Tuesday, August 16, 2022 – Former Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger has opened up on his rivalry with Jose Mourinho stating that it originally began back in 2004 when Chelsea started spending money ‘they didn’t earn’.
Wenger, who is currently serving as FIFA’s Chief of Global Football Development, had a heated rivalry which started when Mourinho, who is now the manager of AS Roma, originally arrived in England in 2004 after Roman Abramovich took over Chelsea in 2003.
With funds from the billionaire, Chelsea signed the likes of Didier Drogba, Petr Cech, Arjen Robben, Ricardo Carvalho, Paulo Ferreira, Matej Kezman, and many others including Essien, Mikel Obi, Deco, players that eventually led Mourinho to win the premier league title and kickstart Chelsea’s dominance in the league.
“My rivalry was more with the clubs than the persons, I never made any statements on a personal level,” Wenger told Sky Sports.
“I had a lot of aggravation with [José] Mourinho at the time because I felt that Chelsea were the first club that came in and spent money they didn’t earn.”
Despite the rivalry going back to the beginning, the biggest bust-up between the two perhaps came in February 2014, when Mourinho taunted Wenger by calling him a ‘specialist in failure’ and later that year, they truly came to blows on the touchline.
Wenger later waxed lyrical about the ‘turning point’ for football including the Premier League being the introduction of Financial Fair Play.
Financial Fair Play was introduced in 2009 by UEFA as an attempt to curb excessive spending and to encourage clubs to pay out relative to what they earn.
‘At the time you had no Financial Fair Play, since that moment in 2004, nowadays they have created a financial fair play and there is more control over the finances of the clubs,’ he said.
‘Overall that was the turning point.’