London (AFP) – Arsene Wenger has revealed he has given away every single medal he has won during his more than 20 years as Arsenal manager.
The Frenchman has the chance to lift the FA Cup for a record seventh time at Wembley on Saturday.
No manager has won more than six finals, with Premier League champions Chelsea standing in the way of Wenger’s bid for a fresh piece of football history
Tony Adams, Wenger’s captain in his first five years at the London club, wrote in his autobiography that he saw Wenger angrily throw his runners-up medal from the 2001 FA Cup final in a bin.
And while Wenger had no recollection about that he did confirm that memorabilia and nostalgia played little part in his life.
“Don’t trust too much to what Tony Adams says,” he said on the eve of the final. “I don’t remember that. But I have no medals at home anyway – from anything.
“I always give them out,” the 67-year-old Wenger added
“There is always a guy at the club who did not get a medal, a member of staff. So you are always a medal short and you will always find someone who takes it.
“Who will get this medal? I have first to earn it, although you get a medal, loser or winner. It’s all instinctive.
“I am not a back-looker. I am always forward. You come to my home you will be surprised. There is no trophy, no medal, nothing.
“You would not even guess that I am a football manager. Apart from the fact that a football game is on!
“I am not separated from football. I am completely in football. I watch the game that is on on the night but I don’t look back what we have won, what we have done and all that, what we have lost.”
– ‘Look back’ –
Although the saga over Wenger’s contract, which is due to expire once the season is over, has yet to reach a conclusion, he has already indicated he will carry on in management even if he does leave Arsenal.
A two-year extension that will keep him at the Emirates Stadium remains the most likely scenario.
Wenger admitted that once he retires he may start to view the past with more affection, however.
“Maybe one day I will have to look back,” he said. “If I have health certainly no. It depends on my health. I will not always manage but I will always be involved in the game.”
Chelsea’s relentless league form has made them strong favourites, especially as London rivals Arsenal are without key defenders. Laurent Koscielny is banned, fellow centre-back Gabriel injured and Shkodran Mustafi a concern because of the after effects of concussion.
Per Mertesacker is available but has played just 37 minutes this season following a serious knee injury.
Wenger was confident of upsetting the odds, however, having pulled off a similar feat in the final 12 years ago.
“Of course I expect us to win,” he said. “It’s true that in neutral opinions Chelsea will be favourites but we have gone into finals like that as well.
“I remember in 2005 we had no players available any more. I played with Dennis Bergkamp up front against Manchester United who had Ronaldo, Rooney, Giggs, Scholes. We won, maybe without deserving it, but we won it,” Wenger added.
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