of Arsenal's history and one of the greats of the game." 9:57AM BREAKING NEWS: Arsene Wenger leaving Arsenal Arsene Wenger has announced he is to step down as manager of Arsenal at the end of the season. "After careful consideration and following discussions with the club, I feel it is the right time for me to step down at the end of the season. "I am grateful for having had the privilege to serve the club for so many memorable years. "I managed the club with full commitment and integrity. "I want to thank the staff, the players, the Directors and the fans who make this club so special. "I urge our fans to stand behind the team to finish on a high. "To all the Arsenal lovers take care of the values of the club. "My love and support for ever."
Arsene Wenger leaving Arsenal at end of season: live updates
Arsene Wenger leaving Arsenal at the end of the season Wenger's last match at Emirates on May 6 against Burnley Last Premier League match ever on May 13 against Huddersfield Arsenal to hold press conference with Ivan Gazidis at 5pm Mourinho speaks: "We'll show Mr Wenger respect he deserves" Why Wenger will enjoy great success in life after Arsenal Next Arsenal manager odds: Who will replace Wenger? How many times did your team lose to Wenger's Arsenal? Arsène Wenger, Arsenal’s longest-serving and most successful-ever manager, is to step down from his job at the end of the season after 22 years at the helm. Wenger has won three Premier League titles, an all-time record seven FA Cups, two doubles, reached the 2006 European Cup final and went the entire 2003-04 Premier League season undefeated, but has faced opposition over recent seasons at the repeated failure to challenge for either the Premier League or Champions League. Arsenal are still in the semi-finals of the Europa League but, even with the possibility of returning to the Champions League through that competition, a decision has been made to end the uncertainty that has hung over the club in recent months. A new backroom structure was already in place and candidates are being assessed as Arsenal now attempt to deal with one of the most seismic moments in their history. Wenger confirmed the decision this morning and, as ever, he stressed the importance of maintaining the values he has embodied in his time in English football. Put simply, that is an entertaining style of football, opportunities for young players and a fiscal structure that safeguards the club’s long-term future. Wenger replacements “After careful consideration and following discussions with the club, I feel it is the right time for me to step down at the end of the season,” said Wenger. “I am grateful for having had the privilege to serve the club for so many memorable years. I managed the club with full commitment and integrity. “I want to thank the staff, the players, the Directors and the fans who make this club so special. I urge our fans to stand behind the team to finish on a high. To all the Arsenal lovers take care of the values of the club. My love and support for ever.” Guy Wenger Arsenal’s majority owner, Stan Kroenke, has always been a massive supporter of Wenger and regarded this as perhaps the toughest decision in his time in sport. “This is one of the most difficult days we have ever had in all our years in sport,” he said. “One of the main reasons we got involved with Arsenal was because of what Arsène has brought to the club on and off the pitch. His longevity and consistency over such a sustained period at the highest level of the game will never be matched. “Arsène has unparalleled class and we will always be grateful to him. Everyone who loves Arsenal and everyone who loves football owes him a debt of gratitude. Three Premier League titles, including an entire season unbeaten, seven FA Cup triumphs and 20 successive years in the Champions League is an exceptional record. He has also transformed the identity of our club and of English football with his vision for how the game can be played. Arsenal fan's view | 'All the bad feeling has disappeared' “We have high ambitions to build on Arsène’s remarkable tenure and to honour his vision by ensuring that Arsenal competes for and wins the biggest and most important prizes in the game. “We must now focus on making a strong finish to the season and ask our millions of fans around the world to join us in paying appropriate tribute to one of the greats of Arsenal’s history and one of the greats of the game.” Arsenal have said that they will make an appointment as soon as possible. 4:42PM Jack Wilshere on the outgoing boss... "We need to send him off in the right way now" �� Turn your sound up and listen to this from @JackWilsherepic.twitter.com/aZ9UA5u0mo— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) April 20, 2018 "I'm sure when the dust settles, we have a few days to think about it, we'll start to reflect on it, but at the moment it's a bit raw, it's a bit sensitive." 4:08PM Thierry Henry on his former manager October 2002 and September's manager of the month congratulates the player of the month Credit: EDDIE KEOGH/PA I was a little mixed because it's a sad day for me to see the big man leave the club, although we all know he has matches left. I'm happy in a way that people can give him the farewell he deserves. His legacy is untouchable. Managers, fans from other teams - [they say] how Arsène changed Arsenal. I am happy that now we can all talk about his legacy. But we must not get carried away with celebrating the end of his time. The team must win the Europa League, it would be an incredible feat and Arsène has never won in Europe before, so it would be a good way to give him a nice goodbye. I remember when I was playing for Arsenal, people were talking about how we play, not what we won, but how we did it and how Arsène made Arsenal a club known in the whole world. If I could be the successor of Wenger? Look at me laughing. It's funny. One person to whom you can ask this question is Ivan Gazidis. He should answer the question. 3:57PM And a word from Germany From one he helped to make it (to Bayern Munich) 22 years @Arsenal - almost my whole lifetime. Impressive. Glad I could be a small part of it ���� #MerciArsène#Wengerpic.twitter.com/lzGJXJlOGC— Serge Gnabry (@SergeGnabry) April 20, 2018 3:51PM A tribute from an opponent Arsene Wenger built the best teams that I played against in English Football .The 98 team was Amazing.The biggest compliment is that he played football that made us change the way we played against them. He now deserves the most incredible send off from all in the coming weeks.— Gary Neville (@GNev2) April 20, 2018 3:36PM A trawl through the picture archive ... Has inspired this, 22 years in 11 photographs: Wenger at Arsenal gallery 3:17PM Sir Alex Ferguson pays tribute "I am really happy for Arsène Wenger. I have great respect for him and for the job he has done at Arsenal. It is great testament to his talent, professionalism and determination that has been able to dedicate 22 years of his life to a job that he loves. "In an era where football managers sometimes only last one or two seasons, it shows what an achievement it is to serve that length of time at a club the size of Arsenal. "I am pleased that he has announced he is leaving at this stage of the season, as he can now have the send-off that he truly deserves. "He is, without doubt, one the greatest Premier League managers and I am proud to have been a rival, a colleague and a friend to such a great man." 2:47PM Pep Guardiola tips his hat Luke Edwards reports from the Manchester City manager's press conference: “He has all my respect for what he has done. The Premier League is about huge personalities like Arsène, it is because of what he has done, his vision. “I wish him all the best in the future, I hope he can be involved in world football in a different way with his experience. Whether it is with Arsenal, Uefa, Fifa, or somewhere else, I don't know. It was a pleasure to compete against him here, with City, as well as Barcelona and Bayern. Pep Guardiola takes Manchester City training on Friday Credit: Victoria Haydn/Man City via Getty Images “It will be difficult for anyone to do what he has done at a top European club again. Sir Alex Ferguson did it at Manchester United, but it is so, so complicated. With the way social media is now, everybody has an opinion and can express it, you feel the pressure as a manager. “You can also feel pressure because staying in the Premier League is so important, then you have the sporting directors, who do not have a lot of patience. It will be so difficult to find a person who will be able to stay at a club for so long and do what Arsène has done.” 2:32PM 'Arsenal will unite behind Wenger now' Paul Matz, from the Arsenal Independent Supporters' Association, speaks to Telegraph Sport 2:06PM 'I have been talking well about him for a while' Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez, who has locked horns with Arsene Wenger plenty of times down the years in his time at Liverpool, Chelsea and on Tyneside, said this at today's press conference: "I have been talking well about him for a while. "To do things in the way that he has done and win the way he was winning, for so many years... we are talking about one of the best managers in football history." 2:01PM 'Like a father through tough times in my career' Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere posted this on Facebook: "To the man who gave me my chance as a 16-year-old, and showed unbelievable faith and commitment towards me. Always a gentleman, like a father through tough times in my career. He always believed in me when most people didn't. Thank you for everything boss! It's down to us now to end your era right. #onearsenewenger" Big shoes for anyone to fill,playing for Arsenal under Arsene was one of the best period of my career, 2 premiership, 2 FA cups, The invincibles, playing with some of the best assembled players,influencing millions of fans in Africa to support this great club. pic.twitter.com/tILZo70jBE— Kanu Nwankwo (@papilokanu) April 20, 2018 Personally a very sad day. I am forever in debt to this man. The person who had faith in me and gave me a platform to progress. Thank you for all the memories and trophies bosspic.twitter.com/EP26M6TP3W— Héctor Bellerín (@HectorBellerin) April 20, 2018 1:56PM 'He deserves respect from the whole world of football' Our man Matt Law was at Stamford Bridge today and asked Antonio Conte for his thoughts on Arsene Wenger. Reaction to Wenger? "My reaction... I think we must pay a great tribute to Arsene Wenger for his career. For his career at Arsenal. He and Ferguson, we're talking about the last two managers to stay for such a long time in a club. Arsene Wenger worked 22 years for Arsenal. I think that's great, it's a fantastic story. He won a lot at this club and, for this reason, I think he deserves a great tribute for his career." What was his influence in a footballing sense? "I think Arsene is one of the managers who had a great influence on football because, in every moment in his idea of football, he tried to play good football, creative and offensive football. He deserves great tribute also for this." How important is it that he gains that great tribute? "He deserves great respect. Not only from Arsenal supporters, but from the whole world of football. He deserves great respect. We are talking about one of the best managers in the world with a great and important career with Arsenal. He deserves a great tribute for his career. It would be very difficult to see in the future another manager staying for such a long time at the same club. I think, maybe, Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger were a really good story for football. Now it will be very difficult to see that again, another situation like this." 1:54PM 'A proper football man who lives and breathes it' David Moyes, whose West Ham side face Arsenal on Sunday, hailed Arsene Wenger's longevity. "He's been a great competitor, a terrific manager who has graced the Premier League for many years. "He's a proper football man who lives and breathes it. To do 22 years is an incredible achievement." 1:53PM 'There are not enough words for what he's done' Burnley boss Sean Dyche, who will be the second-longest serving current manager in the Premier League once Arsene Wenger stands down, has paid tribute to the Frenchman. "He is a legend of the game - the work that he's done will be remembered. "Some things that now seem normal and simple weren't at the time. Hydration in football sounds a simple thing but was not taken to a high level. Making sure the food they were eating was correct. Their health and well-being. "For youngish managers like myself there are not enough good words you can use for what he's done." 1:42PM 'It was a pleasure to compete against him' Pep Guardiola, manager of new Premier League champions Man City, has also spoken. "He is a huge personality. The Premier League is the Premier League because of what he has done and his vision. I wish him all the best for the future. "Hopefully he will be involved in a different way in world football. Of course it was a pleasure at Barcelona, Bayern Munich and here to compete against him." 1:39PM 'Arsenal fans will unite behind Wenger now' Paul Matz from the Arsenal Independent Supporters' Association, has told The Telegraph he believes the club will unite behind departing manager Arsene Wenger for the rest of the season as they focus on winning the Europa League. 1:37PM Mourinho asked about Wenger... wait for it Jose Mourinho has claimed that deep down he really respects Arsene Wenger and his various insults over the years did not reflect his true relationship with the Arsenal manager, who announced that he will leave the club at the end of the season. "If he's happy with the decision he makes and looks forward to the next chapter of his career and his life I'm really happy for him. If he's sad, I'm sad. I'm pretty sure as a club - and especially because Mr Wenger and Arsenal were for many, many years the biggest rivals of Sir Alex [Ferguson's] era - we will show Mr Wenger the respect he deserves." Asked whether he regretted many of his spats with Wenger, which were often characterised by the strength of Mourinho's response, he was dismissive. "It's not about regretting. I think your question is a typical question from somebody that was not a manager, not a player. Of course, you don't know the way we respect each other even when sometimes it doesn't look like we don't. "Players that get yellow cards and red cards by aggressive actions against each other, bad words during the career - the manager is the same thing. The ones that respect each other more are the ones with the problems. It's power against power; ambition against ambition; quality against quality. But in the end it's people from the same business who respect one another’s careers. "So it happened. What matters for me is the way I respect the person, the professional, the career. I always say that for some the memories are short, but for us football people - the real football people, the others live on us - don't have short memories. I know what it means, three Premier League titles and seven FA Cups, what he did in Japan and France, what he brought to French football. "[Also] What he gave to Arsenal in the period without Premier Leagues, the transition from stadium to stadium, we know what he did. If he's happy with the decision, I'm really happy and I hope he doesn't retire from football." 1:23PM Where it all began for Wenger Where it all began for Arsene Wenger in the #PL... pic.twitter.com/gbhqBu9LTq— Premier League (@premierleague) April 20, 2018 1:19PM The Top 10 longest-serving managers in Premier League history Arsene Wenger, Arsenal, October 1996 to May 2018 (21 years, seven months) Sir Alex Ferguson, Manchester United, August 1992 to May 2013 (20 years, nine months) David Moyes, Everton, March 2002 to May 2013 (11 years, two months) Harry Redknapp, West Ham, August 1994 to May 2001 (six years, eight months) Rafael Benitez, Liverpool, August 2004 to June 2010 (five years, 10 months) Alan Curbishley, Charlton, August 2000 to May 2006 (five years, nine months) Sam Allardyce, Bolton, August 2001 to April 2007 (five years, eight months) Gerard Houllier, Liverpool, November 1998 to May 2004 (five years, six months) Jim Smith, Derby, August 1996 to October 2001 (five years, two months) Sir Bobby Robson, Newcastle, September 1999 to August 2004 (four years, 11 months) 12:58PM 'One of the best in English football history' Premier League executive chairman Richard Scudamore offered his own tribute to Arsene Wenger. "It is hard to encapsulate the enormity of Arsene Wenger's contribution to Arsenal Football Club, the Premier League and football generally over these past 22 seasons. "All of Arsene's teams have been a joy to watch and his 2003-04 'Invincibles' will go down as one of the best in English football history." 12:50PM 'One major reason why I'm here is because of him' Club captain Per Mertesacker admitted it was "emotional" to find out that Arsene Wenger was set to depart. "We have just been informed basically. It is quite emotional. Obviously he has been at the club for such a long time, he has been so supportive to me. One major reason why I'm here is because of him. "It's been emotional and there will be time to digest it but it is a sad feeling right now." 12:47PM Wenger told players of his exit beforehand Arsene Wenger asked Arsenal to hold off announcing his decision to leave the club so he could inform his players first-hand. The news was announced this morning, with Wenger set to depart 12 months into a two-year deal. It is understood Wenger was keen to tell the Arsenal players himself and did so ahead of training at their London Colney base and minutes before the news was made public. His coaching staff were also informed of the decision in advance, although club staff working at the Emirates Stadium rather than the training ground discovered the news at the same time as everyone else. Wenger's surprise announcement came a day after he evaded questions over his future at his usual pre-match press conference. 12:36PM How many times did your team lose to Wenger's Arsenal? Was your club one of the teams Arsene Wenger had the wood over? How many times did your team lose to Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal? 12:35PM 'Today will mark the start of a new era for the club' Arsene Wenger's decision to leave Arsenal at the end of the season is good for all those involved, according to a leading supporters' group. Lois Langton, chair of the Arsenal Independent Supporters' Association, believes the timing is right and hailed Wenger as a "fantastic" manager in his day. "Without question, the announcement that Arsene Wenger will finally stand down at the end of this season is the right decision, both for the club and the manager, although, having been so long coming, it feels surreal that the day has finally arrived. "The problems associated with his tenure in recent years are well documented and now that the announcement has been made, there is nothing to be gained by going over old ground. "Arsene Wenger was, for a period of time, a fantastic manager for Arsenal. The Invincibles epitomise what he brought to the Club and, to that extent, his legacy will continue. "We have seen with Manchester City this season how difficult it is to go a league campaign undefeated. The 2003/2004 season in particular will forever be a source of pride and achievement. "It is now time to move on. We have a Europa League semi-final coming up against Atletico and a first success in Europe for Arsene Wenger would provide a fitting farewell. "Arsenal has a rich and wonderful heritage and today will mark the start of a new era for the club." 12:31PM Will Arsenal now raise their game against the Hammers? Arsenal play West Ham this Sunday. Here's our man Nick Callow's abbreviated preview: West Ham are not mathematically safe from relegation so Arsenal should fear a club they have lost to three times at Emirates Stadium. Arsenal can be pipped to sixth by Burnley, but Thursday's Europa Atletico Madrid semi-final will dictate Arsene Wenger's selection while David Moyes can go for broke. PREDICTION: 1-1 12:04PM VOTE: Who should Arsenal choose to replace Wenger? 