Luis Boa Morte compared his former manager Arsene Wenger to Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara due to the impact the Frenchman has had on football in England during more than two decades in the Premier League.
Wenger announced last week that he would be standing down at the end of the season from the post he has held for 22 years, and Boa Morte was quick to praise the man who took him to England as a 19-year-old in 1997.
“I’m surprised, and I’m sad about it,” said Boa Morte, who will visit Hong Kong next month as part of the Citi All Stars team at this year’s HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens.
“He was the one who brought me to England and because of him I’ve done my entire professional life in England. Because of him. For me, I feel really sad to see him leaving Arsenal. But life is like this, football is like this.
“He’s a revolutionary. He’s like Che Guevara because he created a revolution at Arsenal. He created unbelievable things and I don’t know who else will come along and do what he did, winning the league without a defeat. The impossible became possible. Let’s see who will come next.”
Boa Morte won the Premier League and FA Cup double in 1998 with Arsenal before leaving Highbury to enjoy spells with Fulham, West ham United, and Southampton.
He retired from the competitive game in 2013 but will return to Hong Kong next month for a fourth appearance at the HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens as a member of the Citi All Stars, the team selected by the Professional Footballers’ Association who have won the Masters Event in each of the last two editions.
The 40-year-old is relishing the opportunity to defend their over-35s title once again.
“Me and all the guys are really pleased to return to a fabulous place like Hong Kong and to once more be taking part in such a massive tournament that has such great organisation,” he said.
“Everyone enjoys it from the very first day to the very last. So a big thank you to Citibank, who support us and the PFA who keep us all together.
“We don’t see other tournaments like this in the world. From time to time we see some others, but they’re not like the HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens. The rivalries, the tournament, the atmosphere itself, the hot weather, the good food and the good people around the organisation are fantastic.
“Everything about the tournament is enjoyable. So for myself and the Citi team, we are all proud to be there and happy to be together and to share the moments there and enjoy the tournament and the beautiful city of Hong Kong.”
The HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens will kick off on May 18 at Hong Kong Football Club and features 26 teams playing in two competitions.
Sixteen teams, including academy squads representing defending champions Leicester City, Aston Villa, Newcastle United, Brighton & Hove Albion and Rangers will contest the Main Event while a host of former stars will also fight it out for the Masters Event.
Tickets for the event are available at www.ticketflap.com/hksoccer7s2018 with free entry for all on Friday May 18 and free entry for children under 16 years old all weekend. Single day tickets cost HK$160 and weekend passes are HK$300.