Home ‘His story will make a marvellous film’ – Arsene Wenger on George Weah’s meteoric rise

‘His story will make a marvellous film’ – Arsene Wenger on George Weah’s meteoric rise

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The Frenchman is full of praise for his former ward who overcame a tumultuous start in football to eventually rule his country

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has described George Weah’s story as a miracle that ‘will make a marvellous film’.

The three-time African Footballer of the Year succeeded Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, as the President of Liberia after his victory over opposition candidate Joseph Boakai at the polls in December 2017.

And Wenger has disclosed how his friend, Claude Le Roy, now head coach of Togo’s national team, introduced him to the Liberian before signing him from Cameroonian side Tonnerre Yaounde in 1988 to Monaco.

Weah went on to score 66 goals across four seasons during his stay at the Stade Louis II and also won his maiden African Player of the Year in 1989 before enjoying an illustrious career in European top clubs.

With his recent success in politics, Wenger opnes up on the incredible transformation of the 51-year-old who is still the only African to have won the Fifa World Player of the Year and Ballon d’Or awards till date.

“Basically his whole life story is, for me, a miracle,” Wenger told Arsenal Player.

“This story started when a friend of mine came to visit me in Monaco. He was coaching in Cameroon and I asked him if he could find one player in Africa who could be a sub for us, and told him to just look for a striker.

“We were only allowed two foreign players and we already had Mark Hateley, but he had groin injuries. My friend said, ‘There’s a guy and he’s not that bad’, so I called him every Monday and asked him how our player was doing. He said to me, ‘He’s done well again’, so I sent someone from our club to watch him play because at the time you had no media. He said he wasn’t bad so I said, ‘Bring him back with you’.

“I bought him and at the start he was absolutely disastrous. Even the players laughed, but he was ready for work. I saw things in him that were amazing, like his physical power and despite his size, he was agile.

Wenger - Weah PS

“He was heavy, so I made him lose weight and he worked very hard with me, sometimes in one v one situations. We went on runs together and he became the player everybody knew afterwards. The transformation was absolutely unbelievable, it’s one of the most spectacular I’ve seen. Many people said he was a Conference player, with no disrespect to the Conference league, but it’s what people said. He became the best player in the world.

On January 22, Weah was inaugurated as the 25th President of Liberia and the Frenchman has praised his generosity and humanitarianism towards the people of his country even before his election triumph.

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“He was also a shy person at the time, very apprehensive of Europe, but also a generous person who cared about people,” he continued.

“I discovered him slowly because at the time there was war in Liberia and some night I’d see him on the phone caring about his country. He was a generous person, I must say. He’s an exceptional human being because his story will make a marvellous film. 

“When you think that I saw this guy coming from Cameroon to Monaco with nothing and today he’s president of his country, it tells you that nothing is impossible in life.”

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