11:55AM Where next for Wenger? Seeing as the man eats, drinks and sleeps football, it is highly unlikely he will walk off into the sunset and retire. The odds are now stacked in favour of him becoming the next Paris Saint-Germain manager, with Unai Emery expected to be shown the door by the Paris giants. Wenger would also be a a highly-popular choice given his profile in France and continuing analysis as a guest pundit for French TV. 11:48AM 'Name it the Arsene Wenger Stadium' Former Arsenal midfielder Paul Merson has urged fans to get behind the Frenchman for the rest of the season, starting with Sunday's home match against West Ham. "I think everybody can pay their respect to him now about how great he was as a manager. It's perfect timing. "I think it gives the fans (the chance) to pack the Emirates for the last few games of the season and have a right go. "If fans do not turn up against West Ham and pack that place out, they need serious questions asked about them and are they real Arsenal fans or are they glory-hunters?" Merson has also called for the Emirates Stadium to be renamed in Wenger's honour. "They should drop the Emirates bit - they don't need the money - and name it the Arsene Wenger Stadium. "That's his stadium. He built that. He made that stadium. Even if they called it the Emirates Arsene Wenger Stadium. He deserves to be on that." 11:44AM 'It shows the great dignity and class of the man' Spain and Chelsea's Cesc Fabregas, who burst in to the Arsenal starting line-up under Arsene Wenger, posted on Instagram... "Wow. I never expected that but it shows the great dignity and class of the man. I will never forget his guidance and support, his tutelage and mentorship. "He had faith in me from day one and I owe him a lot, he was like a father figure to me who always pushed me to be the best. Arsene, you deserve all the respect and happiness in the world. #classact" 11:43AM Inside information Ian Wright appeared to have been aware of the news before it was announced, tweeting a shocked face emoji around half an hour before the club's statement. — Ian Wright (@IanWright0) April 20, 2018 11:41AM Will it be Rodgers who replaces Wenger? Celtic majority shareholder Dermot Desmond has admitted he would let manager Brendan Rodgers speak to Arsenal if the Premier League club approached the Northern Irishman... "Absolutely. I don't think you can put handcuffs on anybody if they want to go to a club as good as Arsenal. "It will be Brendan's decision and Brendan's decision only." 11:33AM 'He moved the goalposts for everyone else' Southampton manager Mark Hughes believes it would be a "massive wrench" for Arsene Wenger to leave after so long in the post. "When you have had longevity in the game like Arsene has, and I have been in the Premier League for a long time, our paths have crossed on numerous occasions, we had a few run-ins but other times we were very civil and respectful of each other's efforts. "I had a good conversation with him two weeks ago, he looked very relaxed and chilled. "He came with different ideas, different views on how the game should be played, he moved the goalposts for everyone else, he came in and had success and everyone else had to catch up." 11:31AM 'Fans are celebrating like they've won the lottery' Former Arsenal goalkeeper David Seaman, Arsene Wenger's No 1 for the first seven years of his reign, is not happy with how some Gunners fans are reacting... "It's going to be good now, because there's going to be a chance he will get the send-off and the respect he deserves. The fans that are celebrating like they've won the lottery, it makes me a little bit angry if I'm honest. It's time to show respect and realise what he's done. "For me, he is Arsenal, and it's right that he's decided to leave on his own terms. "Now let's enjoy that. I hope all the fans that have stayed away now return because they've still got a chance of winning something this season. Get behind the team, get behind Arsenal, and show him the respect he deserves. "He's a gentleman. It's brilliant to be in his company. He's a really, really nice guy - and a lot of people don't see that. People say he's stubborn and this and that, but that's not true. It might have been true as a manager, but as a man he's a true gentleman. "When he came in he changed everything - the way we played, the diet... He revolutionised Arsenal. He was brilliant. For me, and especially for the back four - he added years to their careers." 11:05AM Wenger's Arsenal reign in numbers 1996 - the year when a then-unheralded Wenger, who had been in charge at Monaco and Japanese side Nagoya Grampus Eight, took over at Highbury. 1228 - games at the helm, ahead of Sunday's Premier League fixture against West Ham. 704 - wins to date as Arsenal boss. 3 - Premier League title wins, the last during an unbeaten Invincibles campaign of 2003/2004. 1549 - goals scored in Premier League matches by Wenger's teams. 10 - major trophies won. 473 - Premier League victories. 7 - FA Cup triumphs, with three of those having come the last four seasons. 151 - Premier League losses. 21 - full seasons in charge. 49 - games unbeaten in the Premier League from May 2003 to October 2004. 10:58AM Nearly 22 years in three minutes #MerciArsènepic.twitter.com/bjP0wLMgee— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) April 20, 2018 10:55AM How Twitter is reacting to Wenger leaving Unsurprisingly, frequent Arsene Wenger critic Piers Morgan has tweeted with a certain amount of relish... BREAKING: Wenger out. pic.twitter.com/HBuwQdY9aw— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) April 20, 2018 Fortunately, Gary Neville, the voice of reason, has said what many feel... Arsene Wenger built the best teams that I played against in English Football .The 98 team was Amazing.The biggest compliment is that he played football that made us change the way we played against them. He now deserves the most incredible send off from all in the coming weeks.— Gary Neville (@GNev2) April 20, 2018 Arsenal legend David Seaman has called on Gunners fans to give Wenger the send-off he deserves... Sad day for @Arsenal with Arsene leaving, can we now give him the send off/respect he deserves?!! #rememberthetrophies— David Seaman (@thedavidseaman) April 20, 2018 Journalist and TV presenter Robert Peston is suffering from mixed emotions... Such mixed feelings about Wenger resignation. I wanted him to go, but I miss him already. He was magnificent for us over many years, but it was time #Arsenal— Robert Peston (@Peston) April 20, 2018 Radio 1 DJ Greg James sees the funny side... BUT WHO GETS THE COAT?! I WANT THE COAT. SHOTGUN THE COAT. pic.twitter.com/C4qJEbO8YG— Greg James (@gregjames) April 20, 2018 Former Arsenal captain Tony Adams posted on Instagram: "Thanks for everything Arsene. Move over Herbert, Arsene Wenger the greatest Arsenal Manager." 10:50AM How fickle football can be It was expected that many Arsenal fans would boycott the club's remaining home games as a way of voicing their unhappiness at Arsene Wenger. BUT... Arsenal sure to be packed out for remaining games now— Matt Law (@Matt_Law_DT) April 20, 2018 10:36AM One word: longevity 823 - Arsene Wenger has managed more Premier League games than any other manager (823) and only Sir Alex Ferguson has won more games (528) than Wenger (473). Longevity. pic.twitter.com/ktdsaZPb1y— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 20, 2018 10:34AM Klopp hails Wenger Other Premier League manages are being asked for their thoughts on Arsene Wenger after today's momentous announcement. Here's what Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp says: "He is an influence in football. A fantastic career, outstanding personality. A big player in the business." 10:32AM How has it come to this? Arsene Wenger has won three Premier League titles during his spell of over 21 years at the helm, the last of which came as a result of the unbeaten 'Invincibles' season in 2003-04. No-one has won more FA Cups than the former Monaco boss, who was a shock appointment back in 1996. Protests against his reign picked up last season as the Gunners finished outside of the top four for the first time in a full campaign under Wenger's control. But despite the growing negativity, Wenger signed a new two-year deal last summer with the mandate of sustaining a title challenge. That failed miserably and, at the time of the announcement, Arsenal sit sixth in the table and 33 points adrift of newly-crowned champions Manchester City. 10:26AM Set your alarms for 5pm! Arsenal are holding a media conference with chief executive Ivan Gazidis at 5pm at the Emirates Stadium. 10:24AM Winterburn says 'time is right' Former Arsenal defender Nigel Winterburn believes the decision is the right one: "I think it's run its natural course. Arsene Wenger has been absolutely amazing for Arsenal Football Club. "It probably feels to me like it is the right time. When Arsene Wenger does step down, I think he will be remembered very, very fondly. We talk about the modern era, George Graham started it and Arsene Wenger's taken it to the next level. "When he leaves the football club, I think people will look back and really appreciate what Arsene Wenger has done." 10:05AM Who will replace him? Arsene Wenger will lead the team to the end of the season and the club say they will 'make an appointment as soon as possible'. Our Arsenal man - Jeremy Wilson - says these are the leading candidates: Leonardo Jardim, Mikel Arteta, Joachim Low, Brendan Rodgers, Max Allegri and Luis Enrique. 10:02AM 'Arsene has unparalleled class and we will always be grateful' Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke has issued the following statement: "This is one of the most difficult days we have ever had in all our years in sport. One of the main reasons we got involved with Arsenal was because of what Arsène has brought to the club on and off the pitch. His longevity and consistency over such a sustained period at the highest level of the game will never be matched. "Arsène has unparalleled class and we will always be grateful to him. Everyone who loves Arsenal and everyone who loves football owes him a debt of gratitude. Three Premier League titles, including an entire season unbeaten, seven FA Cup triumphs and 20 successive years in the Champions League is an exceptional record. He has also transformed the identity of our club and of English football with his vision for how the game can be played. "We have high ambitions to build on Arsène's remarkable tenure and to honour his vision by ensuring that Arsenal competes for and wins the biggest and most important prizes in the game. "We must now focus on making a strong finish to the season and ask our millions of fans around the world to join us in paying appropriate tribute to one of the greats of Arsenal's history and one of the greats of the game." 9:57AM BREAKING NEWS: Arsene Wenger leaving Arsenal Arsene Wenger has announced he is to step down as manager of Arsenal at the end of the season. "After careful consideration and following discussions with the club, I feel it is the right time for me to step down at the end of the season. "I am grateful for having had the privilege to serve the club for so many memorable years. "I managed the club with full commitment and integrity. "I want to thank the staff, the players, the Directors and the fans who make this club so special. "I urge our fans to stand behind the team to finish on a high. "To all the Arsenal lovers take care of the values of the club. "My love and support for ever."
It was a jokey way to start the interview. “Nobody beats Barcelona 3-0,” your correspondent said. “Roma beats Barcelona 3-0,” Edin Dzeko replied. The No 1 threat to Liverpool in their Champions League semi-final has a gift for proving people wrong. Sold by Manchester City, pre-Pep Guardiola, Dzeko, 32, declined the chance to join Chelsea in January and has been rewarded for his foresight with a shot at the last four of club football’s marquee event. He heads to Anfield on Tuesday night at the expense of Lionel Messi, whose Barcelona side Roma ejected with a 3-0 victory at the Stadio Olimpico - and while Olivier Giroud, who signed for Chelsea in his place, doubts whether he will see Champions League action next term. On a dazzling morning at Roma’s Trigoria training ground, we spoke 12 hours after Dzeko had helped his team to a 2-1 win over Genoa. In that fixture, the eye was drawn once more to Dzeko’s skill, touch, balance and ease of movement at the head of a Roma side who are no easy draw for Liverpool, however tough Real Madrid or Bayern Munich might have been. Arguably the least heralded of Europe’s elite strikers, Dzeko is adamant tall forwards still have value. “Guardiola is one of those managers who prefer a different striker to the type I am, but he’s having success that way, so it depends on the manager, the style of play, the league where you play,” he says. “But I think the No 9 will always be in football. You need the proper No 9s in football, that’s my opinion.” Dezeko insists the role of the targetman will always have a place in football Credit: STEVE BISGROVE For Dzeko to confront Cristiano Ronaldo or Robert Lewandowski in the final in Kiev, Roma will have to win without the Egyptian phenomenon they lost to Anfield. Mohamed Salah, who spent two seasons at Roma, is on course to break Liverpool’s single season goalscoring record and deprive Harry Kane of the Premier League’s Golden Boot. Dzeko is not hiding the pain of Salah’s departure. He says: “First of all it’s such a shame he left here, but obviously he had to go. At the end he did right because he’s doing some amazing things in the Premier League, which is not the easiest league to play in. Mo-Mo’s a great player and a great guy and hopefully he can break some records this year because 40 goals in England is a lot. I hope he’s going to score more in the Premier League but not the Champions League.” Salah’s departure, Dzeko admits, made his own job harder. “Last year I scored 39 goals. This year I scored, let’s say, only 20,” he says. “I’m very happy for him that he left - but we are missing him.” Missing him, but less severely when Barcelona carried a 4-1 lead to Roma in what was expected to be a routine wrapping-up of their quarter-final tie. Dzeko recalls that volcanic night at the Stadio Olimpico with the glow he also feels for a certain Manchester City title win that featured a very late Sergio Aguero goal, in 2012. Dzeoko faces his former teammate Salah in the Champions League semi-finals Credit: AFP First, the ambushing of Barcelona. Dzeko says: “We were relaxed, actually, but not in the sense that we thought - we’re already dead, already out. We said - ok, we definitely didn’t have anything to lose after the 4-1 in Barcelona. We definitely have the quality to beat any team but after you lose 4-1 nobody expects you to come back. But the stadium was full, our fans were there, and we had to go for it. When you score in the first minutes everything changes. It definitely gave us more energy to score those three goals. “The away goal [which he scored] was the crucial one. At 3-1 in Barcelona, I said - 3-1 is not a bad result. You can play at home and try to score three goals. When we conceded the fourth we knew it would be difficult because it was Barcelona. But in the second game we just played one of the best games Roma fans have seen in history.” You may be wondering whether a good translator provided this testimony. In fact, Dzeko’s English is virtually flawless - and his Italian sounds pretty good too. His fondness for Man City and his time in England is undimmed. As we discussed the hysteria in the Stadio Olimpico when the clinching goal went in, Dzeko said he had reached that emotional high once before. “I have, actually, when we [City] scored the third against QPR. This didn’t bring us any title like it did at City, but it was special because to beat Barcelona 3-0 is definitely a big achievement for us and the club - and the fans loved it as well.” Why Liverpool have nothing to fear in Champions League Dzeko, who was in Manchester from 2011-2015, observed the moment his old club won the title with Alexsandr Kolarov, a fellow City exile, and says he “felt part of” Guardiola’s first English title: “I was watching with Alex on the bus before the Lazio game - the Manchester United game against West Bromwich. It was just a matter of time. I was very happy for them. I didn’t send any messages to anyone because it was already clear City were going to win. “I did my part [in City’s rise]. City in the last six or seven years won the league three times, so I’m definitely part of it, even if they now have new players and new staff. Every year they’re going up and just getting better and better.” His favourite memory remains the Aguero day, when he also scored: “Yeah, it was incredible. Everybody expected it would be an easy game. What happened there in those 90 minutes, those last three minutes, was just incredible. For a long time it won’t happen again like this. It was impossible to describe my feelings that day.” Even more than Liverpool, Roma advanced quietly, without pressure or expectation. Dzeko takes up the story: “From the group stage even, nobody expected us to go through, because we were in a group with Atletico, who reach the semis every year, and Chelsea, who are one of the biggest teams. We were not favourites to pass the group stage but we did it.” He says they beat Shakhtar Donetsk in the second-round “Italian style,” with sound defending. “In the quarter-finals, you know, people say - who do you want to play? I said - I don’t want to play Barcelona or Manchester City. Then you get Barcelona.” Dzeko sparked Roma's sensational second-leg comeback against Barcelona Credit: REUTERS His thoughts turn now to a team he scored against while at City and a manager, Jurgen Klopp, he knows from their time at opposing clubs in Germany, where Dzeko won the 2009 Bundesliga title with Wolfsburg. He says: “I was thinking in the last few days that Klopp was with Dortmund. He played a Champions League final against Bayern Munich - also a Europa League final with Liverpool. He lost both. Hopefully he’s not going to a third final, at least not this year. I wish them well - for next year. I know him from Germany. I know the style he wants to play - and that’s attacking football. We are the kind of team as well who like to attack. Roma have to be positive. Otherwise it will be a difficult task. Knowing Klopp, and Liverpool at Anfield, they will go for it in the first game. We’ll be prepared. We have to be.” Dzeko is adamant Roma possess the qualities to survive the dervish. “We have a very experienced team with more than 15 international players, and they’ve played big games like this before. This has to give us more power, not less.” I ask him to describe Roma’s strengths. He replies: “Team. One word. Team. Everything we achieve now we did it as a team. Not as individuals but as a team because we always believed when no-one believed in us and we gave everything in every game.” Saying no to Chelsea was not a bullet dodged, exactly, but Dzeko has been vindicated. “When I see what happened last month [Chelsea going out to Barcelona] I’m definitely happy I stayed,” he says. “It’s a big club and I was happy when I heard that they really wanted me, but in the end I think I did well because I wanted to play Champions League. I wanted to try to reach first of all the quarter-finals - which I never did - and now I’m in the semis trying to reach the final. It means I decided well.” Hard to argue with - but easy to feel aggrieved that the Premier League lost him.
