Real Madrid chief reveals he was close to luring Arsene Wenger

SoccerBy Kevin Palmer
Wenger has rejected a host of offers from rival clubs to stay at Arsenal
Wenger has rejected a host of offers from rival clubs to stay at Arsenal

Former Real Madrid President Ramon Calderon has revealed he held talks with Arsene Wenger about taking over at the Bernabeu - and believes the Frenchman was tempted to take the job.

Wenger has hinted on numerous occasions that he has been offered a host of chances to leave Arsenal during his enduring reign as Gunners boss and now Calerdon has confirmed that the chance to take over at Real Madrid was dangled before the Frenchman on more than one occasion.

“Things didn’t work out and he has clearly loved his time at Arsenal," said Calderon as he reflected on his moves for the Gunners boss in a a new book entitled Arsene Wenger: The Inside Story of Arsenal Under Wenger.

"He was talking to me about Real Madrid and he was very interested in the club and what was happening. I remember he said: “Are you going to Hollywood again, or to make a football team?” He meant are you going for film star Galacticos or to make a proper football team.

“I imagine that anyone – be it a coach or a player – at some time in their career is interested in coming to a club like Real Madrid, especially when you have been at a club for fifteen years, or however long, in England.

“It’s something you have in England that is a very good thing. You have it at Arsenal, you had at Manchester United, that the manager could stay at the club for a very long time. It’s impossible here.

“In Spain, Barcelona and Real Madrid, fans and followers only want titles, trophies and championships. In England, it’s something they do well – to give the coach confidence and support. Get a good relationship between the club and the coach. Wenger is proof of that.

“He’s a very, very kind man. He is a wonderful manager, a really nice man and I am so pleased that he has been so successful, but I also think he would have been very good at Madrid. But Madrid is a very difficult club sometimes.

"It’s difficult to have a coach here for more than three years. They suffer the pressure. The media here is very difficult to cope with.

“It’s a real trouble for a coach if he doesn’t win and even if he does, but doesn’t play the style of football they like, then it’s not enough. Maybe he would have been successful, but if you come here there is so much to overcome.”

Wenger has been in charge at Arsenal since 1996 and has come under fire from the club's supporters for a lack of success in recent years, with FA Cup triumphs in the last two season helping to placate some frustrated Gunners fans.

Arsene Wenger: The Inside Story of Arsenal Under Wenger is available here HERE