Belfast Telegraph

Arsene Wenger likens being a football manager to joining the priesthood

Arsene Wenger has likened being a football manager to joining the priesthood and admits you have to "sacrifice your life" to be a success.

The Arsenal boss is becoming a dying breed of manager who remains at one club for a prolonged period, having celebrated 20 years in charge last October.

But the 67-year-old could bring down the curtain on that lengthy reign when his contract expires at the end of the season.

Wenger has been recently linked to the Barcelona hot-seat, particularly after current incumbent Luis Enrique on Wednesday evening announced he would leave at the end of the campaign as he will need a rest.

And Wenger sympathised with the Barca coach as he revealed the message he gives to aspiring managers at the start of their career.

"I think everybody experiences that in a different way," he said when asked about the stamina required to manage a big club. "What I can say, yes, it's very demanding. It's a sacrifice of your life. You have nothing else happening in your life.

"Basically you get 90 per-cent aggravation and 10 per-cent job satisfaction and you have to give everything in your life for that. You have to be ready for it.

"That's what I always say to all the young people who want to go into this job. 'Are you ready to sacrifice your life?' It's like a priest. You're a football priest."

Wenger has said he will manage next season whether it is at Arsenal or elsewhere, but insisted on Thursday he had a preference on remaining at the Emirates Stadium.

While explaining the commitment required to be a top boss, Wenger also gave reasoning why he had remained at Arsenal since his appointment in 1996.

"I am a specialist in masochism," he added.

"I believe as well it allowed me to get to the next level as a human being, to develop my strengths in what makes a human being great as well.

"To get the best out of people, that is absolutely fantastic. And of course you have disappointments, with people, with results. But it is as well a fantastic opportunity in life to go for what is really great in human beings, to get yourself to the next level always, to improve, to invent yourself, to push your limits further up and not to have an average life.

"And on that front it is very interesting, it is very demanding, but as well very interesting if you really face the challenge. By accepting as well, facing the reality, in an objective way, what you have to do to get better."

Times have certainly proved demanding for Wenger and his side of late and they travel to Liverpool on Saturday evening looking to maintain their place in the Premier League top four.

The trip to Anfield is followed by the return leg of their Champions League round of 16 tie with Bayern Munich, with the Bundesliga outfit all-but through having won 5-1 in Germany last month.

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