Edin Dzeko, the man with the gift for proving people wrong, is prepared for Liverpool and 'amazing' Mohamed Salah
It was a jokey way to start the interview. “Nobody beats Barcelona 3-0,” your correspondent said. “Roma beats Barcelona 3-0,” Edin Dzeko replied. The No 1 threat to Liverpool in their Champions League semi-final has a gift for proving people wrong. Sold by Manchester City, pre-Pep Guardiola, Dzeko, 32, declined the chance to join Chelsea in January and has been rewarded for his foresight with a shot at the last four of club football’s marquee event. He heads to Anfield on Tuesday night at the expense of Lionel Messi, whose Barcelona side Roma ejected with a 3-0 victory at the Stadio Olimpico - and while Olivier Giroud, who signed for Chelsea in his place, doubts whether he will see Champions League action next term. On a dazzling morning at Roma’s Trigoria training ground, we spoke 12 hours after Dzeko had helped his team to a 2-1 win over Genoa. In that fixture, the eye was drawn once more to Dzeko’s skill, touch, balance and ease of movement at the head of a Roma side who are no easy draw for Liverpool, however tough Real Madrid or Bayern Munich might have been. Arguably the least heralded of Europe’s elite strikers, Dzeko is adamant tall forwards still have value. “Guardiola is one of those managers who prefer a different striker to the type I am, but he’s having success that way, so it depends on the manager, the style of play, the league where you play,” he says. “But I think the No 9 will always be in football. You need the proper No 9s in football, that’s my opinion.” Dezeko insists the role of the targetman will always have a place in football Credit: STEVE BISGROVE For Dzeko to confront Cristiano Ronaldo or Robert Lewandowski in the final in Kiev, Roma will have to win without the Egyptian phenomenon they lost to Anfield. Mohamed Salah, who spent two seasons at Roma, is on course to break Liverpool’s single season goalscoring record and deprive Harry Kane of the Premier League’s Golden Boot. Dzeko is not hiding the pain of Salah’s departure. He says: “First of all it’s such a shame he left here, but obviously he had to go. At the end he did right because he’s doing some amazing things in the Premier League, which is not the easiest league to play in. Mo-Mo’s a great player and a great guy and hopefully he can break some records this year because 40 goals in England is a lot. I hope he’s going to score more in the Premier League but not the Champions League.” Salah’s departure, Dzeko admits, made his own job harder. “Last year I scored 39 goals. This year I scored, let’s say, only 20,” he says. “I’m very happy for him that he left - but we are missing him.” Missing him, but less severely when Barcelona carried a 4-1 lead to Roma in what was expected to be a routine wrapping-up of their quarter-final tie. Dzeko recalls that volcanic night at the Stadio Olimpico with the glow he also feels for a certain Manchester City title win that featured a very late Sergio Aguero goal, in 2012. Dzeoko faces his former teammate Salah in the Champions League semi-finals Credit: AFP First, the ambushing of Barcelona. Dzeko says: “We were relaxed, actually, but not in the sense that we thought - we’re already dead, already out. We said - ok, we definitely didn’t have anything to lose after the 4-1 in Barcelona. We definitely have the quality to beat any team but after you lose 4-1 nobody expects you to come back. But the stadium was full, our fans were there, and we had to go for it. When you score in the first minutes everything changes. It definitely gave us more energy to score those three goals. “The away goal [which he scored] was the crucial one. At 3-1 in Barcelona, I said - 3-1 is not a bad result. You can play at home and try to score three goals. When we conceded the fourth we knew it would be difficult because it was Barcelona. But in the second game we just played one of the best games Roma fans have seen in history.” You may be wondering whether a good translator provided this testimony. In fact, Dzeko’s English is virtually flawless - and his Italian sounds pretty good too. His fondness for Man City and his time in England is undimmed. As we discussed the hysteria in the Stadio Olimpico when the clinching goal went in, Dzeko said he had reached that emotional high once before. “I have, actually, when we [City] scored the third against QPR. This didn’t bring us any title like it did at City, but it was special because to beat Barcelona 3-0 is definitely a big achievement for us and the club - and the fans loved it as well.” Why Liverpool have nothing to fear in Champions League Dzeko, who was in Manchester from 2011-2015, observed the moment his old club won the title with Alexsandr Kolarov, a fellow City exile, and says he “felt part of” Guardiola’s first English title: “I was watching with Alex on the bus before the Lazio game - the Manchester United game against West Bromwich. It was just a matter of time. I was very happy for them. I didn’t send any messages to anyone because it was already clear City were going to win. “I did my part [in City’s rise]. City in the last six or seven years won the league three times, so I’m definitely part of it, even if they now have new players and new staff. Every year they’re going up and just getting better and better.” His favourite memory remains the Aguero day, when he also scored: “Yeah, it was incredible. Everybody expected it would be an easy game. What happened there in those 90 minutes, those last three minutes, was just incredible. For a long time it won’t happen again like this. It was impossible to describe my feelings that day.” Even more than Liverpool, Roma advanced quietly, without pressure or expectation. Dzeko takes up the story: “From the group stage even, nobody expected us to go through, because we were in a group with Atletico, who reach the semis every year, and Chelsea, who are one of the biggest teams. We were not favourites to pass the group stage but we did it.” He says they beat Shakhtar Donetsk in the second-round “Italian style,” with sound defending. “In the quarter-finals, you know, people say - who do you want to play? I said - I don’t want to play Barcelona or Manchester City. Then you get Barcelona.” Dzeko sparked Roma's sensational second-leg comeback against Barcelona Credit: REUTERS His thoughts turn now to a team he scored against while at City and a manager, Jurgen Klopp, he knows from their time at opposing clubs in Germany, where Dzeko won the 2009 Bundesliga title with Wolfsburg. He says: “I was thinking in the last few days that Klopp was with Dortmund. He played a Champions League final against Bayern Munich - also a Europa League final with Liverpool. He lost both. Hopefully he’s not going to a third final, at least not this year. I wish them well - for next year. I know him from Germany. I know the style he wants to play - and that’s attacking football. We are the kind of team as well who like to attack. Roma have to be positive. Otherwise it will be a difficult task. Knowing Klopp, and Liverpool at Anfield, they will go for it in the first game. We’ll be prepared. We have to be.” Dzeko is adamant Roma possess the qualities to survive the dervish. “We have a very experienced team with more than 15 international players, and they’ve played big games like this before. This has to give us more power, not less.” I ask him to describe Roma’s strengths. He replies: “Team. One word. Team. Everything we achieve now we did it as a team. Not as individuals but as a team because we always believed when no-one believed in us and we gave everything in every game.” Saying no to Chelsea was not a bullet dodged, exactly, but Dzeko has been vindicated. “When I see what happened last month [Chelsea going out to Barcelona] I’m definitely happy I stayed,” he says. “It’s a big club and I was happy when I heard that they really wanted me, but in the end I think I did well because I wanted to play Champions League. I wanted to try to reach first of all the quarter-finals - which I never did - and now I’m in the semis trying to reach the final. It means I decided well.” Hard to argue with - but easy to feel aggrieved that the Premier League lost him.
It was a jokey way to start the interview. “Nobody beats Barcelona 3-0,” your correspondent said. “Roma beats Barcelona 3-0,” Edin Dzeko replied. The No 1 threat to Liverpool in their Champions League semi-final has a gift for proving people wrong. Sold by Manchester City, pre-Pep Guardiola, Dzeko, 32, declined the chance to join Chelsea in January and has been rewarded for his foresight with a shot at the last four of club football’s marquee event. He heads to Anfield on Tuesday night at the expense of Lionel Messi, whose Barcelona side Roma ejected with a 3-0 victory at the Stadio Olimpico - and while Olivier Giroud, who signed for Chelsea in his place, doubts whether he will see Champions League action next term. On a dazzling morning at Roma’s Trigoria training ground, we spoke 12 hours after Dzeko had helped his team to a 2-1 win over Genoa. In that fixture, the eye was drawn once more to Dzeko’s skill, touch, balance and ease of movement at the head of a Roma side who are no easy draw for Liverpool, however tough Real Madrid or Bayern Munich might have been. Arguably the least heralded of Europe’s elite strikers, Dzeko is adamant tall forwards still have value. “Guardiola is one of those managers who prefer a different striker to the type I am, but he’s having success that way, so it depends on the manager, the style of play, the league where you play,” he says. “But I think the No 9 will always be in football. You need the proper No 9s in football, that’s my opinion.” Dezeko insists the role of the targetman will always have a place in football Credit: STEVE BISGROVE For Dzeko to confront Cristiano Ronaldo or Robert Lewandowski in the final in Kiev, Roma will have to win without the Egyptian phenomenon they lost to Anfield. Mohamed Salah, who spent two seasons at Roma, is on course to break Liverpool’s single season goalscoring record and deprive Harry Kane of the Premier League’s Golden Boot. Dzeko is not hiding the pain of Salah’s departure. He says: “First of all it’s such a shame he left here, but obviously he had to go. At the end he did right because he’s doing some amazing things in the Premier League, which is not the easiest league to play in. Mo-Mo’s a great player and a great guy and hopefully he can break some records this year because 40 goals in England is a lot. I hope he’s going to score more in the Premier League but not the Champions League.” Salah’s departure, Dzeko admits, made his own job harder. “Last year I scored 39 goals. This year I scored, let’s say, only 20,” he says. “I’m very happy for him that he left - but we are missing him.” Missing him, but less severely when Barcelona carried a 4-1 lead to Roma in what was expected to be a routine wrapping-up of their quarter-final tie. Dzeko recalls that volcanic night at the Stadio Olimpico with the glow he also feels for a certain Manchester City title win that featured a very late Sergio Aguero goal, in 2012. Dzeoko faces his former teammate Salah in the Champions League semi-finals Credit: AFP First, the ambushing of Barcelona. Dzeko says: “We were relaxed, actually, but not in the sense that we thought - we’re already dead, already out. We said - ok, we definitely didn’t have anything to lose after the 4-1 in Barcelona. We definitely have the quality to beat any team but after you lose 4-1 nobody expects you to come back. But the stadium was full, our fans were there, and we had to go for it. When you score in the first minutes everything changes. It definitely gave us more energy to score those three goals. “The away goal [which he scored] was the crucial one. At 3-1 in Barcelona, I said - 3-1 is not a bad result. You can play at home and try to score three goals. When we conceded the fourth we knew it would be difficult because it was Barcelona. But in the second game we just played one of the best games Roma fans have seen in history.” You may be wondering whether a good translator provided this testimony. In fact, Dzeko’s English is virtually flawless - and his Italian sounds pretty good too. His fondness for Man City and his time in England is undimmed. As we discussed the hysteria in the Stadio Olimpico when the clinching goal went in, Dzeko said he had reached that emotional high once before. “I have, actually, when we [City] scored the third against QPR. This didn’t bring us any title like it did at City, but it was special because to beat Barcelona 3-0 is definitely a big achievement for us and the club - and the fans loved it as well.” Why Liverpool have nothing to fear in Champions League Dzeko, who was in Manchester from 2011-2015, observed the moment his old club won the title with Alexsandr Kolarov, a fellow City exile, and says he “felt part of” Guardiola’s first English title: “I was watching with Alex on the bus before the Lazio game - the Manchester United game against West Bromwich. It was just a matter of time. I was very happy for them. I didn’t send any messages to anyone because it was already clear City were going to win. “I did my part [in City’s rise]. City in the last six or seven years won the league three times, so I’m definitely part of it, even if they now have new players and new staff. Every year they’re going up and just getting better and better.” His favourite memory remains the Aguero day, when he also scored: “Yeah, it was incredible. Everybody expected it would be an easy game. What happened there in those 90 minutes, those last three minutes, was just incredible. For a long time it won’t happen again like this. It was impossible to describe my feelings that day.” Even more than Liverpool, Roma advanced quietly, without pressure or expectation. Dzeko takes up the story: “From the group stage even, nobody expected us to go through, because we were in a group with Atletico, who reach the semis every year, and Chelsea, who are one of the biggest teams. We were not favourites to pass the group stage but we did it.” He says they beat Shakhtar Donetsk in the second-round “Italian style,” with sound defending. “In the quarter-finals, you know, people say - who do you want to play? I said - I don’t want to play Barcelona or Manchester City. Then you get Barcelona.” Dzeko sparked Roma's sensational second-leg comeback against Barcelona Credit: REUTERS His thoughts turn now to a team he scored against while at City and a manager, Jurgen Klopp, he knows from their time at opposing clubs in Germany, where Dzeko won the 2009 Bundesliga title with Wolfsburg. He says: “I was thinking in the last few days that Klopp was with Dortmund. He played a Champions League final against Bayern Munich - also a Europa League final with Liverpool. He lost both. Hopefully he’s not going to a third final, at least not this year. I wish them well - for next year. I know him from Germany. I know the style he wants to play - and that’s attacking football. We are the kind of team as well who like to attack. Roma have to be positive. Otherwise it will be a difficult task. Knowing Klopp, and Liverpool at Anfield, they will go for it in the first game. We’ll be prepared. We have to be.” Dzeko is adamant Roma possess the qualities to survive the dervish. “We have a very experienced team with more than 15 international players, and they’ve played big games like this before. This has to give us more power, not less.” I ask him to describe Roma’s strengths. He replies: “Team. One word. Team. Everything we achieve now we did it as a team. Not as individuals but as a team because we always believed when no-one believed in us and we gave everything in every game.” Saying no to Chelsea was not a bullet dodged, exactly, but Dzeko has been vindicated. “When I see what happened last month [Chelsea going out to Barcelona] I’m definitely happy I stayed,” he says. “It’s a big club and I was happy when I heard that they really wanted me, but in the end I think I did well because I wanted to play Champions League. I wanted to try to reach first of all the quarter-finals - which I never did - and now I’m in the semis trying to reach the final. It means I decided well.” Hard to argue with - but easy to feel aggrieved that the Premier League lost him.
Edin Dzeko, the man with the gift for proving people wrong, is prepared for Liverpool and 'amazing' Mohamed Salah
It was a jokey way to start the interview. “Nobody beats Barcelona 3-0,” your correspondent said. “Roma beats Barcelona 3-0,” Edin Dzeko replied. The No 1 threat to Liverpool in their Champions League semi-final has a gift for proving people wrong. Sold by Manchester City, pre-Pep Guardiola, Dzeko, 32, declined the chance to join Chelsea in January and has been rewarded for his foresight with a shot at the last four of club football’s marquee event. He heads to Anfield on Tuesday night at the expense of Lionel Messi, whose Barcelona side Roma ejected with a 3-0 victory at the Stadio Olimpico - and while Olivier Giroud, who signed for Chelsea in his place, doubts whether he will see Champions League action next term. On a dazzling morning at Roma’s Trigoria training ground, we spoke 12 hours after Dzeko had helped his team to a 2-1 win over Genoa. In that fixture, the eye was drawn once more to Dzeko’s skill, touch, balance and ease of movement at the head of a Roma side who are no easy draw for Liverpool, however tough Real Madrid or Bayern Munich might have been. Arguably the least heralded of Europe’s elite strikers, Dzeko is adamant tall forwards still have value. “Guardiola is one of those managers who prefer a different striker to the type I am, but he’s having success that way, so it depends on the manager, the style of play, the league where you play,” he says. “But I think the No 9 will always be in football. You need the proper No 9s in football, that’s my opinion.” Dezeko insists the role of the targetman will always have a place in football Credit: STEVE BISGROVE For Dzeko to confront Cristiano Ronaldo or Robert Lewandowski in the final in Kiev, Roma will have to win without the Egyptian phenomenon they lost to Anfield. Mohamed Salah, who spent two seasons at Roma, is on course to break Liverpool’s single season goalscoring record and deprive Harry Kane of the Premier League’s Golden Boot. Dzeko is not hiding the pain of Salah’s departure. He says: “First of all it’s such a shame he left here, but obviously he had to go. At the end he did right because he’s doing some amazing things in the Premier League, which is not the easiest league to play in. Mo-Mo’s a great player and a great guy and hopefully he can break some records this year because 40 goals in England is a lot. I hope he’s going to score more in the Premier League but not the Champions League.” Salah’s departure, Dzeko admits, made his own job harder. “Last year I scored 39 goals. This year I scored, let’s say, only 20,” he says. “I’m very happy for him that he left - but we are missing him.” Missing him, but less severely when Barcelona carried a 4-1 lead to Roma in what was expected to be a routine wrapping-up of their quarter-final tie. Dzeko recalls that volcanic night at the Stadio Olimpico with the glow he also feels for a certain Manchester City title win that featured a very late Sergio Aguero goal, in 2012. Dzeoko faces his former teammate Salah in the Champions League semi-finals Credit: AFP First, the ambushing of Barcelona. Dzeko says: “We were relaxed, actually, but not in the sense that we thought - we’re already dead, already out. We said - ok, we definitely didn’t have anything to lose after the 4-1 in Barcelona. We definitely have the quality to beat any team but after you lose 4-1 nobody expects you to come back. But the stadium was full, our fans were there, and we had to go for it. When you score in the first minutes everything changes. It definitely gave us more energy to score those three goals. “The away goal [which he scored] was the crucial one. At 3-1 in Barcelona, I said - 3-1 is not a bad result. You can play at home and try to score three goals. When we conceded the fourth we knew it would be difficult because it was Barcelona. But in the second game we just played one of the best games Roma fans have seen in history.” You may be wondering whether a good translator provided this testimony. In fact, Dzeko’s English is virtually flawless - and his Italian sounds pretty good too. His fondness for Man City and his time in England is undimmed. As we discussed the hysteria in the Stadio Olimpico when the clinching goal went in, Dzeko said he had reached that emotional high once before. “I have, actually, when we [City] scored the third against QPR. This didn’t bring us any title like it did at City, but it was special because to beat Barcelona 3-0 is definitely a big achievement for us and the club - and the fans loved it as well.” Why Liverpool have nothing to fear in Champions League Dzeko, who was in Manchester from 2011-2015, observed the moment his old club won the title with Alexsandr Kolarov, a fellow City exile, and says he “felt part of” Guardiola’s first English title: “I was watching with Alex on the bus before the Lazio game - the Manchester United game against West Bromwich. It was just a matter of time. I was very happy for them. I didn’t send any messages to anyone because it was already clear City were going to win. “I did my part [in City’s rise]. City in the last six or seven years won the league three times, so I’m definitely part of it, even if they now have new players and new staff. Every year they’re going up and just getting better and better.” His favourite memory remains the Aguero day, when he also scored: “Yeah, it was incredible. Everybody expected it would be an easy game. What happened there in those 90 minutes, those last three minutes, was just incredible. For a long time it won’t happen again like this. It was impossible to describe my feelings that day.” Even more than Liverpool, Roma advanced quietly, without pressure or expectation. Dzeko takes up the story: “From the group stage even, nobody expected us to go through, because we were in a group with Atletico, who reach the semis every year, and Chelsea, who are one of the biggest teams. We were not favourites to pass the group stage but we did it.” He says they beat Shakhtar Donetsk in the second-round “Italian style,” with sound defending. “In the quarter-finals, you know, people say - who do you want to play? I said - I don’t want to play Barcelona or Manchester City. Then you get Barcelona.” Dzeko sparked Roma's sensational second-leg comeback against Barcelona Credit: REUTERS His thoughts turn now to a team he scored against while at City and a manager, Jurgen Klopp, he knows from their time at opposing clubs in Germany, where Dzeko won the 2009 Bundesliga title with Wolfsburg. He says: “I was thinking in the last few days that Klopp was with Dortmund. He played a Champions League final against Bayern Munich - also a Europa League final with Liverpool. He lost both. Hopefully he’s not going to a third final, at least not this year. I wish them well - for next year. I know him from Germany. I know the style he wants to play - and that’s attacking football. We are the kind of team as well who like to attack. Roma have to be positive. Otherwise it will be a difficult task. Knowing Klopp, and Liverpool at Anfield, they will go for it in the first game. We’ll be prepared. We have to be.” Dzeko is adamant Roma possess the qualities to survive the dervish. “We have a very experienced team with more than 15 international players, and they’ve played big games like this before. This has to give us more power, not less.” I ask him to describe Roma’s strengths. He replies: “Team. One word. Team. Everything we achieve now we did it as a team. Not as individuals but as a team because we always believed when no-one believed in us and we gave everything in every game.” Saying no to Chelsea was not a bullet dodged, exactly, but Dzeko has been vindicated. “When I see what happened last month [Chelsea going out to Barcelona] I’m definitely happy I stayed,” he says. “It’s a big club and I was happy when I heard that they really wanted me, but in the end I think I did well because I wanted to play Champions League. I wanted to try to reach first of all the quarter-finals - which I never did - and now I’m in the semis trying to reach the final. It means I decided well.” Hard to argue with - but easy to feel aggrieved that the Premier League lost him.
