It isn’t every day that two, let alone three, longtime rivals come together for a happy pre-match salute to one of the trio.
That’s what happened Sunday at Old Trafford prior to Manchester United’s 2-1 win over Arsenal.
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Jose Mourinho and Sir Alex Ferguson presented departing Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger with a gift and the Manchester United crowd gave the Frenchman a loud round of applause and cheers for a fantastic career and rivalry.
“We did it fantastically well as a club,” Mourinho said. “I felt it would mean more if Sir Alex came down because as United managers I played against Mr. Wenger three or four times but the big rivalry in the history of both clubs was between them.”
WengWenger appreciated the gesture.
“Very nice,” he said. “It was classy and you enjoy it. Apart from that, I have come here for a long, long time and next year someone else will come here, sit on the bench and get a very hostile reception, don’t worry.”
Wenger was then asked about being flanked by Mourinho and Ferguson, something that wouldn’t have been seemed pleasant so many times in their histories.
“Life goes always on, and sometimes it gets better.”
The conditional part of that statement may sum up Arsenal’s future without Wenger.