Wenger: ‘Football is popular because it’s unpredictable’

Manuel Sánchez Gómez

London, May 1 (EFE).- Arsene Wenger, who managed Arsenal for over two decades, is now just a fan of the Gunners, following the Premier League team from his role as director of football development at Fifa.

In a conversation with Efe, Wenger unpacks his opinion on the current state of football, the recent Super League debacle, the Euro 2020 finals and his French compatriots at Real Madrid, Karim Benzema and manager Zinedine Zidane.

“The evolution of the game has separated all of the parties in football — the fans and the players — because before the players had a drink in the pub with the fans, but they don’t go to the same places anymore,” Wenger, who is promoting his latest book “The Philosophy of a Leader” (Corner, 2021).

“We have moved from the presidents who were fans to investors. It has all changed.”

The recent widespread outrage at the Super League proposal tabled by some of Europe’s richest clubs to create a breakaway elite competition to rival the Champions League which would have guaranteed participation for the founding teams serves as a poignant illustration of the growing influence of financial power on the beautiful game.

“One of the reasons why football is popular is that it’s a team sport that is the least predictable,” Wenger says, highlighting one of the main aspects of the sport that the owners of those Super League proponents are so fearful of.

“But the concentration of money in the last 30 years has made football more predictable because all the best players are concentrated in a small number of clubs,” the former Arsenal manager says.

“If you take the Champions League semi final, where you have the 4 richest clubs in the world: Chelsea, Manchester City, Real Madrid, and Paris Saint-Germain.

“Next year, you’ll have the same again,” he laments.

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