Dragan Stojkovic says his time working with Arsène Wenger was an "unforgettable" experience.
The Serbian played under the current Arsenal manager when Wenger spent two years in charge of Nagoya Grampus in the mid-nineties. Stojkovic is now the main main in Nagoya and will face his old boss across the technical area when the Japanese club host Arsenal on Monday.
Stojkovic and Wenger held a press conference ahead of the friendly at the Toyota Stadium and the mutual respect and affection between the two managers was clear.
Practically every year I went to London to visit and watch Arsenal train. Arsenal is a team that I love a lot. I love how they play, the style and spirit of the teamDragan Stojkovic
"We shared a lot of good moments," said Stojkovic. “For me, this was an unforgettable period - 1995 and 1996 as a player I really enjoyed.
"I gave my best, I gave my talent, I helped my team and we had a very good connection, a very good understanding. He [Wenger] was the boss on the bench and I was the boss on the pitch, so it was a good combination.
"Practically every year I went to London to visit and watch Arsenal train. Arsenal is a team that I love a lot. I love how they play, the style and spirit of the team.
"What we've learned from Arsène Wenger here is the team spirit and the family spirit. Don't be surprised to see people working in Nagoya for a long time. We keep that spirit and we keep the family atmosphere [like at Arsenal].
"I'm sure that Monday, July 22 will be a very special day," added Stojkovic. "We are honoured to welcome one of the most prestigious teams in the world, Arsenal.
"The special and very strong link between Nagoya and Arsenal is [down to] the man beside me, Arsène Wenger, who was in charge of Nagoya for almost two years. We have waited for 17 years to see him here again so it's a really special feeling for everyone here."Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 20 Jul 2013