London, April 21: Arsenal star Mesut Ozil paid tribute to Arsene Wenger, saying he was proud to have played under the outgoing manager. Wenger announced Friday he would leave Arsenal at the end of the season after 22 years in charge of the Premier League giants.
Ozil, who arrived at the club from Real Madrid in 2013, was full of praise for Wenger and the Frenchman's approach.
"He's the main reason I came here, he convinced me and I am proud to have played under him," he told Sky Sports.
"Everyone has a lot of respect for him. He has won many titles, developed some good players and has always played excellent football, so you know as a player if you come here you are going to be able to develop and play in that style.
"He is an honest guy, a very respectful guy, has a good personality, and everybody wants to play under him."
Passion, respect and success- that is what Arsene Wenger is all about. Thank u for what you've done for us at @Arsenal and the football world. ⚽️ I'm grateful for everything you've taught me & all the trust you've put in me no matter how difficult the situation was.Merci Boss! pic.twitter.com/2KyoLyWrVT— Mesut Özil (@MesutOzil1088) April 20, 2018
Ozil's future at the Emirates Stadium was uncertain before the Germany international signed a three-year deal in February.
The 29-year-old, who has scored four goals and assisted eight in the Premier League this season, said he always wanted to remain at Arsenal.
"He is the boss who brought me here and wanted me to stay so I said I am comfortable here, I never wanted to leave and that's why I stayed," Ozil said.
"Now we want to reach our further goals."
Ozil and other Arsenal players, including the ones who left the club for greener pastures, were in full praise for the manager.
Defender Per Mertesacker told the Arsenal website: ""There have been a lot of challenges, a lot of highs and lows, but how he went through tough times has taught me a lot about his character and about how to trust people and get the people in the right places to be successful."
Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola, who has clinched the Premier League this year, said: "I wish him all the best. In the future, hopefully he can be involved in football in a different role. These kind of people are necessary for football because of their experience. Here in the Premier League, with Arsenal, with FIFA, with UEFA - anywhere."
I want to thank Arsene Wenger for the trust that he put in me since the first day. He scouted me at age 17 and I couldn’t be more honoured to have had an opportunity as such, and to have been trained by one of the best manager. I wish him the best for the future. God bless. pic.twitter.com/4NkbOW5QCn— Jeff Reine-Adélaïde (@jreineadelaide) April 20, 2018
This man just didn’t give me the opportunity to wear the Arsenal shirt..to discover the premier league.. to learn and improve by his side.. BUT this man changed my life.. i would always be grateful for what he has done for me and my family .. especially when i was going through hard personal moments. Your words mean a lot to me and i wanna take time to remind everyone he has made Arsenal bigger no matter what people are thinking about today.. From the bottom of my heart, Thank you Coach 🙏🏾 #Arsenal #ArseneWenger #emiratesstadium #powerfulpicture #sadday
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For Everything You’ve Done For Arsenal Football Club, For Trusting Me As A Teenager, For Giving Me The Opportunity To Express Myself And Grow Both As A Footballer And As A Person, I Will Forever Be Grateful To You Boss. Thank You So Much! ❤ pic.twitter.com/4QiECh6PUY— Alexander Iwobi (@alexiwobi) April 20, 2018
It’s been an honour to play for you and win trophies with https://t.co/GfP7SLO8Fq have been a big influence in my life on and off the field from a boy to a man.I am so happy to see everyone showing gratitude and respect today because you more than deserve it.Thank you Boss pic.twitter.com/QpL7M7ZL7X— Aaron Ramsey (@aaronramsey) April 20, 2018
Former Arsenal star Robin van Persie, who has played under both Wenger and Ferguson at United, said on Twitter: "I will always see you as my footballing father where under your guidance I had the chance to grow as a man and a player, i'm forever thankful for that and wish you all the very best for the next chapter in your life! #ThanksArsene #TheBoss"
Personally a very sad day. I am forever in debt to this man. The person who had faith in me and gave me a platform to progress. Thank you for all the memories and trophies boss ❤ pic.twitter.com/EP26M6TP3W— Héctor Bellerín (@HectorBellerin) April 20, 2018