It was a jokey way to start the interview. “Nobody beats Barcelona 3-0,” your correspondent said. “Roma beats Barcelona 3-0,” Edin Dzeko replied. The No 1 threat to Liverpool in their Champions League semi-final has a gift for proving people wrong. Sold by Manchester City, pre-Pep Guardiola, Dzeko, 32, declined the chance to join Chelsea in January and has been rewarded for his foresight with a shot at the last four of club football’s marquee event. He heads to Anfield on Tuesday night at the expense of Lionel Messi, whose Barcelona side Roma ejected with a 3-0 victory at the Stadio Olimpico - and while Olivier Giroud, who signed for Chelsea in his place, doubts whether he will see Champions League action next term. On a dazzling morning at Roma’s Trigoria training ground, we spoke 12 hours after Dzeko had helped his team to a 2-1 win over Genoa. In that fixture, the eye was drawn once more to Dzeko’s skill, touch, balance and ease of movement at the head of a Roma side who are no easy draw for Liverpool, however tough Real Madrid or Bayern Munich might have been. Arguably the least heralded of Europe’s elite strikers, Dzeko is adamant tall forwards still have value. “Guardiola is one of those managers who prefer a different striker to the type I am, but he’s having success that way, so it depends on the manager, the style of play, the league where you play,” he says. “But I think the No 9 will always be in football. You need the proper No 9s in football, that’s my opinion.” Dezeko insists the role of the targetman will always have a place in football Credit: STEVE BISGROVE For Dzeko to confront Cristiano Ronaldo or Robert Lewandowski in the final in Kiev, Roma will have to win without the Egyptian phenomenon they lost to Anfield. Mohamed Salah, who spent two seasons at Roma, is on course to break Liverpool’s single season goalscoring record and deprive Harry Kane of the Premier League’s Golden Boot. Dzeko is not hiding the pain of Salah’s departure. He says: “First of all it’s such a shame he left here, but obviously he had to go. At the end he did right because he’s doing some amazing things in the Premier League, which is not the easiest league to play in. Mo-Mo’s a great player and a great guy and hopefully he can break some records this year because 40 goals in England is a lot. I hope he’s going to score more in the Premier League but not the Champions League.” Salah’s departure, Dzeko admits, made his own job harder. “Last year I scored 39 goals. This year I scored, let’s say, only 20,” he says. “I’m very happy for him that he left - but we are missing him.” Missing him, but less severely when Barcelona carried a 4-1 lead to Roma in what was expected to be a routine wrapping-up of their quarter-final tie. Dzeko recalls that volcanic night at the Stadio Olimpico with the glow he also feels for a certain Manchester City title win that featured a very late Sergio Aguero goal, in 2012. Dzeoko faces his former teammate Salah in the Champions League semi-finals Credit: AFP First, the ambushing of Barcelona. Dzeko says: “We were relaxed, actually, but not in the sense that we thought - we’re already dead, already out. We said - ok, we definitely didn’t have anything to lose after the 4-1 in Barcelona. We definitely have the quality to beat any team but after you lose 4-1 nobody expects you to come back. But the stadium was full, our fans were there, and we had to go for it. When you score in the first minutes everything changes. It definitely gave us more energy to score those three goals. “The away goal [which he scored] was the crucial one. At 3-1 in Barcelona, I said - 3-1 is not a bad result. You can play at home and try to score three goals. When we conceded the fourth we knew it would be difficult because it was Barcelona. But in the second game we just played one of the best games Roma fans have seen in history.” You may be wondering whether a good translator provided this testimony. In fact, Dzeko’s English is virtually flawless - and his Italian sounds pretty good too. His fondness for Man City and his time in England is undimmed. As we discussed the hysteria in the Stadio Olimpico when the clinching goal went in, Dzeko said he had reached that emotional high once before. “I have, actually, when we [City] scored the third against QPR. This didn’t bring us any title like it did at City, but it was special because to beat Barcelona 3-0 is definitely a big achievement for us and the club - and the fans loved it as well.” Why Liverpool have nothing to fear in Champions League Dzeko, who was in Manchester from 2011-2015, observed the moment his old club won the title with Alexsandr Kolarov, a fellow City exile, and says he “felt part of” Guardiola’s first English title: “I was watching with Alex on the bus before the Lazio game - the Manchester United game against West Bromwich. It was just a matter of time. I was very happy for them. I didn’t send any messages to anyone because it was already clear City were going to win. “I did my part [in City’s rise]. City in the last six or seven years won the league three times, so I’m definitely part of it, even if they now have new players and new staff. Every year they’re going up and just getting better and better.” His favourite memory remains the Aguero day, when he also scored: “Yeah, it was incredible. Everybody expected it would be an easy game. What happened there in those 90 minutes, those last three minutes, was just incredible. For a long time it won’t happen again like this. It was impossible to describe my feelings that day.” Even more than Liverpool, Roma advanced quietly, without pressure or expectation. Dzeko takes up the story: “From the group stage even, nobody expected us to go through, because we were in a group with Atletico, who reach the semis every year, and Chelsea, who are one of the biggest teams. We were not favourites to pass the group stage but we did it.” He says they beat Shakhtar Donetsk in the second-round “Italian style,” with sound defending. “In the quarter-finals, you know, people say - who do you want to play? I said - I don’t want to play Barcelona or Manchester City. Then you get Barcelona.” Dzeko sparked Roma's sensational second-leg comeback against Barcelona Credit: REUTERS His thoughts turn now to a team he scored against while at City and a manager, Jurgen Klopp, he knows from their time at opposing clubs in Germany, where Dzeko won the 2009 Bundesliga title with Wolfsburg. He says: “I was thinking in the last few days that Klopp was with Dortmund. He played a Champions League final against Bayern Munich - also a Europa League final with Liverpool. He lost both. Hopefully he’s not going to a third final, at least not this year. I wish them well - for next year. I know him from Germany. I know the style he wants to play - and that’s attacking football. We are the kind of team as well who like to attack. Roma have to be positive. Otherwise it will be a difficult task. Knowing Klopp, and Liverpool at Anfield, they will go for it in the first game. We’ll be prepared. We have to be.” Dzeko is adamant Roma possess the qualities to survive the dervish. “We have a very experienced team with more than 15 international players, and they’ve played big games like this before. This has to give us more power, not less.” I ask him to describe Roma’s strengths. He replies: “Team. One word. Team. Everything we achieve now we did it as a team. Not as individuals but as a team because we always believed when no-one believed in us and we gave everything in every game.” Saying no to Chelsea was not a bullet dodged, exactly, but Dzeko has been vindicated. “When I see what happened last month [Chelsea going out to Barcelona] I’m definitely happy I stayed,” he says. “It’s a big club and I was happy when I heard that they really wanted me, but in the end I think I did well because I wanted to play Champions League. I wanted to try to reach first of all the quarter-finals - which I never did - and now I’m in the semis trying to reach the final. It means I decided well.” Hard to argue with - but easy to feel aggrieved that the Premier League lost him.
Edin Dzeko, the man with the gift for proving people wrong, is prepared for Liverpool and 'amazing' Mohamed Salah
It was a jokey way to start the interview. “Nobody beats Barcelona 3-0,” your correspondent said. “Roma beats Barcelona 3-0,” Edin Dzeko replied. The No 1 threat to Liverpool in their Champions League semi-final has a gift for proving people wrong. Sold by Manchester City, pre-Pep Guardiola, Dzeko, 32, declined the chance to join Chelsea in January and has been rewarded for his foresight with a shot at the last four of club football’s marquee event. He heads to Anfield on Tuesday night at the expense of Lionel Messi, whose Barcelona side Roma ejected with a 3-0 victory at the Stadio Olimpico - and while Olivier Giroud, who signed for Chelsea in his place, doubts whether he will see Champions League action next term. On a dazzling morning at Roma’s Trigoria training ground, we spoke 12 hours after Dzeko had helped his team to a 2-1 win over Genoa. In that fixture, the eye was drawn once more to Dzeko’s skill, touch, balance and ease of movement at the head of a Roma side who are no easy draw for Liverpool, however tough Real Madrid or Bayern Munich might have been. Arguably the least heralded of Europe’s elite strikers, Dzeko is adamant tall forwards still have value. “Guardiola is one of those managers who prefer a different striker to the type I am, but he’s having success that way, so it depends on the manager, the style of play, the league where you play,” he says. “But I think the No 9 will always be in football. You need the proper No 9s in football, that’s my opinion.” Dezeko insists the role of the targetman will always have a place in football Credit: STEVE BISGROVE For Dzeko to confront Cristiano Ronaldo or Robert Lewandowski in the final in Kiev, Roma will have to win without the Egyptian phenomenon they lost to Anfield. Mohamed Salah, who spent two seasons at Roma, is on course to break Liverpool’s single season goalscoring record and deprive Harry Kane of the Premier League’s Golden Boot. Dzeko is not hiding the pain of Salah’s departure. He says: “First of all it’s such a shame he left here, but obviously he had to go. At the end he did right because he’s doing some amazing things in the Premier League, which is not the easiest league to play in. Mo-Mo’s a great player and a great guy and hopefully he can break some records this year because 40 goals in England is a lot. I hope he’s going to score more in the Premier League but not the Champions League.” Salah’s departure, Dzeko admits, made his own job harder. “Last year I scored 39 goals. This year I scored, let’s say, only 20,” he says. “I’m very happy for him that he left - but we are missing him.” Missing him, but less severely when Barcelona carried a 4-1 lead to Roma in what was expected to be a routine wrapping-up of their quarter-final tie. Dzeko recalls that volcanic night at the Stadio Olimpico with the glow he also feels for a certain Manchester City title win that featured a very late Sergio Aguero goal, in 2012. Dzeoko faces his former teammate Salah in the Champions League semi-finals Credit: AFP First, the ambushing of Barcelona. Dzeko says: “We were relaxed, actually, but not in the sense that we thought - we’re already dead, already out. We said - ok, we definitely didn’t have anything to lose after the 4-1 in Barcelona. We definitely have the quality to beat any team but after you lose 4-1 nobody expects you to come back. But the stadium was full, our fans were there, and we had to go for it. When you score in the first minutes everything changes. It definitely gave us more energy to score those three goals. “The away goal [which he scored] was the crucial one. At 3-1 in Barcelona, I said - 3-1 is not a bad result. You can play at home and try to score three goals. When we conceded the fourth we knew it would be difficult because it was Barcelona. But in the second game we just played one of the best games Roma fans have seen in history.” You may be wondering whether a good translator provided this testimony. In fact, Dzeko’s English is virtually flawless - and his Italian sounds pretty good too. His fondness for Man City and his time in England is undimmed. As we discussed the hysteria in the Stadio Olimpico when the clinching goal went in, Dzeko said he had reached that emotional high once before. “I have, actually, when we [City] scored the third against QPR. This didn’t bring us any title like it did at City, but it was special because to beat Barcelona 3-0 is definitely a big achievement for us and the club - and the fans loved it as well.” Why Liverpool have nothing to fear in Champions League Dzeko, who was in Manchester from 2011-2015, observed the moment his old club won the title with Alexsandr Kolarov, a fellow City exile, and says he “felt part of” Guardiola’s first English title: “I was watching with Alex on the bus before the Lazio game - the Manchester United game against West Bromwich. It was just a matter of time. I was very happy for them. I didn’t send any messages to anyone because it was already clear City were going to win. “I did my part [in City’s rise]. City in the last six or seven years won the league three times, so I’m definitely part of it, even if they now have new players and new staff. Every year they’re going up and just getting better and better.” His favourite memory remains the Aguero day, when he also scored: “Yeah, it was incredible. Everybody expected it would be an easy game. What happened there in those 90 minutes, those last three minutes, was just incredible. For a long time it won’t happen again like this. It was impossible to describe my feelings that day.” Even more than Liverpool, Roma advanced quietly, without pressure or expectation. Dzeko takes up the story: “From the group stage even, nobody expected us to go through, because we were in a group with Atletico, who reach the semis every year, and Chelsea, who are one of the biggest teams. We were not favourites to pass the group stage but we did it.” He says they beat Shakhtar Donetsk in the second-round “Italian style,” with sound defending. “In the quarter-finals, you know, people say - who do you want to play? I said - I don’t want to play Barcelona or Manchester City. Then you get Barcelona.” Dzeko sparked Roma's sensational second-leg comeback against Barcelona Credit: REUTERS His thoughts turn now to a team he scored against while at City and a manager, Jurgen Klopp, he knows from their time at opposing clubs in Germany, where Dzeko won the 2009 Bundesliga title with Wolfsburg. He says: “I was thinking in the last few days that Klopp was with Dortmund. He played a Champions League final against Bayern Munich - also a Europa League final with Liverpool. He lost both. Hopefully he’s not going to a third final, at least not this year. I wish them well - for next year. I know him from Germany. I know the style he wants to play - and that’s attacking football. We are the kind of team as well who like to attack. Roma have to be positive. Otherwise it will be a difficult task. Knowing Klopp, and Liverpool at Anfield, they will go for it in the first game. We’ll be prepared. We have to be.” Dzeko is adamant Roma possess the qualities to survive the dervish. “We have a very experienced team with more than 15 international players, and they’ve played big games like this before. This has to give us more power, not less.” I ask him to describe Roma’s strengths. He replies: “Team. One word. Team. Everything we achieve now we did it as a team. Not as individuals but as a team because we always believed when no-one believed in us and we gave everything in every game.” Saying no to Chelsea was not a bullet dodged, exactly, but Dzeko has been vindicated. “When I see what happened last month [Chelsea going out to Barcelona] I’m definitely happy I stayed,” he says. “It’s a big club and I was happy when I heard that they really wanted me, but in the end I think I did well because I wanted to play Champions League. I wanted to try to reach first of all the quarter-finals - which I never did - and now I’m in the semis trying to reach the final. It means I decided well.” Hard to argue with - but easy to feel aggrieved that the Premier League lost him.
