After picking up the Laureus Lifetime Achievement Award at the Laureus World Sports Awards on Monday night, Arsène Wenger was giving little away in terms of his future plans.
“It was a Lifetime Achievement award, but hopefully there are still things to do in front of me,” he said after the ceremony.
He admitted that he has found little time to switch off and not think about football.
“I cannot switch off and die. I have to accept it. I have got that virus somewhere in my body and it will remain there,” he said. “When I wake up in the morning, my thinking is what kind of game is on tonight. That is my life.”
When the subject turned to Arsenal, he was reluctant to comment on the current situations concerning Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey, but reaffirmed his affection for the club.
“I don’t want to interfere in that,” he said. “I am a fan and just want to ask them to win the games.”
But he was clear why he thinks more players are willing to run down their contracts.
“It’s very simple,” he remarked. “Because the transfer money is too big now so they think if I run out my contract, I will not get the whole transfer, I will get the big part of it. So ad that to the inflation, it means that the financial incitement to the player is to run out his contract. We will see that more and more because a good player today is between 50 and 100 million. So the player’s interest is to run the contract out and say to the club who wants to buy him, ‘OK, I want a part of that fee.’"
Whilst picking up the Laureus Lifetime Achievement Award was a surprise for Wenger, perhaps observers were more surprised by the fulsome praise that Jose Mourinho had for the Frenchman.
“It was a surprise, yes, because we had some good fights,” he laughed. “But I was more surprised with the Award because you know, Lifetime Achievement is for Pelé, Maradonna and Beckenbauer – and tonight is a little player from a village. But I represent coaches and it is good as well, that coaches are rewarded in our game.”