ARSENE WENGER credits his Arsenal success in part to ‘always feeling a bit guilty’ because of his Catholic upbringing.
The Frenchman opened up about his strict religious childhood and said he went to confession every week.
Arsene Wenger has opened up about his Catholic upbringingCredit: Getty Images – Getty
Wenger, 71, grew up in Duttlenheim, France with staunchly religious parents Alphonse and Louise.
His Catholic family owned a bistro called La Croix d’Or in the village near Strasbourg where the population was obsessed with football and the church.
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He said: “I think the impact for me was that you’re never completely happy because you never do well enough.
“The religion makes you feel always a bit guilty because the Catholic religion is like that.
“We had to confess every week and sometimes I learned to lie as well because I didn’t always remember what I did wrong.
“You came out fresh, you always felt, ‘Okay I have confessed now. God forgive me – I can start my life again.”
Wenger worked in his parents’ bistro as a kid in the agricultural village but admitted his mum and dad’s busy lifestyle left little time for family life.
He added: “I wouldn’t advise anybody to open a bistro and have children. At the time there was no family life.
“The bistro was open every day of the year. It closed only one day, from four o’clock in the afternoon until midnight.
“That was on Christmas Day because the village was dominated by religion. So that was no holiday.”
Wenger was an average professional footballer – playing for lower league French sides before a three year spell at Ligue 1 side Strasbourg from 1978.
The Fifa employee then spent 22 years in charge of Arsenal and recently said ‘only God will judge me’ after dedicating his whole life to football.
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