It was a jokey way to start the interview. “Nobody beats Barcelona 3-0,” your correspondent said. “Roma beats Barcelona 3-0,” Edin Dzeko replied. The No 1 threat to Liverpool in their Champions League semi-final has a gift for proving people wrong. Sold by Manchester City, pre-Pep Guardiola, Dzeko, 32, declined the chance to join Chelsea in January and has been rewarded for his foresight with a shot at the last four of club football’s marquee event. He heads to Anfield on Tuesday night at the expense of Lionel Messi, whose Barcelona side Roma ejected with a 3-0 victory at the Stadio Olimpico - and while Olivier Giroud, who signed for Chelsea in his place, doubts whether he will see Champions League action next term. On a dazzling morning at Roma’s Trigoria training ground, we spoke 12 hours after Dzeko had helped his team to a 2-1 win over Genoa. In that fixture, the eye was drawn once more to Dzeko’s skill, touch, balance and ease of movement at the head of a Roma side who are no easy draw for Liverpool, however tough Real Madrid or Bayern Munich might have been. Arguably the least heralded of Europe’s elite strikers, Dzeko is adamant tall forwards still have value. “Guardiola is one of those managers who prefer a different striker to the type I am, but he’s having success that way, so it depends on the manager, the style of play, the league where you play,” he says. “But I think the No 9 will always be in football. You need the proper No 9s in football, that’s my opinion.” Dezeko insists the role of the targetman will always have a place in football Credit: STEVE BISGROVE For Dzeko to confront Cristiano Ronaldo or Robert Lewandowski in the final in Kiev, Roma will have to win without the Egyptian phenomenon they lost to Anfield. Mohamed Salah, who spent two seasons at Roma, is on course to break Liverpool’s single season goalscoring record and deprive Harry Kane of the Premier League’s Golden Boot. Dzeko is not hiding the pain of Salah’s departure. He says: “First of all it’s such a shame he left here, but obviously he had to go. At the end he did right because he’s doing some amazing things in the Premier League, which is not the easiest league to play in. Mo-Mo’s a great player and a great guy and hopefully he can break some records this year because 40 goals in England is a lot. I hope he’s going to score more in the Premier League but not the Champions League.” Salah’s departure, Dzeko admits, made his own job harder. “Last year I scored 39 goals. This year I scored, let’s say, only 20,” he says. “I’m very happy for him that he left - but we are missing him.” Missing him, but less severely when Barcelona carried a 4-1 lead to Roma in what was expected to be a routine wrapping-up of their quarter-final tie. Dzeko recalls that volcanic night at the Stadio Olimpico with the glow he also feels for a certain Manchester City title win that featured a very late Sergio Aguero goal, in 2012. Dzeoko faces his former teammate Salah in the Champions League semi-finals Credit: AFP First, the ambushing of Barcelona. Dzeko says: “We were relaxed, actually, but not in the sense that we thought - we’re already dead, already out. We said - ok, we definitely didn’t have anything to lose after the 4-1 in Barcelona. We definitely have the quality to beat any team but after you lose 4-1 nobody expects you to come back. But the stadium was full, our fans were there, and we had to go for it. When you score in the first minutes everything changes. It definitely gave us more energy to score those three goals. “The away goal [which he scored] was the crucial one. At 3-1 in Barcelona, I said - 3-1 is not a bad result. You can play at home and try to score three goals. When we conceded the fourth we knew it would be difficult because it was Barcelona. But in the second game we just played one of the best games Roma fans have seen in history.” You may be wondering whether a good translator provided this testimony. In fact, Dzeko’s English is virtually flawless - and his Italian sounds pretty good too. His fondness for Man City and his time in England is undimmed. As we discussed the hysteria in the Stadio Olimpico when the clinching goal went in, Dzeko said he had reached that emotional high once before. “I have, actually, when we [City] scored the third against QPR. This didn’t bring us any title like it did at City, but it was special because to beat Barcelona 3-0 is definitely a big achievement for us and the club - and the fans loved it as well.” Why Liverpool have nothing to fear in Champions League Dzeko, who was in Manchester from 2011-2015, observed the moment his old club won the title with Alexsandr Kolarov, a fellow City exile, and says he “felt part of” Guardiola’s first English title: “I was watching with Alex on the bus before the Lazio game - the Manchester United game against West Bromwich. It was just a matter of time. I was very happy for them. I didn’t send any messages to anyone because it was already clear City were going to win. “I did my part [in City’s rise]. City in the last six or seven years won the league three times, so I’m definitely part of it, even if they now have new players and new staff. Every year they’re going up and just getting better and better.” His favourite memory remains the Aguero day, when he also scored: “Yeah, it was incredible. Everybody expected it would be an easy game. What happened there in those 90 minutes, those last three minutes, was just incredible. For a long time it won’t happen again like this. It was impossible to describe my feelings that day.” Even more than Liverpool, Roma advanced quietly, without pressure or expectation. Dzeko takes up the story: “From the group stage even, nobody expected us to go through, because we were in a group with Atletico, who reach the semis every year, and Chelsea, who are one of the biggest teams. We were not favourites to pass the group stage but we did it.” He says they beat Shakhtar Donetsk in the second-round “Italian style,” with sound defending. “In the quarter-finals, you know, people say - who do you want to play? I said - I don’t want to play Barcelona or Manchester City. Then you get Barcelona.” Dzeko sparked Roma's sensational second-leg comeback against Barcelona Credit: REUTERS His thoughts turn now to a team he scored against while at City and a manager, Jurgen Klopp, he knows from their time at opposing clubs in Germany, where Dzeko won the 2009 Bundesliga title with Wolfsburg. He says: “I was thinking in the last few days that Klopp was with Dortmund. He played a Champions League final against Bayern Munich - also a Europa League final with Liverpool. He lost both. Hopefully he’s not going to a third final, at least not this year. I wish them well - for next year. I know him from Germany. I know the style he wants to play - and that’s attacking football. We are the kind of team as well who like to attack. Roma have to be positive. Otherwise it will be a difficult task. Knowing Klopp, and Liverpool at Anfield, they will go for it in the first game. We’ll be prepared. We have to be.” Dzeko is adamant Roma possess the qualities to survive the dervish. “We have a very experienced team with more than 15 international players, and they’ve played big games like this before. This has to give us more power, not less.” I ask him to describe Roma’s strengths. He replies: “Team. One word. Team. Everything we achieve now we did it as a team. Not as individuals but as a team because we always believed when no-one believed in us and we gave everything in every game.” Saying no to Chelsea was not a bullet dodged, exactly, but Dzeko has been vindicated. “When I see what happened last month [Chelsea going out to Barcelona] I’m definitely happy I stayed,” he says. “It’s a big club and I was happy when I heard that they really wanted me, but in the end I think I did well because I wanted to play Champions League. I wanted to try to reach first of all the quarter-finals - which I never did - and now I’m in the semis trying to reach the final. It means I decided well.” Hard to argue with - but easy to feel aggrieved that the Premier League lost him.
Edin Dzeko, the man with the gift for proving people wrong, is prepared for Liverpool and 'amazing' Mohamed Salah
It was a jokey way to start the interview. “Nobody beats Barcelona 3-0,” your correspondent said. “Roma beats Barcelona 3-0,” Edin Dzeko replied. The No 1 threat to Liverpool in their Champions League semi-final has a gift for proving people wrong. Sold by Manchester City, pre-Pep Guardiola, Dzeko, 32, declined the chance to join Chelsea in January and has been rewarded for his foresight with a shot at the last four of club football’s marquee event. He heads to Anfield on Tuesday night at the expense of Lionel Messi, whose Barcelona side Roma ejected with a 3-0 victory at the Stadio Olimpico - and while Olivier Giroud, who signed for Chelsea in his place, doubts whether he will see Champions League action next term. On a dazzling morning at Roma’s Trigoria training ground, we spoke 12 hours after Dzeko had helped his team to a 2-1 win over Genoa. In that fixture, the eye was drawn once more to Dzeko’s skill, touch, balance and ease of movement at the head of a Roma side who are no easy draw for Liverpool, however tough Real Madrid or Bayern Munich might have been. Arguably the least heralded of Europe’s elite strikers, Dzeko is adamant tall forwards still have value. “Guardiola is one of those managers who prefer a different striker to the type I am, but he’s having success that way, so it depends on the manager, the style of play, the league where you play,” he says. “But I think the No 9 will always be in football. You need the proper No 9s in football, that’s my opinion.” Dezeko insists the role of the targetman will always have a place in football Credit: STEVE BISGROVE For Dzeko to confront Cristiano Ronaldo or Robert Lewandowski in the final in Kiev, Roma will have to win without the Egyptian phenomenon they lost to Anfield. Mohamed Salah, who spent two seasons at Roma, is on course to break Liverpool’s single season goalscoring record and deprive Harry Kane of the Premier League’s Golden Boot. Dzeko is not hiding the pain of Salah’s departure. He says: “First of all it’s such a shame he left here, but obviously he had to go. At the end he did right because he’s doing some amazing things in the Premier League, which is not the easiest league to play in. Mo-Mo’s a great player and a great guy and hopefully he can break some records this year because 40 goals in England is a lot. I hope he’s going to score more in the Premier League but not the Champions League.” Salah’s departure, Dzeko admits, made his own job harder. “Last year I scored 39 goals. This year I scored, let’s say, only 20,” he says. “I’m very happy for him that he left - but we are missing him.” Missing him, but less severely when Barcelona carried a 4-1 lead to Roma in what was expected to be a routine wrapping-up of their quarter-final tie. Dzeko recalls that volcanic night at the Stadio Olimpico with the glow he also feels for a certain Manchester City title win that featured a very late Sergio Aguero goal, in 2012. Dzeoko faces his former teammate Salah in the Champions League semi-finals Credit: AFP First, the ambushing of Barcelona. Dzeko says: “We were relaxed, actually, but not in the sense that we thought - we’re already dead, already out. We said - ok, we definitely didn’t have anything to lose after the 4-1 in Barcelona. We definitely have the quality to beat any team but after you lose 4-1 nobody expects you to come back. But the stadium was full, our fans were there, and we had to go for it. When you score in the first minutes everything changes. It definitely gave us more energy to score those three goals. “The away goal [which he scored] was the crucial one. At 3-1 in Barcelona, I said - 3-1 is not a bad result. You can play at home and try to score three goals. When we conceded the fourth we knew it would be difficult because it was Barcelona. But in the second game we just played one of the best games Roma fans have seen in history.” You may be wondering whether a good translator provided this testimony. In fact, Dzeko’s English is virtually flawless - and his Italian sounds pretty good too. His fondness for Man City and his time in England is undimmed. As we discussed the hysteria in the Stadio Olimpico when the clinching goal went in, Dzeko said he had reached that emotional high once before. “I have, actually, when we [City] scored the third against QPR. This didn’t bring us any title like it did at City, but it was special because to beat Barcelona 3-0 is definitely a big achievement for us and the club - and the fans loved it as well.” Why Liverpool have nothing to fear in Champions League Dzeko, who was in Manchester from 2011-2015, observed the moment his old club won the title with Alexsandr Kolarov, a fellow City exile, and says he “felt part of” Guardiola’s first English title: “I was watching with Alex on the bus before the Lazio game - the Manchester United game against West Bromwich. It was just a matter of time. I was very happy for them. I didn’t send any messages to anyone because it was already clear City were going to win. “I did my part [in City’s rise]. City in the last six or seven years won the league three times, so I’m definitely part of it, even if they now have new players and new staff. Every year they’re going up and just getting better and better.” His favourite memory remains the Aguero day, when he also scored: “Yeah, it was incredible. Everybody expected it would be an easy game. What happened there in those 90 minutes, those last three minutes, was just incredible. For a long time it won’t happen again like this. It was impossible to describe my feelings that day.” Even more than Liverpool, Roma advanced quietly, without pressure or expectation. Dzeko takes up the story: “From the group stage even, nobody expected us to go through, because we were in a group with Atletico, who reach the semis every year, and Chelsea, who are one of the biggest teams. We were not favourites to pass the group stage but we did it.” He says they beat Shakhtar Donetsk in the second-round “Italian style,” with sound defending. “In the quarter-finals, you know, people say - who do you want to play? I said - I don’t want to play Barcelona or Manchester City. Then you get Barcelona.” Dzeko sparked Roma's sensational second-leg comeback against Barcelona Credit: REUTERS His thoughts turn now to a team he scored against while at City and a manager, Jurgen Klopp, he knows from their time at opposing clubs in Germany, where Dzeko won the 2009 Bundesliga title with Wolfsburg. He says: “I was thinking in the last few days that Klopp was with Dortmund. He played a Champions League final against Bayern Munich - also a Europa League final with Liverpool. He lost both. Hopefully he’s not going to a third final, at least not this year. I wish them well - for next year. I know him from Germany. I know the style he wants to play - and that’s attacking football. We are the kind of team as well who like to attack. Roma have to be positive. Otherwise it will be a difficult task. Knowing Klopp, and Liverpool at Anfield, they will go for it in the first game. We’ll be prepared. We have to be.” Dzeko is adamant Roma possess the qualities to survive the dervish. “We have a very experienced team with more than 15 international players, and they’ve played big games like this before. This has to give us more power, not less.” I ask him to describe Roma’s strengths. He replies: “Team. One word. Team. Everything we achieve now we did it as a team. Not as individuals but as a team because we always believed when no-one believed in us and we gave everything in every game.” Saying no to Chelsea was not a bullet dodged, exactly, but Dzeko has been vindicated. “When I see what happened last month [Chelsea going out to Barcelona] I’m definitely happy I stayed,” he says. “It’s a big club and I was happy when I heard that they really wanted me, but in the end I think I did well because I wanted to play Champions League. I wanted to try to reach first of all the quarter-finals - which I never did - and now I’m in the semis trying to reach the final. It means I decided well.” Hard to argue with - but easy to feel aggrieved that the Premier League lost him.
