Arsene Wenger has thrown his backing behind Sadio Mane in his quest to win the Ballon d’Or. The Liverpool star is one of the contenders to win the award which crowns the players who is voted as the best on the planet during the year. Alongside Mane are Liverpool teammates Virgil Van Dijk, Mo Salah and Alisson Becker, while the likes of Raheem Sterling, Eden Hazard, N’Golo Kante and Harry Kane are also named. Read More
They’ll go up against usual suspects Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi for the award, but the Arsenal legend says that Mane is the man who he’d back. Speaking to beIN SPORTS , he said: “Mane was the outstanding character, yes, I would say. He is a fighter and efficient. He’s not scared of anybody. “At the moment, you would say he deserves huge credit.” Wenger enjoyed 22 years at the helm in North London and recently spoke of his biggest achievement in role. Speaking at the Legends of Football dinner, which raised money for the charity Nordoff Robbins, Wenger said:I arrived from Japan on October 1, 1996, because of David Dein and with only one luggage piece. I knew it could be [a] very short [stay]. Read More
“As much as I pushed the club, we travelled every Sunday with David to look for new training grounds to build a new stadium, to give you a picture, the turnover of the club was about £70million. Two years later, it was £90m and that was divided in three: £30m gates, £30m sponsorship and £30m television. Today, the turnover of Arsenal is about £420m, with £180m from television. That means the television money has been multiplied by six. “When we decided to build the stadium, we’d go to £200m, to £400m, and we had become an industry and not a football club anymore, because we spoke in all the board meetings about how much we can pay back. We moved up to £428m. This was the time where we had £90m turnover and we had to pay back £22m per year to pay back the stadium and, overall, that means a completely different state of life for Arsenal. “At the same time, in 2007, David Dein left and the banks asked as a guarantee that I signed for five years. I agreed to extend my contract. This was the difficult period — from March until the end of May, I didn’t sleep. We had to be every second year at least in the Champions League because the income was very important. As much as I get credit today for the first 10 years, from 1996 to 2006, the hardest work I did was during that period where we were on the edge.
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“We had to sell our best players and at the same time came Chelsea with unbelievable money, Manchester United, Liverpool and Manchester City. We were on a level where we could not compete financially. Having said that, I turned down many offers because I felt always that I was in a club who had a touch of class. There was a respect for tradition, there was an audacity to more forward and a feeling of being together.” The Frenchman is yet to take up another role in football since his departure from Arsenal, but he hinted at a potential technical role with FIFA: “To share what I have learned in the game. Maybe with FIFA, yes,” he said. “World football has a huge responsibility now and if I can help a little bit, why not?”