Arsene Wenger steps down: How Alex Ferguson, Jurgen Klopp and the footballing world reacted

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger will step down from his role at the Premier League club at the end of the season.

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Arsene Wenger steps down: How Alex Ferguson, Jurgen Klopp and the footballing world reacted

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger announced on Friday that he will step down from his role at the Premier League club at the end of the season after almost 22 years at the helm.

Wenger led the club three Premier League titles, including going unbeaten for an entire season, seven FA Cups and took Arsenal into the Champions League for 20 years in a row.

Here's how some of the biggest footballing names reacted to his departure:

Alex Ferguson, former Manchester United manager, told the club website 

"It is great testament to his talent, professionalism and determination that he has been able to dedicate 22 years of his life to a job that he loves. In an era where football managers sometimes only last one or two seasons, it shows what an achievement it is to serve that length of time at a club the size of Arsenal."

"He is, without doubt, one of the greatest Premier League managers and I am proud to have been a rival, a colleague and a friend to such a great man."

Juergen Klopp, Liverpool manager, told reporters: "I am surprised. It is his decision. I respect that. He is an influence in football. Had a fantastic career. Outstanding personality."

"He was there for so long, 22 years is a long time. Maybe in the last few months not everybody was happy with this result or that. He was the dominating guy in mid 1990s, 2000s. It is different now because we have to challenge, but in Germany he was a big role model. It will be different. Maybe he will go somewhere else. I wish him all the best."

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola told reporters: "Arsene Wenger has all my respect. The Premier League is the Premier League now because of Arsene Wenger and what he has done, his vision and respect for football."

"I wish him all the best in the future. Of course it was a pleasure to compete against him."

Rafa Benitez, Newcastle United manager, told reporters: "I've been fighting with him for so many years but his behaviour is quite good and an example to everyone. I think it's the last we'll see of that longevity. (There is) So much impatience these days so clubs change."

"You need a plan and an idea and he had that. He stuck with it for 22 years."

West Ham United manager David Moyes told reporters: "Real football people will appreciate what he has done. He's a proper football man, he lives and breathes it. He has been dedicated to this sport."

Bayern Munich manager Jupp Heynckes told reporters: "Firstly he has had a sensational career in France and England for 20 years or so at Arsenal."

"He was one of the top coaches in Europe. Maybe he will take over a general manager position but to work as a coach at another club I don't know if he wants it. I cannot imagine it. He does not need it.

"An outstanding career and he was a positive influence for English football with his philosophy and his style of play. But as in politics and in sports when you get a bit older you have to say 'that's enough'."

Bob Wilson, former Arsenal goalkeeper, to BBC Radio 5 live: "He is the greatest manager in the history of Arsenal football club. He is above Herbert Chapman and all of the guys who won trophies. Arsene is not only the greatest manager in Arsenal's history, he has personally changed the face of the game in this country."

Gary Neville, former Manchester United defender and pundit, tweeted: "Arsene Wenger built the best teams that I played against in English football. The 98 team was amazing. The biggest compliment is that he played football that made us change the way we played against them. He now deserves the most incredible send off from all in the coming weeks."

Hector Bellerin, Arsenal and Spain defender, tweeted: "Personally a very sad day. I am forever in debt to this man. The person who had faith in me and gave me a platform to progress. Thank you for all the memories and trophies boss."

Jack Wilshere, Arsenal and England midfielder, tweeted: "To the man who gave me my chance as a 16 year old, and showed unbelievable faith and commitment towards me.
"Always a gentleman, like a father through tough times in my career. He always believed in me when most people didn't. Thank you for everything boss!"

Tony Adams, former Arsenal captain, wrote on Instagram: "Thanks for everything Arsene. Move over Herbert, Arsene Wenger the greatest Arsenal Manager. #arsenaltillhedies""

David Seaman, former Arsenal goalkeeper, tweeted: "Sad day for Arsenal with Arsene leaving, can we now give him the send off/respect he deserves?!! #rememberthetrophies"

Paul Merson, former Arsenal midfielder, told Sky Sports: "He knew every player in the world. He could see a player, he knew every player in the world. He has been caught up by the internet and that is the problem Arsene has. I just hope the stadium is packed for the last game to pay him the right respect."

Cesc Fabregas, former Arsenal midfielder and captain, on Instagram: "Wow. I never expected that but it shows the great dignity and class of the man. I will never forget his guidance and support, his tutelage and mentorship. He had faith in me from day one and I owe him a lot, he was like a father figure to me who always pushed me to be the best. Arsene, you deserve all the respect and happiness in the world."

Nigel Winterburn, former Arsenal defender, told Sky Sports:
"Wenger has been absolutely amazing for Arsenal Football Club. He has kept the club relatively successful, but the one thing the fans wanted him to do was to get this Premier League title challenge and that hasn't happened. "It feels like the right time, and he will be remembered fondly at this club. I think when people look back, they will really appreciate what he has done."

Gary Lineker, former England striker and pundit, tweeted: "Arsene Wenger is to leave Arsenal at the end of the season. He has given much of his life to Arsenal. He has brought much success to the club. He has given much to the game of football in our country. Merci et bonne chance, Monsieur Wenger."

Manchester United on Twitter: "Congratulations on an incredible 22-year career at Arsenal, Arsene Wenger, and best of luck for the rest of the season… apart from on your 60th game against us next Sunday."

Alex Scott, Arsenal women's team player, tweeted: "Just seen the news about Arsene stepping down at the end of the season. I have been fortunate to be at Arsenal for over 22 years and what he has done for our club has been unbelievable. He’s an absolute gentleman as a person." 

It's a sad day for Premier League football."

Mark Hughes, Southampton manager, told reporters: "He came with different ideas, different views on how the game should be played and preparation for games."

"He basically moved the goalposts for everybody else. Everybody else was still doing the same things, still preparing in the same way.

"He came in with different ideas and started having success and everybody had to catch up and understand what he was doing differently."

Neil Warnock, Cardiff City manager, told reporters: "He's the man who changed the whole face of the game."

"We owe him so much, yet have given him so much stick. In a way I'm glad he's going, I wouldn't want to see him get any more vitriol than he's had."

French Ligue 1 side AS Monaco on Twitter: "Respect Mister Wenger!" the club wrote on its Twitter feed, showing a picture of the Frenchman during his days as manager of the club.

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