Former Arsenal captain William Gallas has inadvertently stung Arsene Wenger, by declaring his admiration for Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho, who he describes as the best coach in the world.
Gallas, who recently retired from professional football after seeing out his career with Australian outfit Perth Glory, told beIN Sports - as relayed by Portuguese newspaper A Bola - that he regretted not being able to work with Mourinho for longer than two years, which Wenger could well take less than kindly too.
Gallas in the Premier League
The Frenchman made Gallas his captain after the departure of Thierry Henry to Barcelona in 2007, and the defender spent four years as a senior member of the squad at the Emirates Stadium before switching his allegiances to north London rivals Tottenham.
Yet preceding all of this he had been a Chelsea defender for five years, and remained a strong part of Mourinho’s squad after The Special One’s arrival in 2004. Though he was included in the part-exchange deal which saw Ashley Cole move to Stamford Bridge he clearly remains a big fan of Mourinho, and holds the Portuguese coach in higher regard than the man who gave him his most senior duty in English football.
Mourinho 'the best'
"Mourinho is the best coach in the world, and he allowed me to reach the level I wanted to," Gallas said.
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"Mourinho is the best coach in the world, and he allowed me to reach the level I wanted to"
"He is a perfectionist, I would have worked with him more than two years.
"With Mourinho every training season was a pleasure, the quality was amazing."
Animosity from Arsenal?
Just how Arsenal fans will react to the comments remains to be seen. Though Gallas was well-liked as a Gunner he did have his fair share of irksome moments, and his infamous sulking on the pitch when things weren’t going to plan drew plenty of criticism from the stands.
Then of course he moved to play for Spurs, which will only have acted as a stimulant for any underlying animosity remaining at the Emirates. His career at White Hart Lane wasn’t a great success, but the fact that he was willing to don the shirt in the first place is enough to turn any ex-Arsenal star from fan favourite to public enemy No.1 in a short space of time.
As for Gallas himself it remains to be seen what comes next. With his playing career over he may decide to turn to coaching or punditry, with the latter being suitable given his extensive experience at the highest level of the game.