The difference between Arsenal and other great teams- Emmanuel Adebayor
“It reached a time where you would go on holiday and be checking the Daily Mail website to see who is close to leaving for Barcelona or Milan. Dropping one by one until Arsenal are what they are today. I would not be surprised if Lacazette or Aubameyang leave in the summer. Nothing surprises me anymore with that club.
“Wenger is a beautiful manager, but no matter the situation, we had to play our football. I remember those days going to Stoke. You know it’s a heavy afternoon with Rory Delap’s throw. I’m a big guy but what about the rest of the team? We came out of the dressing room in the corridor and you hear clink, clink…the studs from Stoke… and just think ‘Oh my God’. Shawcross, Huth, Crouch… Then you see our team of 60kg players.
“We had quality but for some games, I am sorry, it was not enough. United and Chelsea were technical but so strong. Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic. Rio insulted everyone on the pitch. He is proper psycho!
“But Vidic was the tough man, the nastiest, like running into a rock. He could block a striker with a single finger. He walks on you, he says sorry, he kicks you, he says sorry. He shouts at you and makes a little bit of spit come out. This guy was ready to kill.
“Did Arsenal hurt from defeats like United did? We swallowed defeats. Games where I scored and we lost 2-1, I thought my job was done. Rio would have come to me ‘if you want to be happy, score three.’ I saw him argue with Rooney and Giggs.
“These are the things we didn’t have. We were nice. We had a gentlemen team. We play, we pass around but when it comes to being dirty, we couldn’t.
“During a loan spell at Real Madrid, (I) saw Wenger’s antithesis in Jose Mourinho. One is calm and the other is not. I remember we were losing 2-1 and we were playing badly. Thierry Henry was going mental. Wenger came in and said ‘Calm down, we are perfect, 65 per cent of the ball, we have crossed 25 times’. Thierry is telling me ‘Who cares? We are losing’. That is the difference between Wenger and Mourinho.
“At Real, we were winning 3-0 at half-time. He came into the dressing room and went mental. He kicked the fridge, threw water, killed everyone.
“He once killed Ronaldo after he scored a hat-trick. He said: ‘Everyone says you are the best in the world and you are playing badly. Show me you are the best.’ Cristiano took it.
“Ronaldo could score a hat-trick but talk about the one he missed. He trained with us at Madrid as though he was training with his kids. Passes with his back, control with his neck. He once kept the ball for five seconds with one touch! How is that possible? In the gym, wow. Sergio Ramos and I were the strongest. But then came Ronaldo. ‘You think that’s hard?’ he’d say. We’d do five reps and he’d do 30
“If I was open to those criticisms like Cristiano, when I was younger, I would have been a different player and had one more step up.”