"I told you I would take you to Paris!" beamed Arsène Wenger as he took his seat at the post-match press conference at El Madrigal. You could understand his joy.

The Arsenal manager has enjoyed sustained domestic success at Highbury but has fallen short in Europe - until now. At the eighth time of asking, Wenger has led the Gunners to a Champions League Final.

After unexpected victories over Real Madrid and Juventus, Arsenal toughed it out over two legs against Villarreal to set up a trip to Paris which clearly means so much to their French manager.

"I am happy because there was always a big doubt about Arsenal and Europe," said Wenger. "That was the case for years, even when we dominated the championship.

"That's why I'm happy we got there when no one expected us to, with a side which had no chance at the start. We knocked out Real Madrid, we knocked out Juventus and now Villarreal, so we have every right to believe we can win the Final.

"Getting to the Final completes a work of nine-and-a-half years with a lot of effort. It rewards people who work with me, my staff.

"I have the support of the Board in whatever decision I make and I believe the way to reward them is to go to the Final and win it.

"I am happy to play it in Paris. I thought maybe it was a bad sign because last time there was a Final there it was between two Spanish teams. I was a little concerned, but I would go anywhere in the world to play a Champions League Final."

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26 Apr 2006