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Arsene Wenger ends his reign at Arsenal after 22 seasons

Ⓒ AFP – Kirill Kudryavtsev – | Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger before the second leg of the Europa League quarter-final against CSKA on April 12, 2018 in Moscow

Legendary Arsenal French coach Arsene Wenger announced Friday that he will leave the club at the end of the season after 22 seasons in front of the Gunners.

“After a thorough consideration and after several conversations with the club, I feel it is the right time to retire at the end of the season,” Wenger said in a statement published by Arsenal on its website.

“I am very grateful to have had the privilege of serving the club for so many memorable years,” added the coach.

Wenger, 68, has won three editions of the Premier League with Arsenal, including a season in which he was proclaimed champion undefeated, in the 2003-04 season, team known as ‘The Invincibles’, and seven England Cups .

However, the last years have been more complicated. The team won the Premier League for the last time 14 courses ago and this season is close to being out of the Champions League for the second time in a row.

Before, Arsenal had been in the great European competition for 20 consecutive years.

The only real option to achieve the pass for the next season is to win the Europa League, in which he disputes the semifinals against Atlético de Madrid.

In the Premier League the Gunners have not had any choice to fight for the title with Manchester City, already champion. Currently occupy the sixth position, very distanced in the fight for the first four places, synonymous with Champions.

“I ask fans to support the team to finish high,” said Wenger. “For all lovers of Arsenal, we must take care of the values ​​of the club, my love and my support forever,” he added.

Arsenal added in its statement that it will try to find a successor to Wenger “as soon as possible”.

Stan Kroenke, majority shareholder of Arsenal, recalled “the class without equal” of his coach, highlighting his longevity and regularity, qualities that “will never be equaled,” he said.

– A revolution –

“Everyone who loves football and everyone who loves Arsenal has a debt of gratitude to him,” added Kroenke, who has controlled the club since 2011.

“One of the reasons why we got involved with Arsenal was what Arsenal has contributed on and off the field,” he recalled.

Unknown to the English press and the fans of the club when he arrived in 1996 from the Japanese championship, Wenger made Arsenal a leading player in European football in the last two decades. Among his achievements, beyond titles, he led the transition from the old Highbury to the modern Emirates Stadium.

Wenger’s revolution began in October of that 1996. The first thing he did was review the diet of the staff and end the culture of alcohol, very present in the Gunners and in general throughout the Premier League.

With an offensive and spectacular style, the ‘Boring Arsenal’ (boring Arsenal) became one of the most spectacular teams in Europe, in which Dennis Bergkamp or Thierry Henry shone.

Wenger could not finish his masterpiece with a Champions League title. He was very close in 2006, when he lost 2-1 to Barcelona in the final.

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