Liverpool have unveiled their new home kit for the 2018/19 season. The strip – which retains the retro, deeper-red colour of the current campaign – will be worn for the first time during the club’s final home game of the season against Brighton in May. The Merseyside club are marketing the jersey as ‘Red Pepper’. Should Liverpool reach the Champions League final, it could even make its second appearance before the end of this season. Liverpool are the designated away team in the final, so that would only be possible if they get through to play Real Madrid in Kiev. Captain Jordan Henderson admits he is dreaming of joining the elite group of Liverpool captains to lift the European Cup. Sadio Mane (right) in the new kit Credit: LFC Only four Anfield skippers have enjoyed the privilege, Emlyn Hughes (1977 & 1978), Phil Thompson (1981), Graeme Souness (1984) and Steven Gerrard (2005). Although Henderson issued a reminder of a tough challenge to get past AS Roma, he said it is natural for any player to consider the possibility of fulfilling the ultimate ambition as it gets closer. “I think you dream about those things when you are a kid, really. Of course I have, as many other players have, but one step at a time,” said Henderson, speaking at the kit launch. Mohamed Salah, Loris Karius and Jordan Henderson Credit: LFC “Roma are a fantastic team and it will be a tough test for us so we will just have to wait and see. “We certainly won't under-estimate them. They beat Barcelona 3-0 and they are a top team. It will be a difficult game both home and away. "I've watched them a few times and they have got some very good players and a very good team. It will be a tough test, as it always would be in the semi-final of the Champions League, but it is a challenge for us to go in there being confident with the way we have been playing, especially in the last round. "We have to go there and do what we have been doing and hopefully get to the final.” Henderson is confident but cautious about current form. Why I'm expecting a Liverpool vs Bayern final “We are obviously in a good place at the moment but at the same time it is important not to get too carried away,” he said. “Our focus is on playing football and doing everything we can to win games, whether that is in the Premier League or the Champions League. We have some big games coming up but we just need to continue doing what we have been doing most of the season, work hard on the training field and put that into games and hopefully at the end of the season we end on a high. Premier League kit 2017/18 “It is a young team but I feel they are mature at the same time and are hungry to want more, learn and improve and that is the biggest thing. "I think midweek showed that; having beaten City away and then put in the performance we did against Bournemouth shows the mentality of the players so we need to continue that, stay together as a group and focus on what is important.” Pre-order the 18/19 Home Kit from the Official Liverpool FC Online Store
Liverpool unveil new 'red pepper' home kit for next season
Liverpool have unveiled their new home kit for the 2018/19 season. The strip – which retains the retro, deeper-red colour of the current campaign – will be worn for the first time during the club’s final home game of the season against Brighton in May. The Merseyside club are marketing the jersey as ‘Red Pepper’. Should Liverpool reach the Champions League final, it could even make its second appearance before the end of this season. Liverpool are the designated away team in the final, so that would only be possible if they get through to play Real Madrid in Kiev. Captain Jordan Henderson admits he is dreaming of joining the elite group of Liverpool captains to lift the European Cup. Sadio Mane (right) in the new kit Credit: LFC Only four Anfield skippers have enjoyed the privilege, Emlyn Hughes (1977 & 1978), Phil Thompson (1981), Graeme Souness (1984) and Steven Gerrard (2005). Although Henderson issued a reminder of a tough challenge to get past AS Roma, he said it is natural for any player to consider the possibility of fulfilling the ultimate ambition as it gets closer. “I think you dream about those things when you are a kid, really. Of course I have, as many other players have, but one step at a time,” said Henderson, speaking at the kit launch. Mohamed Salah, Loris Karius and Jordan Henderson Credit: LFC “Roma are a fantastic team and it will be a tough test for us so we will just have to wait and see. “We certainly won't under-estimate them. They beat Barcelona 3-0 and they are a top team. It will be a difficult game both home and away. "I've watched them a few times and they have got some very good players and a very good team. It will be a tough test, as it always would be in the semi-final of the Champions League, but it is a challenge for us to go in there being confident with the way we have been playing, especially in the last round. "We have to go there and do what we have been doing and hopefully get to the final.” Henderson is confident but cautious about current form. Why I'm expecting a Liverpool vs Bayern final “We are obviously in a good place at the moment but at the same time it is important not to get too carried away,” he said. “Our focus is on playing football and doing everything we can to win games, whether that is in the Premier League or the Champions League. We have some big games coming up but we just need to continue doing what we have been doing most of the season, work hard on the training field and put that into games and hopefully at the end of the season we end on a high. Premier League kit 2017/18 “It is a young team but I feel they are mature at the same time and are hungry to want more, learn and improve and that is the biggest thing. "I think midweek showed that; having beaten City away and then put in the performance we did against Bournemouth shows the mentality of the players so we need to continue that, stay together as a group and focus on what is important.” Pre-order the 18/19 Home Kit from the Official Liverpool FC Online Store
Liverpool have unveiled their new home kit for the 2018/19 season. The strip – which retains the retro, deeper-red colour of the current campaign – will be worn for the first time during the club’s final home game of the season against Brighton in May. The Merseyside club are marketing the jersey as ‘Red Pepper’. Should Liverpool reach the Champions League final, it could even make its second appearance before the end of this season. Liverpool are the designated away team in the final, so that would only be possible if they get through to play Real Madrid in Kiev. Captain Jordan Henderson admits he is dreaming of joining the elite group of Liverpool captains to lift the European Cup. Sadio Mane (right) in the new kit Credit: LFC Only four Anfield skippers have enjoyed the privilege, Emlyn Hughes (1977 & 1978), Phil Thompson (1981), Graeme Souness (1984) and Steven Gerrard (2005). Although Henderson issued a reminder of a tough challenge to get past AS Roma, he said it is natural for any player to consider the possibility of fulfilling the ultimate ambition as it gets closer. “I think you dream about those things when you are a kid, really. Of course I have, as many other players have, but one step at a time,” said Henderson, speaking at the kit launch. Mohamed Salah, Loris Karius and Jordan Henderson Credit: LFC “Roma are a fantastic team and it will be a tough test for us so we will just have to wait and see. “We certainly won't under-estimate them. They beat Barcelona 3-0 and they are a top team. It will be a difficult game both home and away. "I've watched them a few times and they have got some very good players and a very good team. It will be a tough test, as it always would be in the semi-final of the Champions League, but it is a challenge for us to go in there being confident with the way we have been playing, especially in the last round. "We have to go there and do what we have been doing and hopefully get to the final.” Henderson is confident but cautious about current form. Why I'm expecting a Liverpool vs Bayern final “We are obviously in a good place at the moment but at the same time it is important not to get too carried away,” he said. “Our focus is on playing football and doing everything we can to win games, whether that is in the Premier League or the Champions League. We have some big games coming up but we just need to continue doing what we have been doing most of the season, work hard on the training field and put that into games and hopefully at the end of the season we end on a high. Premier League kit 2017/18 “It is a young team but I feel they are mature at the same time and are hungry to want more, learn and improve and that is the biggest thing. "I think midweek showed that; having beaten City away and then put in the performance we did against Bournemouth shows the mentality of the players so we need to continue that, stay together as a group and focus on what is important.” Pre-order the 18/19 Home Kit from the Official Liverpool FC Online Store
Liverpool unveil new 'red pepper' home kit for next season
Liverpool have unveiled their new home kit for the 2018/19 season. The strip – which retains the retro, deeper-red colour of the current campaign – will be worn for the first time during the club’s final home game of the season against Brighton in May. The Merseyside club are marketing the jersey as ‘Red Pepper’. Should Liverpool reach the Champions League final, it could even make its second appearance before the end of this season. Liverpool are the designated away team in the final, so that would only be possible if they get through to play Real Madrid in Kiev. Captain Jordan Henderson admits he is dreaming of joining the elite group of Liverpool captains to lift the European Cup. Sadio Mane (right) in the new kit Credit: LFC Only four Anfield skippers have enjoyed the privilege, Emlyn Hughes (1977 & 1978), Phil Thompson (1981), Graeme Souness (1984) and Steven Gerrard (2005). Although Henderson issued a reminder of a tough challenge to get past AS Roma, he said it is natural for any player to consider the possibility of fulfilling the ultimate ambition as it gets closer. “I think you dream about those things when you are a kid, really. Of course I have, as many other players have, but one step at a time,” said Henderson, speaking at the kit launch. Mohamed Salah, Loris Karius and Jordan Henderson Credit: LFC “Roma are a fantastic team and it will be a tough test for us so we will just have to wait and see. “We certainly won't under-estimate them. They beat Barcelona 3-0 and they are a top team. It will be a difficult game both home and away. "I've watched them a few times and they have got some very good players and a very good team. It will be a tough test, as it always would be in the semi-final of the Champions League, but it is a challenge for us to go in there being confident with the way we have been playing, especially in the last round. "We have to go there and do what we have been doing and hopefully get to the final.” Henderson is confident but cautious about current form. Why I'm expecting a Liverpool vs Bayern final “We are obviously in a good place at the moment but at the same time it is important not to get too carried away,” he said. “Our focus is on playing football and doing everything we can to win games, whether that is in the Premier League or the Champions League. We have some big games coming up but we just need to continue doing what we have been doing most of the season, work hard on the training field and put that into games and hopefully at the end of the season we end on a high. Premier League kit 2017/18 “It is a young team but I feel they are mature at the same time and are hungry to want more, learn and improve and that is the biggest thing. "I think midweek showed that; having beaten City away and then put in the performance we did against Bournemouth shows the mentality of the players so we need to continue that, stay together as a group and focus on what is important.” Pre-order the 18/19 Home Kit from the Official Liverpool FC Online Store
Liverpool have unveiled their new home kit for the 2018/19 season. The strip – which retains the retro, deeper-red colour of the current campaign – will be worn for the first time during the club’s final home game of the season against Brighton in May. The Merseyside club are marketing the jersey as ‘Red Pepper’. Should Liverpool reach the Champions League final, it could even make its second appearance before the end of this season. Liverpool are the designated away team in the final, so that would only be possible if they get through to play Real Madrid in Kiev. Captain Jordan Henderson admits he is dreaming of joining the elite group of Liverpool captains to lift the European Cup. Sadio Mane (right) in the new kit Credit: LFC Only four Anfield skippers have enjoyed the privilege, Emlyn Hughes (1977 & 1978), Phil Thompson (1981), Graeme Souness (1984) and Steven Gerrard (2005). Although Henderson issued a reminder of a tough challenge to get past AS Roma, he said it is natural for any player to consider the possibility of fulfilling the ultimate ambition as it gets closer. “I think you dream about those things when you are a kid, really. Of course I have, as many other players have, but one step at a time,” said Henderson, speaking at the kit launch. Mohamed Salah, Loris Karius and Jordan Henderson Credit: LFC “Roma are a fantastic team and it will be a tough test for us so we will just have to wait and see. “We certainly won't under-estimate them. They beat Barcelona 3-0 and they are a top team. It will be a difficult game both home and away. "I've watched them a few times and they have got some very good players and a very good team. It will be a tough test, as it always would be in the semi-final of the Champions League, but it is a challenge for us to go in there being confident with the way we have been playing, especially in the last round. "We have to go there and do what we have been doing and hopefully get to the final.” Henderson is confident but cautious about current form. Why I'm expecting a Liverpool vs Bayern final “We are obviously in a good place at the moment but at the same time it is important not to get too carried away,” he said. “Our focus is on playing football and doing everything we can to win games, whether that is in the Premier League or the Champions League. We have some big games coming up but we just need to continue doing what we have been doing most of the season, work hard on the training field and put that into games and hopefully at the end of the season we end on a high. Premier League kit 2017/18 “It is a young team but I feel they are mature at the same time and are hungry to want more, learn and improve and that is the biggest thing. "I think midweek showed that; having beaten City away and then put in the performance we did against Bournemouth shows the mentality of the players so we need to continue that, stay together as a group and focus on what is important.” Pre-order the 18/19 Home Kit from the Official Liverpool FC Online Store
Liverpool unveil new 'red pepper' home kit for next season
Liverpool have unveiled their new home kit for the 2018/19 season. The strip – which retains the retro, deeper-red colour of the current campaign – will be worn for the first time during the club’s final home game of the season against Brighton in May. The Merseyside club are marketing the jersey as ‘Red Pepper’. Should Liverpool reach the Champions League final, it could even make its second appearance before the end of this season. Liverpool are the designated away team in the final, so that would only be possible if they get through to play Real Madrid in Kiev. Captain Jordan Henderson admits he is dreaming of joining the elite group of Liverpool captains to lift the European Cup. Sadio Mane (right) in the new kit Credit: LFC Only four Anfield skippers have enjoyed the privilege, Emlyn Hughes (1977 & 1978), Phil Thompson (1981), Graeme Souness (1984) and Steven Gerrard (2005). Although Henderson issued a reminder of a tough challenge to get past AS Roma, he said it is natural for any player to consider the possibility of fulfilling the ultimate ambition as it gets closer. “I think you dream about those things when you are a kid, really. Of course I have, as many other players have, but one step at a time,” said Henderson, speaking at the kit launch. Mohamed Salah, Loris Karius and Jordan Henderson Credit: LFC “Roma are a fantastic team and it will be a tough test for us so we will just have to wait and see. “We certainly won't under-estimate them. They beat Barcelona 3-0 and they are a top team. It will be a difficult game both home and away. "I've watched them a few times and they have got some very good players and a very good team. It will be a tough test, as it always would be in the semi-final of the Champions League, but it is a challenge for us to go in there being confident with the way we have been playing, especially in the last round. "We have to go there and do what we have been doing and hopefully get to the final.” Henderson is confident but cautious about current form. Why I'm expecting a Liverpool vs Bayern final “We are obviously in a good place at the moment but at the same time it is important not to get too carried away,” he said. “Our focus is on playing football and doing everything we can to win games, whether that is in the Premier League or the Champions League. We have some big games coming up but we just need to continue doing what we have been doing most of the season, work hard on the training field and put that into games and hopefully at the end of the season we end on a high. Premier League kit 2017/18 “It is a young team but I feel they are mature at the same time and are hungry to want more, learn and improve and that is the biggest thing. "I think midweek showed that; having beaten City away and then put in the performance we did against Bournemouth shows the mentality of the players so we need to continue that, stay together as a group and focus on what is important.” Pre-order the 18/19 Home Kit from the Official Liverpool FC Online Store
ICC ​The International Champions Cup is returning this summer and the fixtures that will pit 18 of Europe's biggest teams, including Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester United, Manchester City, ​Juventus and ​Bayern Munich, against each other across three continents have been released. Each club will play three times in the competition and all 27 games will take place between 20th July and 12th August in 14 venues across the USA, seven in Europe and one in Singapore. What. A. Summer! ...
Fixtures Announced: Man Utd, Real Madrid & Barcelona Among Giants Heading to USA for Huge 2018 ICC
ICC ​The International Champions Cup is returning this summer and the fixtures that will pit 18 of Europe's biggest teams, including Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester United, Manchester City, ​Juventus and ​Bayern Munich, against each other across three continents have been released. Each club will play three times in the competition and all 27 games will take place between 20th July and 12th August in 14 venues across the USA, seven in Europe and one in Singapore. What. A. Summer! ...
ICC ​The International Champions Cup is returning this summer and the fixtures that will pit 18 of Europe's biggest teams, including Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester United, Manchester City, ​Juventus and ​Bayern Munich, against each other across three continents have been released. Each club will play three times in the competition and all 27 games will take place between 20th July and 12th August in 14 venues across the USA, seven in Europe and one in Singapore. What. A. Summer! ...
Fixtures Announced: Man Utd, Real Madrid & Barcelona Among Giants Heading to USA for Huge 2018 ICC
ICC ​The International Champions Cup is returning this summer and the fixtures that will pit 18 of Europe's biggest teams, including Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester United, Manchester City, ​Juventus and ​Bayern Munich, against each other across three continents have been released. Each club will play three times in the competition and all 27 games will take place between 20th July and 12th August in 14 venues across the USA, seven in Europe and one in Singapore. What. A. Summer! ...
Sensationell hat die AS Rom den FC Barcelona im Viertelfinale eliminiert. Juventus-Turin-Coach Massimiliano Allegri schätzt diese Leistung sehr, sieht jedoch andere Titelfavoriten.
Allegri zur CL: "Bayern und Real die Favoriten"
Sensationell hat die AS Rom den FC Barcelona im Viertelfinale eliminiert. Juventus-Turin-Coach Massimiliano Allegri schätzt diese Leistung sehr, sieht jedoch andere Titelfavoriten.
Sensationell hat die AS Rom den FC Barcelona im Viertelfinale eliminiert. Juventus-Turin-Coach Massimiliano Allegri schätzt diese Leistung sehr, sieht jedoch andere Titelfavoriten.
Allegri zur CL: "Bayern und Real die Favoriten"
Sensationell hat die AS Rom den FC Barcelona im Viertelfinale eliminiert. Juventus-Turin-Coach Massimiliano Allegri schätzt diese Leistung sehr, sieht jedoch andere Titelfavoriten.
Sensationell hat die AS Rom den FC Barcelona im Viertelfinale eliminiert. Juventus-Turin-Coach Massimiliano Allegri schätzt diese Leistung sehr, sieht jedoch andere Titelfavoriten.
Allegri zur CL: "Bayern und Real die Favoriten"
Sensationell hat die AS Rom den FC Barcelona im Viertelfinale eliminiert. Juventus-Turin-Coach Massimiliano Allegri schätzt diese Leistung sehr, sieht jedoch andere Titelfavoriten.
Sensationell hat die AS Rom den FC Barcelona im Viertelfinale eliminiert. Juventus-Turin-Coach Massimiliano Allegri schätzt diese Leistung sehr, sieht jedoch andere Titelfavoriten.
Allegri zur CL: "Bayern und Real die Favoriten"
Sensationell hat die AS Rom den FC Barcelona im Viertelfinale eliminiert. Juventus-Turin-Coach Massimiliano Allegri schätzt diese Leistung sehr, sieht jedoch andere Titelfavoriten.
Sensationell hat die AS Rom den FC Barcelona im Viertelfinale eliminiert. Juventus-Turin-Coach Massimiliano Allegri schätzt diese Leistung sehr, sieht jedoch andere Titelfavoriten.
Allegri zur CL: "Bayern und Real die Favoriten"
Sensationell hat die AS Rom den FC Barcelona im Viertelfinale eliminiert. Juventus-Turin-Coach Massimiliano Allegri schätzt diese Leistung sehr, sieht jedoch andere Titelfavoriten.
Sensationell hat die AS Rom den FC Barcelona im Viertelfinale eliminiert. Juventus-Turin-Coach Massimiliano Allegri schätzt diese Leistung sehr, sieht jedoch andere Titelfavoriten.
Allegri zur CL: "Bayern und Real die Favoriten"
Sensationell hat die AS Rom den FC Barcelona im Viertelfinale eliminiert. Juventus-Turin-Coach Massimiliano Allegri schätzt diese Leistung sehr, sieht jedoch andere Titelfavoriten.
Paris Saint-Germain may have won a fifth Ligue 1 title in six years, but Unai Emery believes they have a long way to go to match the best.
Emery: Too soon to compare 'new club' PSG with Bayern or Barcelona
Paris Saint-Germain may have won a fifth Ligue 1 title in six years, but Unai Emery believes they have a long way to go to match the best.
<p>Emery: Too soon to compare &#39;new club&#39; PSG with Bayern or Barcelona</p>
Emery: Too soon to compare 'new club' PSG with Bayern or Barcelona

Emery: Too soon to compare 'new club' PSG with Bayern or Barcelona

<p>Emery: Too soon to compare &#39;new club&#39; PSG with Bayern or Barcelona</p>
Emery: Too soon to compare 'new club' PSG with Bayern or Barcelona

Emery: Too soon to compare 'new club' PSG with Bayern or Barcelona

Paris Saint-Germain may have won a fifth Ligue 1 title in six years, but Unai Emery believes they have a long way to go to match the best.
Emery: Too soon to compare 'new club' PSG with Bayern or Barcelona
Paris Saint-Germain may have won a fifth Ligue 1 title in six years, but Unai Emery believes they have a long way to go to match the best.
