“I enjoyed speaking with him,” says Mourinho of Wenger.
Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has revealed he has formed an unlikely friendship with Arsenal’s Arsene Wenger.
The duo were regularly at loggerheads during Mourinho’s first spell in England between 2004 and 2007, with Mourinho claiming the Frenchman was a ‘voyeur’ who was obsessed with Chelsea.
As recently as 2010, the Portuguese said that Wenger should, “explain to Arsenal supporters how he can’t win one single little trophy since 2005”.
But the 50-year-old, who returned to Stamford Bridge from Real Madrid this summer, says meetings at several international tournaments has led to a respectful relationship with Wenger.
“He’s a nice guy,” Mourinho, speaking in Jakarta, is quoted as saying by The Telegraph.
“I respect him a lot and I will show my respect always. I wouldn’t bet for one single problem between us. I have had a chance to meet him much, much better when I left England. I started meeting him at the Euros, the World Cup. We had dinner.
“When you are not in the same league and when you are not playing against each other, it is easier to know people, it is easier to go deeper. I enjoyed speaking with him about football. He is a person with a big culture, very open to give his opinion to things.”
Mourinho also revealed how he would like to replicate Wenger’s longevity with the same club.
“Our last conversation was that I want to be here 17 years – he has to teach me how. I respect him a lot and I have the feeling that he is the same in relation to me,” the former Porto and Inter Milan boss added.
But asked if he could go eight years without a trophy as Wenger has done, Mourinho said: “Not because of my mentality. I would feel strange. But you can do very good work for a club without winning lots of trophies. He had all these chances to leave, all these good, important clubs interested in him.”