Will Arsene Wenger celebrate his birthday on Saturday? It all depends on Arsenal’s result against Premier League newcomers Middlesbrough.
Wenger blows out the candles on his 67th birthday cake, on the same day Arsenal look to keep pace with Manchester City.
The long-serving Arsenal boss is the oldest manager in the Premier League but his birthday plans hinge on the outcome of Middlesbrough’s visit to the Emirates.
“The result is 99 per cent of my birthday celebrations. Our happiness is linked to our result, not our birthday, and that’s what a manager’s life is about,” he said.
Despite his advancing years, Wenger – out of contract at the end of the season – still has the passion and drive to manage in arguably the most demanding league in the world.
And as he so desperately seeks to guide Arsenal to their first Premier League since 2004, Wenger insisted: “I train every day. Running? I do everything. If all professional footballers lived like I do they would be fit for all 10 months of the season.
“I run outside of training. I have my ritual preparation for the game, same as the players.
“Since I was a kid I have loved competition. I wanted to compete always. You have members of your family that don’t have that. I don’t know where it comes from.
“I started managing at the top level at 33 years old. I’m one of the few managers in the world who has not stopped at all. I have worked every day of my whole life because I love it. Of course I’ll be frightened of stopping because I’ll miss what I love.
“Nobody lives their life by being motivated by the next game then stops suddenly and goes to church every day.
“I’ve always said that if one day I go up to heaven and God asks: ‘Do you want to come in? What have you done in your life?’ the only answer I will have is ‘I tried to win football games’.
“He will say ‘Is that all you have done?’ and the only answer I will have is, ‘it’s not as easy as it looks’.”
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