Arsène Wenger: ‘I try to read everything that helps me understand human beings’

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The erudite Frenchman who transformed English football takes questions from politicians, artists, readers – and José Mourinho. Introduction by Tim Lewis

Arsène Wenger often imagines what he will say to God when he dies. In most of these exchanges, God asks Wenger to justify his time on Earth, how he gave meaning to his own life and to others. “I tried to win football matches!” Wenger will explain. God looks at him, sceptical: “That’s all?” Wenger goes on: winning matches is really hard to do. If you do your job well, you bring joy to millions, a collective euphoria and catharsis. And if you don’t… At this point Wenger snaps back to reality.

“Sometimes I feel I’m scared for having only done football in my life,” says Wenger, who is 70, on a video call from Zurich. “So, when I speak to God, it’s a bit pretentious. It’s just that if God exists and they have a test to see if you go to hell or to heaven, it might look ridiculous to only have dedicated your life to winning football games. And that’s why I came up with that idea. I feel sometimes it could feel meaningless that you dedicated your whole life to that.”

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Written by Guardian Staff
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