Jurgen Klopp has paid tribute to Arsene Wenger after the news that the Arsenal boss has decided to step down this summer.
The Liverpool manager was speaking to the media ahead of their game this weekend, and of course the subject came up. The 50-year-old unsurprisingly had a lot of praise for the Arsenal man.
“I was surprised,” Klopp told his press conference. “But it’s his decision, first of all, and we have to respect that. He was, and is still, an influencer. In football he has a fantastic career, outstanding personality, a really big player in that business.
“[22 years?] That’s long, and very very successful. Maybe in the last few months not everybody was happy anymore about this or that result…but he always developed teams, fantastic players and was the dominating guy in the mid-90s, maybe early 2000s. He was really winning pretty much everything, playing wonderful football.
“I admired his work always, his work was always brilliant. Since I was in England it was a little bit different because we had to challenge them, but from Germany he was always a big role model. From my side I wish him all the best.”
From a fan point of view we all know what Arsene has achieved over the years. We’ve seen the way his teams changed football, and the lasting legacy he leaves with the invincible season and the record number of FA Cup wins in particular. Plus of course the stadium move, pushing Arsenal to the next level commercially.
It’s good to hear how his competitors view him as well though. Clearly they all have a lot of respect for someone most of them probably looked up to at some stage. Not many of them were even in management when Wenger first took up the job at Arsenal, Klopp included.
We should see the tributes continue to pour in over the coming days, and deservedly so. Hopefully the team can give the manager a similar send-off on the pitch in the final games.