Why Arsène Wenger is one of the greats

The stats and facts that confirm Arsène Wenger as one of the great coaches of his generation.

We look back at some of Arsène Wenger's most famous victories in European competition from his 22 years as Arsenal manager including memorable wins against Real Madrid, Barcelona and Internazionale.

What they say

"[Wenger's] Arsenal caress a football the way I dreamed of caressing Marilyn Monroe."
Brian Clough, former Nottingham Forest manager

"Were Arsenal successful before? Yes they were but in a different way. Now Arsenal are recognised for the type of football they play. That's all down to him."
Thierry Henry, former Monaco and Arsenal forward

"He likes one type of player, with quality and respect for the ball. They are things I like a lot, so if people say we play a little bit like Arsenal of the last 20 years then it's good for us."
Josep Guardiola, Manchester City manager

"I admired his work always. Since I've been in England it's a bit different because we challenge each other, but in Germany he was always a big, big role model. It will be different without him."
Jürgen Klopp, Liverpool manager

Arsène Wenger with the title in the 2003/04 'Unbeatables' season
Arsène Wenger with the title in the 2003/04 'Unbeatables' season©Getty Images

"Over the years we enjoyed some fantastic battles and you could say we had survived together and respected each other's efforts to play good football. I always enjoy watching Arsène's sides – Arsenal play the right way."
Sir Alex Ferguson, former Manchester United manager

UEFA club competion record

All UEFA club competitions: P248 W121 (48.8%), D60 (24.2%), L67 (27.0%)
UEFA Champions League: P201 W98 (48.8%), D44 (21.9%), L59 (29.4%)
UEFA Europa League/UEFA Cup: P29 W17 (58.6%), D6 (20.7%), L6 (20.7%)
European Cup Winners' Cup: P18 W6 (33.3%), D10 (55.6%), L2 (11.1%)

Trophy tally

European league titles: 4 (Monaco 1988, Arsenal 1998, 2002, 2004)
European domestic cups: 8 (Monaco 1991, Arsenal 1998, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2014, 2015, 2017)
UEFA competition finals: 3 (1992 European Cup Winners' Cup – Monaco lost 2-0 to Werder Bremen, 2000 UEFA Cup – Arsenal lost 4-1 on penalties to Galatasaray after 0-0 draw, 2006 UEFA Champions League – Arsenal lost 2-1 to Barcelona)

Claims to fame

Mark Hateley and Glenn Hoddle flank Wenger in 1987
Mark Hateley and Glenn Hoddle flank Wenger in 1987©Getty Images

• Led Monaco to Ligue 1 success in his first season in charge, 1987/88, his side finishing six points clear of second-placed Bordeaux. Hired after impressing as a coach with Cannes and Nancy, introducing such concepts as dieticians and altitude training.

• Became the first non-British manager to win the English title in 1997/98. Only one British manager (United's Sir Alex Ferguson) has won it since.

• Wenger's Arsenal won the 2003/04 Premier League without losing a game (W26 D12 L0), the first side to claim the English title unbeaten since Preston North End won the first edition of the league in 1888/89 (W18 D4 L0).

• Arsenal's 2-1 loss to Barcelona in the 2006 UEFA Champions League final completed an unfortunate treble for Wenger: he is the only coach to have been a loser in all three major UEFA club competion finals, following his Cup Winners' Cup loss with Monaco (1992) and UEFA Cup loss with the Gunners (2000).

• Under Wenger, Arsenal played in 19 successive UEFA Champions League campaigns from 1998/99–2016/17: only Real Madrid (21 and counting) can better that.

Carlo Ancelotti, Sir Alex Ferguson and Wenger together in 2014
Carlo Ancelotti, Sir Alex Ferguson and Wenger together in 2014©Getty Images

• Only one coach has won more games in the UEFA Champions League, former United boss Sir Alex Ferguson:

Most wins by a coach in the UEFA Champions League (including qualifying)

114 Sir Alex Ferguson (Aberdeen, Manchester United)
98 Arsène Wenger (Monaco, Arsenal)
90 Carlo Ancelotti (Parma, Juventus, AC Milan, Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid, Bayern München)
73 José Mourinho (Porto, Chelsea, Real Madrid, Internazionale Milano, Manchester United)
65 Josep Guardiola (Barcelona, Bayern München, Manchester City)

• Should Arsenal make it to the UEFA Europa League final, Wenger could claim his first UEFA club competition trophy. He will be 68 years and 206 days old on the day of the 16 May final in Lyon. Should the Gunners triumph, he would be the oldest coach to win the competition, and the second oldest coach to win any UEFA competition (though Jupp Heynckes would move him back down into third place if he ends up winning this season's UEFA Champions League with Bayern).

What you might not know

Is this Arsène Wenger’s all-time Arsenal XI?
Is this Arsène Wenger’s all-time Arsenal XI?

• Raised in Duttlenheim in the Alsace region, Wenger's family ran an auto spares business and a bistro called Le Croix d'Or (translation: the Gold Cross). As a child, he spoke Alsace German and apparently supported Borussia Mönchengladbach.

• Wenger briefly studied medicine before taking a degree in economics at the University of Strasbourg in the early 1970s.

• Wenger played as a midfielder for Mutzig, ASPV Strasbourg and Strasbourg; he made just the one appearance in UEFA club competition – Strasbourg's 4-0 UEFA Cup defeat at Duisburg in December 1978.

• Wenger's idiosyncratic command of the English language was much commented-on during his time at Arsenal. Perhaps surprisingly, he showed an eagerness to learn the language during his earliest years as a coach, taking a three-week English course in Cambridge in the late 1970s.

Wenger with Grampus Eight in 1995
Wenger with Grampus Eight in 1995©Getty Images

• Bayern were reportedly interested in taking Wenger on as their coach in the early 1990s, but after he left Monaco in 1994, he took a detour out of European football, leading Japanese side Nagoya Grampus Eight from 1994–96.

• The London Evening Standard greeted his arrival at Highbury with the headline 'Arsène Who?' Wenger's early innovations at Arsenal included banning players from drinking, encouraging them to eat boiled chicken instead of red meat, discouraging junk food and enlisting the help of an osteopath.

• Until 2015, Wenger was married to former France Olympic basketball player Annie Brosterhous; the couple's daughter, Léa, apparently studied veterinary medicine at Cambridge University.

What he said

"We do not buy superstars. We make them."

Wenger after the 2006 UEFA Champions League final defeat
Wenger after the 2006 UEFA Champions League final defeat©Getty Images

"In my job, you expect to suffer. That's why when I go to hell one day, it will be less painful for me than you, because I'm used to suffering."

"At the end of the day, I ask you: who is the most successful team in the world? Brazil. What do they play? Good football. Who won everything last year? Barcelona. What do they play? Lovely football. I am not against being pragmatic because to be pragmatic is to make a good pass, not a bad pass. It is as simple as that. When I see Barcelona, to me it is art."

"I am grateful for having had the privilege to serve the club for so many memorable years. I managed the club with full commitment and integrity ... To all the Arsenal lovers take care of the values of the club. My love and support for ever."

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