George Weah: I wouldn't have made it in Europe without Arsène Wenger | inside World Soccer

George Weah: I wouldn't have made it in Europe without Arsène Wenger

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

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Legendary Liberian striker George Weah has explained why Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger had such a profound effect on his remarkable career.

Wenger has cultivated a reputation for developing players throughout his career and is credited for spotting the true potential of household names such as Nicolas Anelka, Patrick Vieira, Thierry Henry and Cesc Fàbregas before turning them into household names.

Then coach of AS Monaco, the long-serving Frenchman had unearthed the Tonnerre Yaoundé striker in Cameroon, and brought to the international stage.

After leaving Monaco in 1992 he joined Paris Saint-Germain before embarking on a successful stint with Italian giants AC Milan that saw him become the only player to win the African, European and world footballer of the year titles in one season in 1995.

But those heights would never have been reached, Weah insists, without the support and guidance of Wenger.

Speaking to the Guardian ahead of an election that could make the 51-year-old the next president of Liberia, Weah said:

When I started playing football, I never thought I would ever win the Ballon d'Or and emerge as the best player in the world. I just had a passion for the game and I worked hard. Every day. I would rather train than eat or sleep.

When I moved to Monte Carlo I didn't play for the first six months. But I was determined to showcase my talent, to prove to those back home, who thought that my coming to Europe was a waste of time, that I was a good player.

Wenger was a father figure and regarded me as his son. This was a man, when racism was at its peak, who showed me love. He wanted me to be on the pitch for him every day.

One day, I was quite tired of training and told him that I was having a headache. He said to me: "George, I know it's tough but you need to work hard. I believe that with your talent, you can become one of the best players in the world."

So, I listened and kept going on. Besides God, I think that without Arsène, there was no way I would have made it in Europe.

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