Ex-Real Madrid president Ramon Calderon has claimed that the current Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was close to joining the Spanish giants. He also went on to add that though the move was agonizingly close to being completed and despite being “very interested”, Wenger turned down Los Blancos.
Real apparently made a move to sign Wenger between 2001 and 2003 but were unsuccessful. The 65-year-old manager has been the longest serving manager in the Premier League currently. In fact, after the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United, there is no manager at the same experience level as Wenger.
Wenger has always been praised for the way he built the club and kept his side competitive for many years. Over his 19 years at Arsenal, he has promoted youth at the club. He kept his mandate on improving the club than focus only on trophies.
He was linked with Madrid on many occasions throughout his tenure and for some time there was concern at the Emirates that he may choose to leave the club. This was confirmed by the ex-Real President Ramon Calderon who was quoted as saying: “I imagine that anyone – be it a coach or a player – at some time in their career is interested in coming to a club like Real Madrid, especially when you have been at a club for fifteen years, or however long, in England,” the Mirror quotes Calderon as saying.
“He was talking to me about Real Madrid and, at that time, he was very interested in the club and what was happening. I remember he said: ‘Are you going to Hollywood again, or to make a football team?’ He meant are you going for film star Galacticos or to make a proper football team”
“Things didn’t work out and he has clearly loved his time at Arsenal… Wenger … is respectful. You never see him in arguments. There might be occasions where he complains about referees but not in the way that Mourinho does.
This actually is what separates him from the rest. The respect that Wenger earns on and off the pitch is unrivalled. He is held in high esteem at the club because of the way he conducts his business. Also, when the club went through a period of tight finances, Wenger kept his composure.
The venerable manager is sometimes criticized for not showing enough ambition in winning trophies. It is often said that for Wenger finishing in Champions League qualification is a trophy.
For those who questioned his lack of trophies, Wenger answered with consecutive FA cups in the last two years. But, the club and the fans expect more. This could be the year where he gets the club back on the annals of Premier League. If he does that, every Gunners supporter will be happy that he chose to stay at the club – despite Madrid calling.