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'You have to sacrifice, like a priest'

Nancy, Monaco, Nagoya Grampus Eight, Arsenal.

In managerial terms, Arsene Wenger has barely drawn breath since he was appointed by Nancy in 1984. There was a brief, two-month break between leaving France and taking up his post in Japan, but otherwise the boss has been a boss for 33 years.

It takes something - and someone - special to endure the pressures of high-profile jobs for so long, and Wenger opened up on the subject during preparations for the Liverpool game.

“I am a specialist in masochism!” he joked, before discussing the secret of his longevity.

“It’s very demanding and it’s a sacrifice of your life,” he said. “You have nothing else happening in your life. Basically you get 90 per cent aggravation and 10 per cent top 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 is regularly asked about his future at press conferences and he’s made it clear that he still has the hunger and stamina for management. But it’s not just about bettering himself as a coach - it’s about improving himself as a man.

“I believe [my career has] 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,” he said.

“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, 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, about what you have to do to get better.”

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