Arsene Wenger admits he is dreading the moment when he steps down as Arsenal manager, after almost 20 years in charge of the club.
The Frenchman will reach the milestone in October this year, making him one of the longest-serving managers in English top-flight history, while his contract expires at the end of this season.
And he confessed that he is at a loss for what to do with his life once he finally steps down from the Gunners bench – be it this season or further down the line.
“Football has been my life, and honestly, I’m quite scared of the day. Because the longer I wait, the more difficult it will be to lose the addiction,” he said in an interview published in Game Changers: Inside English Football.
“After [Sir Alex Ferguson] retired and we played [Manchester United] over there he sent a message to me to come up and have a drink with him.
“I asked: ‘Did you miss it?’ He said: ‘Not at all.’ I didn’t understand that. It’s an emptiness in your life, especially when you’ve lived your whole life waiting for the next game and trying to win it.
Our pleasure comes from that – and our social attitude as well!”
Wenger added that despite his many years in the game, he still struggled to handle defeats.
“As people, part of us loves to win and part of us hates to lose. The percentage to hate to lose, in me, is bigger,” he said.
“Managers hate to lose, and if you don’t hate to lose you don’t stay for long in this job.
“If a match goes really well, I might go out with friends or family for dinner or a drink. If it doesn’t, I’ll go straight home to watch another football game and see another manager suffer.
If we lose, it ruins my weekend. But I’ve learned over the years to deal with my disappointments and come back.”