<p>Emery: Too soon to compare &#39;new club&#39; PSG with Bayern or Barcelona</p>
Emery: Too soon to compare 'new club' PSG with Bayern or Barcelona

Emery: Too soon to compare 'new club' PSG with Bayern or Barcelona

<p>Emery: Too soon to compare PSG with Bayern or Barcelona</p>
Emery: Too soon to compare PSG with Bayern or Barcelona

Emery: Too soon to compare PSG with Bayern or Barcelona

<p>Emery: Too soon to compare PSG with Bayern or Barcelona</p>
Emery: Too soon to compare PSG with Bayern or Barcelona

Emery: Too soon to compare PSG with Bayern or Barcelona

Paris Saint-Germain may have won a fifth Ligue 1 title in six years, but Unai Emery believes they have a long way to go to match the best.
Emery: Too soon to compare PSG with Bayern or Barcelona
Paris Saint-Germain may have won a fifth Ligue 1 title in six years, but Unai Emery believes they have a long way to go to match the best.
Pep Guardiola is expected to sign at least a one-year contract extension at the end of the season as Kevin De Bruyne urged the Manchester City manager to make more signings this summer to help take the new Premier League champions to “another level”. Guardiola is out of contract at the end of next season but there is optimism he will agree an extension that ties him to the Etihad Stadium until at least June 2020. City’s hierarchy were talking privately about wanting to keep Guardiola for a decade long before Sunday’s coronation and would like him to sign a much longer-term deal. They have talked previously about the freedom Guardiola has been given in Manchester and how the job is far removed from the acute political pressure that came with managing Barcelona, where the 47-year-old spent four years as coach before taking a 12-month sabbatical, and in many ways Bayern Munich, where he was in charge for three years. Guardiola is determined to finish the final five games of the season with a flourish as he bids to smash the record Premier League points haul – set by Chelsea in 2004-05 – by becoming the first to reach the 100-point barrier. But preparations for next season are already well under way, with City targeting three signings, not least a defensive midfielder and versatile forward, and De Bruyne hopes further recruits will help the club retain the title and propel them to new heights in the Champions League after quarter-final and last-16 eliminations by Liverpool and Monaco. “Of course it’s important for the club to add new players and to keep getting stronger,” the City midfielder said. “That’s true for all teams. We have a great group of players right now and, with a few additions here and there, hopefully that will take us on to another level. “Competition will be even tougher next season and we have to be ready for that. Not only in the Premier League but in the Champions League and the cup competitions too. If we want to keep achieving I think competition for places is a good thing and only makes you try to improve as a player. Manchester City player ratings for Premier League title winning season “That [Europe] is the next step for us. I think we have played some great games in the Champions League and we’ve not been too far away. Maybe we haven’t gone as far as we would have liked, but there have been performances along the way that show we could do something special in the future.” De Bruyne believes the young age profile of the squad ensures there is plenty of room for growth. “The club has planned for this and we want to make that [sustained success] happen now,” he said. “It’s no coincidence that the type of players brought in over the last year or two have all been of a similar age and we will look to build as a group together. The feeling amongst the squad is great. We have enjoyed the season a lot but there is work to do if we want to achieve more in future. That can be the trickiest thing in football, to not only win but keep winning. Having such a young squad will hopefully help us to achieve that.” Striker Sergio Agüero praised Guardiola. “This is my third title with City and it’s just a relief not to have to wait to the final day this time!” “This season has been incredible and the football we’ve played has been the best I’ve been involved with while at the club,&quot; he said. &quot;We have scored great goals, played fantastic football and learned together under Pep. Now, the trick is making sure we kick on again next season and come back even stronger.”
Pep Guardiola prepares to extend Manchester City deal
Pep Guardiola is expected to sign at least a one-year contract extension at the end of the season as Kevin De Bruyne urged the Manchester City manager to make more signings this summer to help take the new Premier League champions to “another level”. Guardiola is out of contract at the end of next season but there is optimism he will agree an extension that ties him to the Etihad Stadium until at least June 2020. City’s hierarchy were talking privately about wanting to keep Guardiola for a decade long before Sunday’s coronation and would like him to sign a much longer-term deal. They have talked previously about the freedom Guardiola has been given in Manchester and how the job is far removed from the acute political pressure that came with managing Barcelona, where the 47-year-old spent four years as coach before taking a 12-month sabbatical, and in many ways Bayern Munich, where he was in charge for three years. Guardiola is determined to finish the final five games of the season with a flourish as he bids to smash the record Premier League points haul – set by Chelsea in 2004-05 – by becoming the first to reach the 100-point barrier. But preparations for next season are already well under way, with City targeting three signings, not least a defensive midfielder and versatile forward, and De Bruyne hopes further recruits will help the club retain the title and propel them to new heights in the Champions League after quarter-final and last-16 eliminations by Liverpool and Monaco. “Of course it’s important for the club to add new players and to keep getting stronger,” the City midfielder said. “That’s true for all teams. We have a great group of players right now and, with a few additions here and there, hopefully that will take us on to another level. “Competition will be even tougher next season and we have to be ready for that. Not only in the Premier League but in the Champions League and the cup competitions too. If we want to keep achieving I think competition for places is a good thing and only makes you try to improve as a player. Manchester City player ratings for Premier League title winning season “That [Europe] is the next step for us. I think we have played some great games in the Champions League and we’ve not been too far away. Maybe we haven’t gone as far as we would have liked, but there have been performances along the way that show we could do something special in the future.” De Bruyne believes the young age profile of the squad ensures there is plenty of room for growth. “The club has planned for this and we want to make that [sustained success] happen now,” he said. “It’s no coincidence that the type of players brought in over the last year or two have all been of a similar age and we will look to build as a group together. The feeling amongst the squad is great. We have enjoyed the season a lot but there is work to do if we want to achieve more in future. That can be the trickiest thing in football, to not only win but keep winning. Having such a young squad will hopefully help us to achieve that.” Striker Sergio Agüero praised Guardiola. “This is my third title with City and it’s just a relief not to have to wait to the final day this time!” “This season has been incredible and the football we’ve played has been the best I’ve been involved with while at the club," he said. "We have scored great goals, played fantastic football and learned together under Pep. Now, the trick is making sure we kick on again next season and come back even stronger.”
Vincent Kompany has challenged his Manchester City team-mates to usher in a period of domestic dominance after Pep Guardiola’s side were unexpectedly crowned champions with five matches of the season to spare on Sunday. Guardiola was playing golf with Tommy Fleetwood, the world No 12, and his son Marius at Sandiway in Cheshire when news filtered through that Manchester United had slumped to a miserable 1-0 defeat to bottom club West Bromwich Albion at Old Trafford to guarantee their rivals the title. It evoked memories of Sir Alex Ferguson, the former United manager, being on the golf course when he heard his team had clinched their first Premier League title following Oldham Athletic’s victory at Aston Villa in May 1993. City’s 3-1 victory away to Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday evening left United needing to avoid defeat to West Brom to delay their rivals’ title coronation, but Jose Mourinho’s side surrendered in abject fashion, Jay Rodriguez’s 73rd-minute goal handing Guardiola his ­seventh title in nine seasons and City their third in seven. City could become the first Premier League club to reach the 100-point barrier should they claim 13 points from their final five games and need just nine to surpass Chelsea’s record haul of 95 in 2004-05. Vincent Kompany wants to ensure there&#39;s no let up in their pursuit of silverware Credit: Getty Images But Kompany, the City captain, has already turned his sights to next season by urging the club to ensure there is no let-up in their pursuit of silverware. City’s title defences after their successes in 2012 and 2014 ended in disappointment and the Belgian – the club’s longest serving player – is determined to go one better next time around. “You can’t take it for granted. I’ve never been able to retain a title and I want to see if this team can be even more successful,” Kompany, who watched the game in the living room of his wife Carla’s grandmother’s house, said. “I have been lucky to win three but so many I have missed. I suppose my team-mates will perhaps roll their eyes a little bit but I have never retained a title so I want to see how we react now next season. “He [Guardiola] has been able to transfer to the team … that hunger and desire to never be satisfied. I’m probably the first one to think about next season, I would like to stay humble, this is not a dynasty. It is one title and we are all delighted but there is a lot more to do to ­unlock our full potential.” Man City player ratings for title-winning season Kompany said City’s players had bought wholeheartedly into Guardiola’s methods. “We all believed in it,” he said. “There was a period of adaptation for him coming into the league and for us taking in his methods. They were the right ones and the ones we believed in. I’m sure there are differences to how we play today compared to his Bayern and Barcelona teams. We survive and live by the strength of the team. One team was dominant in Germany and one had [Lionel] Messi, but we are nothing without the team. “The first one [title] was special but this one is perhaps the one I’m most proud of. It’s a privilege to be a part of this team. Our Time. Our City. Premier League Champions 17/18 ��#mancitypic.twitter.com/lztlN3lWFW— Manchester City (@ManCity) April 15, 2018 “I had that feeling when I woke up this morning, I don’t like to wait and see a team lose but you go into a game and think, ‘West Brom are a good team, they don’t deserve to be where they are’ and a set-piece, a wonderful goal from Rodriguez, thank you. It shows how football is in Manchester. “There have been a lot more good days for the red side but today it is for the blue.” pic.twitter.com/HHvJDwkejY— James Matthews (@JamesM1717) April 15, 2018 “We were consistent the whole season, we played at the level we wanted to. A few times we won it before we nearly threw it away.” Speaking in the wake of City’s win over Spurs, Guardiola said the challenge for the club was to win back-to-back titles and start to try to carve a history to eventually match historic rivals such as United and Arsenal. The key men on Pep Guardiola&#39;s backroom staff | James Ducker “We have to try,” the City manager said. “If you read what the people say this week we have to improve. Against Tottenham showed me how strong they were. It is important to believe because Manchester City is not like United or Chelsea or Arsenal – you know, the big clubs in England who have a big history behind them. Man City fans gather at the Etihad to celebrate the title Credit: PA “So you have to do these kinds of things to think, ‘Wow, we are good. We are good too, like the other ones’. Of course it’s not going to happen next season the same – it’s impossible. But that is the target.” Mourinho congratulated City but claimed he feared a setback against West Brom after being dismayed by the over-the-top reaction to the 3-2 derby win a week earlier. My 3rd league but this one is the most special.Thanks to everyone for supporting me in this tough year!������ pic.twitter.com/kKslE189uu— David Silva (@21LVA) April 15, 2018 “Yes, I know them, I smell,” the United manager said. “I have lots of experience and that’s not because I won eight titles and I’m not on the moon because I won against Manchester City, a match that is only three points,” he said. “I saw lots of people on the moon because we won against Manchester City. I won too much to be happy with just one big victory. During the week I was trying to fight that because I was feeling it. “City won the title because they were the best team. Probably because I won eight championships I was not on the moon with the victory. In my opinion it affected for sure some of the people that was too happy just with that.”
Vincent Kompany marks Premier League title triumph with speech to Man City fans in his local pub
Vincent Kompany has challenged his Manchester City team-mates to usher in a period of domestic dominance after Pep Guardiola’s side were unexpectedly crowned champions with five matches of the season to spare on Sunday. Guardiola was playing golf with Tommy Fleetwood, the world No 12, and his son Marius at Sandiway in Cheshire when news filtered through that Manchester United had slumped to a miserable 1-0 defeat to bottom club West Bromwich Albion at Old Trafford to guarantee their rivals the title. It evoked memories of Sir Alex Ferguson, the former United manager, being on the golf course when he heard his team had clinched their first Premier League title following Oldham Athletic’s victory at Aston Villa in May 1993. City’s 3-1 victory away to Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday evening left United needing to avoid defeat to West Brom to delay their rivals’ title coronation, but Jose Mourinho’s side surrendered in abject fashion, Jay Rodriguez’s 73rd-minute goal handing Guardiola his ­seventh title in nine seasons and City their third in seven. City could become the first Premier League club to reach the 100-point barrier should they claim 13 points from their final five games and need just nine to surpass Chelsea’s record haul of 95 in 2004-05. Vincent Kompany wants to ensure there's no let up in their pursuit of silverware Credit: Getty Images But Kompany, the City captain, has already turned his sights to next season by urging the club to ensure there is no let-up in their pursuit of silverware. City’s title defences after their successes in 2012 and 2014 ended in disappointment and the Belgian – the club’s longest serving player – is determined to go one better next time around. “You can’t take it for granted. I’ve never been able to retain a title and I want to see if this team can be even more successful,” Kompany, who watched the game in the living room of his wife Carla’s grandmother’s house, said. “I have been lucky to win three but so many I have missed. I suppose my team-mates will perhaps roll their eyes a little bit but I have never retained a title so I want to see how we react now next season. “He [Guardiola] has been able to transfer to the team … that hunger and desire to never be satisfied. I’m probably the first one to think about next season, I would like to stay humble, this is not a dynasty. It is one title and we are all delighted but there is a lot more to do to ­unlock our full potential.” Man City player ratings for title-winning season Kompany said City’s players had bought wholeheartedly into Guardiola’s methods. “We all believed in it,” he said. “There was a period of adaptation for him coming into the league and for us taking in his methods. They were the right ones and the ones we believed in. I’m sure there are differences to how we play today compared to his Bayern and Barcelona teams. We survive and live by the strength of the team. One team was dominant in Germany and one had [Lionel] Messi, but we are nothing without the team. “The first one [title] was special but this one is perhaps the one I’m most proud of. It’s a privilege to be a part of this team. Our Time. Our City. Premier League Champions 17/18 ��#mancitypic.twitter.com/lztlN3lWFW— Manchester City (@ManCity) April 15, 2018 “I had that feeling when I woke up this morning, I don’t like to wait and see a team lose but you go into a game and think, ‘West Brom are a good team, they don’t deserve to be where they are’ and a set-piece, a wonderful goal from Rodriguez, thank you. It shows how football is in Manchester. “There have been a lot more good days for the red side but today it is for the blue.” pic.twitter.com/HHvJDwkejY— James Matthews (@JamesM1717) April 15, 2018 “We were consistent the whole season, we played at the level we wanted to. A few times we won it before we nearly threw it away.” Speaking in the wake of City’s win over Spurs, Guardiola said the challenge for the club was to win back-to-back titles and start to try to carve a history to eventually match historic rivals such as United and Arsenal. The key men on Pep Guardiola's backroom staff | James Ducker “We have to try,” the City manager said. “If you read what the people say this week we have to improve. Against Tottenham showed me how strong they were. It is important to believe because Manchester City is not like United or Chelsea or Arsenal – you know, the big clubs in England who have a big history behind them. Man City fans gather at the Etihad to celebrate the title Credit: PA “So you have to do these kinds of things to think, ‘Wow, we are good. We are good too, like the other ones’. Of course it’s not going to happen next season the same – it’s impossible. But that is the target.” Mourinho congratulated City but claimed he feared a setback against West Brom after being dismayed by the over-the-top reaction to the 3-2 derby win a week earlier. My 3rd league but this one is the most special.Thanks to everyone for supporting me in this tough year!������ pic.twitter.com/kKslE189uu— David Silva (@21LVA) April 15, 2018 “Yes, I know them, I smell,” the United manager said. “I have lots of experience and that’s not because I won eight titles and I’m not on the moon because I won against Manchester City, a match that is only three points,” he said. “I saw lots of people on the moon because we won against Manchester City. I won too much to be happy with just one big victory. During the week I was trying to fight that because I was feeling it. “City won the title because they were the best team. Probably because I won eight championships I was not on the moon with the victory. In my opinion it affected for sure some of the people that was too happy just with that.”
