- Arsene Wenger will make his managerial return in January for a one-off match
- He will manage Saudi Arabia’s dream team against PSG in the Riyadh Season Cup
- It will be the first time he will be in the dugout since leaving Arsenal in 2018
Arsene Wenger will return to management for the first time since leaving Arsenal in 2018 when he takes charge of Saudi Arabia’s super team in January.
The 71-year-old, who has not taken another managerial role since ending his illustrious 22-year stint with the Gunners three years ago, will be in the dugout for Lionel Messi’s 2022 Riyadh Season Cup match against PSG.
The Saudi side will feature players from the Kingdom’s two biggest clubs – Al-Hilal and Al-Nasr – which will see Wenger lock horns with former Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino for a special one-off match next year.
Former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger will return to the dugout in January for a one-off match
On Sunday, Turki al-Sheikh, the chairman of Saudi Arabia’s General Entertainment Authority, confirmed Wenger’s return in a tweet, which read: ‘Great international coach Arsene Wenger has been named for Al-Hilal and Al-Nasr against Paris St. Signed to lead the stars. – Germain in the Riyadh Season Cup.
The friendly encounter is a part of Saudi Arabia’s Riyadh season, which begins this month and runs till March 2022.
The massive event will see Barcelona take on Boca Juniors for the Maradona Cup in November to honor the late Argentine superstar, who passed away last year.
Wenger is currently serving as FIFA’s head of global football development and has been involved with several returns to the touchline since leaving Arsenal but none have been successful so far.
Wenger hasn’t held a managerial position since leaving Arsenal in 2018, but he hasn’t retired
Wenger will manage Saudi Arabia’s dream team against PSG in the 2022 Riyadh Season Cup
And while the Frenchman hasn’t featured much on our television screens other than a weird punditry appearance here and there, he’s still making waves in the football world.
As FIFA’s head of global football development, Wenger wants to see a biennial World Cup, but mid-season internationals also want to be split into just one or two windows instead of the current five.
As part of one of Wenger’s draft proposals shown to FIFA’s member associations, the season will halt for a month in October to complete tournament qualifiers.
However, these radical new ideas have received criticism from managers and former players, with Gareth Southgate, Tyrone Mings and Thierry Henry all against the proposal.
Wenger, currently serving as FIFA’s head of global football development, is hoping to change the international calendar of world football going forward.
Henry said: ‘I played four World Cups and [three] Euro and I were mentally shattered out of them.
‘And it’s not about the games I’ve played in it, it’s about preparing for the World Cup, coming back from the World Cup after a season at your club.
‘So if you play it every two years, it’s mentally tough for a player.’
But while his views are still up for debate, seeing Wenger back on the touchline would be a welcome return.
Wenger’s new ideas were widely criticized, with his former Arsenal star Thierry Henry (left) against the proposals.
Wenger, who joined Arsenal from the Nagoya Grampus Eight in 1996 after stints at Nancy and Monaco, was stunned by what players and staff told him about going completely out of the blue in 2018.
Wenger’s announcement left Arsenal fans divided, with many thanking him for his 22 years in charge – while others wished him a good run.
Although he won 10 major trophies during his time in North London, he is remembered as one of the club’s greatest managers.