Press conference

‘You could make a fantastic film about him’

One of Arsène Wenger's former protégés - 1995 World Player of the Year George Weah - is to be inaugurated as president of Liberia later this month, and the Gunners boss is on the guest list.

Wenger gave the striker his big break while manager of Monaco in the late 1980s, and Weah went on to become regarded as one of the finest forwards of his generation, winning trophies at PSG, AC Milan and Chelsea, while being named African Footballer of the Year three times.

After retiring from football in 2003 he moved into politics, and was elected President of Liberia in October.

"When you look at his life, and I think the life of this guy is a real film, it’s unbelievable," the boss said.

"You can make a fantastic film. I remember when I saw him the first time in Monaco, coming in a bit lost, not knowing anybody, not being rated by anybody as a player and after, in 1995 becoming the best player in the world and today being president of his country. It’s an unbelievable story!

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"But it’s down to the fact that one thing was common in George’s attitude –being strong mentally. Being absolutely, unbelievably, convinced that he has a mission.

"And the second thing, because I went with George through the period where there was war in Liberia, and I saw how much he suffered for his country, the second thing that was always continuous in his life was the love for his country and for his people, and the care he had for other people.

"I didn’t think at that point that he would become president of his country, but today when I look back, I must say I’ve seen him crying when war was on in Liberia.

"It’s a happy story and I wish of course that he has a happy presidency. I would like to say this guy is an example for everybody who plays football today, for all the players."

So will the boss be going to the inauguration ceremony on January 20?

"I don’t think so, because I'll be busy. But maybe if I’m suspended I’ll have time to go!"

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