Vincent Kompany has challenged his Manchester City team-mates to usher in a period of domestic dominance after Pep Guardiola’s side were unexpectedly crowned champions with five matches of the season to spare on Sunday. Guardiola was playing golf with Tommy Fleetwood, the world No 12, and his son Marius at Sandiway in Cheshire when news filtered through that Manchester United had slumped to a miserable 1-0 defeat to bottom club West Bromwich Albion at Old Trafford to guarantee their rivals the title. It evoked memories of Sir Alex Ferguson, the former United manager, being on the golf course when he heard his team had clinched their first Premier League title following Oldham Athletic’s victory at Aston Villa in May 1993. City’s 3-1 victory away to Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday evening left United needing to avoid defeat to West Brom to delay their rivals’ title coronation, but Jose Mourinho’s side surrendered in abject fashion, Jay Rodriguez’s 73rd-minute goal handing Guardiola his ­seventh title in nine seasons and City their third in seven. City could become the first Premier League club to reach the 100-point barrier should they claim 13 points from their final five games and need just nine to surpass Chelsea’s record haul of 95 in 2004-05. Vincent Kompany wants to ensure there&#39;s no let up in their pursuit of silverware Credit: Getty Images But Kompany, the City captain, has already turned his sights to next season by urging the club to ensure there is no let-up in their pursuit of silverware. City’s title defences after their successes in 2012 and 2014 ended in disappointment and the Belgian – the club’s longest serving player – is determined to go one better next time around. “You can’t take it for granted. I’ve never been able to retain a title and I want to see if this team can be even more successful,” Kompany, who watched the game in the living room of his wife Carla’s grandmother’s house, said. “I have been lucky to win three but so many I have missed. I suppose my team-mates will perhaps roll their eyes a little bit but I have never retained a title so I want to see how we react now next season. “He [Guardiola] has been able to transfer to the team … that hunger and desire to never be satisfied. I’m probably the first one to think about next season, I would like to stay humble, this is not a dynasty. It is one title and we are all delighted but there is a lot more to do to ­unlock our full potential.” Man City player ratings for title-winning season Kompany said City’s players had bought wholeheartedly into Guardiola’s methods. “We all believed in it,” he said. “There was a period of adaptation for him coming into the league and for us taking in his methods. They were the right ones and the ones we believed in. I’m sure there are differences to how we play today compared to his Bayern and Barcelona teams. We survive and live by the strength of the team. One team was dominant in Germany and one had [Lionel] Messi, but we are nothing without the team. “The first one [title] was special but this one is perhaps the one I’m most proud of. It’s a privilege to be a part of this team. Our Time. Our City. Premier League Champions 17/18 ��#mancitypic.twitter.com/lztlN3lWFW— Manchester City (@ManCity) April 15, 2018 “I had that feeling when I woke up this morning, I don’t like to wait and see a team lose but you go into a game and think, ‘West Brom are a good team, they don’t deserve to be where they are’ and a set-piece, a wonderful goal from Rodriguez, thank you. It shows how football is in Manchester. “There have been a lot more good days for the red side but today it is for the blue.” pic.twitter.com/HHvJDwkejY— James Matthews (@JamesM1717) April 15, 2018 “We were consistent the whole season, we played at the level we wanted to. A few times we won it before we nearly threw it away.” Speaking in the wake of City’s win over Spurs, Guardiola said the challenge for the club was to win back-to-back titles and start to try to carve a history to eventually match historic rivals such as United and Arsenal. The key men on Pep Guardiola&#39;s backroom staff | James Ducker “We have to try,” the City manager said. “If you read what the people say this week we have to improve. Against Tottenham showed me how strong they were. It is important to believe because Manchester City is not like United or Chelsea or Arsenal – you know, the big clubs in England who have a big history behind them. Man City fans gather at the Etihad to celebrate the title Credit: PA “So you have to do these kinds of things to think, ‘Wow, we are good. We are good too, like the other ones’. Of course it’s not going to happen next season the same – it’s impossible. But that is the target.” Mourinho congratulated City but claimed he feared a setback against West Brom after being dismayed by the over-the-top reaction to the 3-2 derby win a week earlier. My 3rd league but this one is the most special.Thanks to everyone for supporting me in this tough year!������ pic.twitter.com/kKslE189uu— David Silva (@21LVA) April 15, 2018 “Yes, I know them, I smell,” the United manager said. “I have lots of experience and that’s not because I won eight titles and I’m not on the moon because I won against Manchester City, a match that is only three points,” he said. “I saw lots of people on the moon because we won against Manchester City. I won too much to be happy with just one big victory. During the week I was trying to fight that because I was feeling it. “City won the title because they were the best team. Probably because I won eight championships I was not on the moon with the victory. In my opinion it affected for sure some of the people that was too happy just with that.”
Vincent Kompany marks Premier League title triumph with speech to Man City fans in his local pub
Vincent Kompany has challenged his Manchester City team-mates to usher in a period of domestic dominance after Pep Guardiola’s side were unexpectedly crowned champions with five matches of the season to spare on Sunday. Guardiola was playing golf with Tommy Fleetwood, the world No 12, and his son Marius at Sandiway in Cheshire when news filtered through that Manchester United had slumped to a miserable 1-0 defeat to bottom club West Bromwich Albion at Old Trafford to guarantee their rivals the title. It evoked memories of Sir Alex Ferguson, the former United manager, being on the golf course when he heard his team had clinched their first Premier League title following Oldham Athletic’s victory at Aston Villa in May 1993. City’s 3-1 victory away to Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday evening left United needing to avoid defeat to West Brom to delay their rivals’ title coronation, but Jose Mourinho’s side surrendered in abject fashion, Jay Rodriguez’s 73rd-minute goal handing Guardiola his ­seventh title in nine seasons and City their third in seven. City could become the first Premier League club to reach the 100-point barrier should they claim 13 points from their final five games and need just nine to surpass Chelsea’s record haul of 95 in 2004-05. Vincent Kompany wants to ensure there's no let up in their pursuit of silverware Credit: Getty Images But Kompany, the City captain, has already turned his sights to next season by urging the club to ensure there is no let-up in their pursuit of silverware. City’s title defences after their successes in 2012 and 2014 ended in disappointment and the Belgian – the club’s longest serving player – is determined to go one better next time around. “You can’t take it for granted. I’ve never been able to retain a title and I want to see if this team can be even more successful,” Kompany, who watched the game in the living room of his wife Carla’s grandmother’s house, said. “I have been lucky to win three but so many I have missed. I suppose my team-mates will perhaps roll their eyes a little bit but I have never retained a title so I want to see how we react now next season. “He [Guardiola] has been able to transfer to the team … that hunger and desire to never be satisfied. I’m probably the first one to think about next season, I would like to stay humble, this is not a dynasty. It is one title and we are all delighted but there is a lot more to do to ­unlock our full potential.” Man City player ratings for title-winning season Kompany said City’s players had bought wholeheartedly into Guardiola’s methods. “We all believed in it,” he said. “There was a period of adaptation for him coming into the league and for us taking in his methods. They were the right ones and the ones we believed in. I’m sure there are differences to how we play today compared to his Bayern and Barcelona teams. We survive and live by the strength of the team. One team was dominant in Germany and one had [Lionel] Messi, but we are nothing without the team. “The first one [title] was special but this one is perhaps the one I’m most proud of. It’s a privilege to be a part of this team. Our Time. Our City. Premier League Champions 17/18 ��#mancitypic.twitter.com/lztlN3lWFW— Manchester City (@ManCity) April 15, 2018 “I had that feeling when I woke up this morning, I don’t like to wait and see a team lose but you go into a game and think, ‘West Brom are a good team, they don’t deserve to be where they are’ and a set-piece, a wonderful goal from Rodriguez, thank you. It shows how football is in Manchester. “There have been a lot more good days for the red side but today it is for the blue.” pic.twitter.com/HHvJDwkejY— James Matthews (@JamesM1717) April 15, 2018 “We were consistent the whole season, we played at the level we wanted to. A few times we won it before we nearly threw it away.” Speaking in the wake of City’s win over Spurs, Guardiola said the challenge for the club was to win back-to-back titles and start to try to carve a history to eventually match historic rivals such as United and Arsenal. The key men on Pep Guardiola's backroom staff | James Ducker “We have to try,” the City manager said. “If you read what the people say this week we have to improve. Against Tottenham showed me how strong they were. It is important to believe because Manchester City is not like United or Chelsea or Arsenal – you know, the big clubs in England who have a big history behind them. Man City fans gather at the Etihad to celebrate the title Credit: PA “So you have to do these kinds of things to think, ‘Wow, we are good. We are good too, like the other ones’. Of course it’s not going to happen next season the same – it’s impossible. But that is the target.” Mourinho congratulated City but claimed he feared a setback against West Brom after being dismayed by the over-the-top reaction to the 3-2 derby win a week earlier. My 3rd league but this one is the most special.Thanks to everyone for supporting me in this tough year!������ pic.twitter.com/kKslE189uu— David Silva (@21LVA) April 15, 2018 “Yes, I know them, I smell,” the United manager said. “I have lots of experience and that’s not because I won eight titles and I’m not on the moon because I won against Manchester City, a match that is only three points,” he said. “I saw lots of people on the moon because we won against Manchester City. I won too much to be happy with just one big victory. During the week I was trying to fight that because I was feeling it. “City won the title because they were the best team. Probably because I won eight championships I was not on the moon with the victory. In my opinion it affected for sure some of the people that was too happy just with that.”
Vincent Kompany has challenged his Manchester City team-mates to usher in a period of domestic dominance after Pep Guardiola’s side were unexpectedly crowned champions with five matches of the season to spare on Sunday. Guardiola was playing golf with Tommy Fleetwood, the world No 12, and his son Marius at Sandiway in Cheshire when news filtered through that Manchester United had slumped to a miserable 1-0 defeat to bottom club West Bromwich Albion at Old Trafford to guarantee their rivals the title. It evoked memories of Sir Alex Ferguson, the former United manager, being on the golf course when he heard his team had clinched their first Premier League title following Oldham Athletic’s victory at Aston Villa in May 1993. City’s 3-1 victory away to Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday evening left United needing to avoid defeat to West Brom to delay their rivals’ title coronation, but Jose Mourinho’s side surrendered in abject fashion, Jay Rodriguez’s 73rd-minute goal handing Guardiola his ­seventh title in nine seasons and City their third in seven. City could become the first Premier League club to reach the 100-point barrier should they claim 13 points from their final five games and need just nine to surpass Chelsea’s record haul of 95 in 2004-05. Vincent Kompany wants to ensure there&#39;s no let up in their pursuit of silverware Credit: Getty Images But Kompany, the City captain, has already turned his sights to next season by urging the club to ensure there is no let-up in their pursuit of silverware. City’s title defences after their successes in 2012 and 2014 ended in disappointment and the Belgian – the club’s longest serving player – is determined to go one better next time around. “You can’t take it for granted. I’ve never been able to retain a title and I want to see if this team can be even more successful,” Kompany, who watched the game in the living room of his wife Carla’s grandmother’s house, said. “I have been lucky to win three but so many I have missed. I suppose my team-mates will perhaps roll their eyes a little bit but I have never retained a title so I want to see how we react now next season. “He [Guardiola] has been able to transfer to the team … that hunger and desire to never be satisfied. I’m probably the first one to think about next season, I would like to stay humble, this is not a dynasty. It is one title and we are all delighted but there is a lot more to do to ­unlock our full potential.” Man City player ratings for title-winning season Kompany said City’s players had bought wholeheartedly into Guardiola’s methods. “We all believed in it,” he said. “There was a period of adaptation for him coming into the league and for us taking in his methods. They were the right ones and the ones we believed in. I’m sure there are differences to how we play today compared to his Bayern and Barcelona teams. We survive and live by the strength of the team. One team was dominant in Germany and one had [Lionel] Messi, but we are nothing without the team. “The first one [title] was special but this one is perhaps the one I’m most proud of. It’s a privilege to be a part of this team. Our Time. Our City. Premier League Champions 17/18 ��#mancitypic.twitter.com/lztlN3lWFW— Manchester City (@ManCity) April 15, 2018 “I had that feeling when I woke up this morning, I don’t like to wait and see a team lose but you go into a game and think, ‘West Brom are a good team, they don’t deserve to be where they are’ and a set-piece, a wonderful goal from Rodriguez, thank you. It shows how football is in Manchester. “There have been a lot more good days for the red side but today it is for the blue.” pic.twitter.com/HHvJDwkejY— James Matthews (@JamesM1717) April 15, 2018 “We were consistent the whole season, we played at the level we wanted to. A few times we won it before we nearly threw it away.” Speaking in the wake of City’s win over Spurs, Guardiola said the challenge for the club was to win back-to-back titles and start to try to carve a history to eventually match historic rivals such as United and Arsenal. The key men on Pep Guardiola&#39;s backroom staff | James Ducker “We have to try,” the City manager said. “If you read what the people say this week we have to improve. Against Tottenham showed me how strong they were. It is important to believe because Manchester City is not like United or Chelsea or Arsenal – you know, the big clubs in England who have a big history behind them. Man City fans gather at the Etihad to celebrate the title Credit: PA “So you have to do these kinds of things to think, ‘Wow, we are good. We are good too, like the other ones’. Of course it’s not going to happen next season the same – it’s impossible. But that is the target.” Mourinho congratulated City but claimed he feared a setback against West Brom after being dismayed by the over-the-top reaction to the 3-2 derby win a week earlier. My 3rd league but this one is the most special.Thanks to everyone for supporting me in this tough year!������ pic.twitter.com/kKslE189uu— David Silva (@21LVA) April 15, 2018 “Yes, I know them, I smell,” the United manager said. “I have lots of experience and that’s not because I won eight titles and I’m not on the moon because I won against Manchester City, a match that is only three points,” he said. “I saw lots of people on the moon because we won against Manchester City. I won too much to be happy with just one big victory. During the week I was trying to fight that because I was feeling it. “City won the title because they were the best team. Probably because I won eight championships I was not on the moon with the victory. In my opinion it affected for sure some of the people that was too happy just with that.”
Vincent Kompany marks Premier League title triumph with speech to Man City fans in his local pub
Vincent Kompany has challenged his Manchester City team-mates to usher in a period of domestic dominance after Pep Guardiola’s side were unexpectedly crowned champions with five matches of the season to spare on Sunday. Guardiola was playing golf with Tommy Fleetwood, the world No 12, and his son Marius at Sandiway in Cheshire when news filtered through that Manchester United had slumped to a miserable 1-0 defeat to bottom club West Bromwich Albion at Old Trafford to guarantee their rivals the title. It evoked memories of Sir Alex Ferguson, the former United manager, being on the golf course when he heard his team had clinched their first Premier League title following Oldham Athletic’s victory at Aston Villa in May 1993. City’s 3-1 victory away to Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday evening left United needing to avoid defeat to West Brom to delay their rivals’ title coronation, but Jose Mourinho’s side surrendered in abject fashion, Jay Rodriguez’s 73rd-minute goal handing Guardiola his ­seventh title in nine seasons and City their third in seven. City could become the first Premier League club to reach the 100-point barrier should they claim 13 points from their final five games and need just nine to surpass Chelsea’s record haul of 95 in 2004-05. Vincent Kompany wants to ensure there's no let up in their pursuit of silverware Credit: Getty Images But Kompany, the City captain, has already turned his sights to next season by urging the club to ensure there is no let-up in their pursuit of silverware. City’s title defences after their successes in 2012 and 2014 ended in disappointment and the Belgian – the club’s longest serving player – is determined to go one better next time around. “You can’t take it for granted. I’ve never been able to retain a title and I want to see if this team can be even more successful,” Kompany, who watched the game in the living room of his wife Carla’s grandmother’s house, said. “I have been lucky to win three but so many I have missed. I suppose my team-mates will perhaps roll their eyes a little bit but I have never retained a title so I want to see how we react now next season. “He [Guardiola] has been able to transfer to the team … that hunger and desire to never be satisfied. I’m probably the first one to think about next season, I would like to stay humble, this is not a dynasty. It is one title and we are all delighted but there is a lot more to do to ­unlock our full potential.” Man City player ratings for title-winning season Kompany said City’s players had bought wholeheartedly into Guardiola’s methods. “We all believed in it,” he said. “There was a period of adaptation for him coming into the league and for us taking in his methods. They were the right ones and the ones we believed in. I’m sure there are differences to how we play today compared to his Bayern and Barcelona teams. We survive and live by the strength of the team. One team was dominant in Germany and one had [Lionel] Messi, but we are nothing without the team. “The first one [title] was special but this one is perhaps the one I’m most proud of. It’s a privilege to be a part of this team. Our Time. Our City. Premier League Champions 17/18 ��#mancitypic.twitter.com/lztlN3lWFW— Manchester City (@ManCity) April 15, 2018 “I had that feeling when I woke up this morning, I don’t like to wait and see a team lose but you go into a game and think, ‘West Brom are a good team, they don’t deserve to be where they are’ and a set-piece, a wonderful goal from Rodriguez, thank you. It shows how football is in Manchester. “There have been a lot more good days for the red side but today it is for the blue.” pic.twitter.com/HHvJDwkejY— James Matthews (@JamesM1717) April 15, 2018 “We were consistent the whole season, we played at the level we wanted to. A few times we won it before we nearly threw it away.” Speaking in the wake of City’s win over Spurs, Guardiola said the challenge for the club was to win back-to-back titles and start to try to carve a history to eventually match historic rivals such as United and Arsenal. The key men on Pep Guardiola's backroom staff | James Ducker “We have to try,” the City manager said. “If you read what the people say this week we have to improve. Against Tottenham showed me how strong they were. It is important to believe because Manchester City is not like United or Chelsea or Arsenal – you know, the big clubs in England who have a big history behind them. Man City fans gather at the Etihad to celebrate the title Credit: PA “So you have to do these kinds of things to think, ‘Wow, we are good. We are good too, like the other ones’. Of course it’s not going to happen next season the same – it’s impossible. But that is the target.” Mourinho congratulated City but claimed he feared a setback against West Brom after being dismayed by the over-the-top reaction to the 3-2 derby win a week earlier. My 3rd league but this one is the most special.Thanks to everyone for supporting me in this tough year!������ pic.twitter.com/kKslE189uu— David Silva (@21LVA) April 15, 2018 “Yes, I know them, I smell,” the United manager said. “I have lots of experience and that’s not because I won eight titles and I’m not on the moon because I won against Manchester City, a match that is only three points,” he said. “I saw lots of people on the moon because we won against Manchester City. I won too much to be happy with just one big victory. During the week I was trying to fight that because I was feeling it. “City won the title because they were the best team. Probably because I won eight championships I was not on the moon with the victory. In my opinion it affected for sure some of the people that was too happy just with that.”

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