English Premiership

Wright: Arsenal now like 'watching Ronaldo when he got fat'

Ronaldo (AFP)
Ronaldo (AFP)

Cape Town - Arsenal legend Ian Wright compared the decline of manager Arsene Wenger with former Brazilian striker Ronaldo's weight struggles.

Wright netted 185 times for the Gunners during a seven-year stint at Highbury. At his peak, there were few more feared strikers on the globe. However, one of them was Ronaldo Luis Nazario de Lima, who made a name for himself at Barcelona, Inter Milan and Real Madrid.

Ronaldo lost his golden touch towards the end of his stint at the Bernabeu and failed to recapture his best form during years to come at A.C. Milan and Corinthians. His struggle was caused in part by hypothyroidism - a condition which slows the body's metabolism.

Wright sees parallels between Ronaldo's struggle and that of his former manager.

“I spoke with Arsene for a few hours during the 2014 World Cup in Brazil," he told the Sunday times.

“He is such a fascinating man to talk to. During our conversation he said he accepts whatever criticism I make comes from a place of love.

“Watching him now is like witnessing the ageing Muhammad Ali against Larry Holmes, or watching Brazil’s Ronaldo when he got fat. You are watching the greats in their demise.

“The problem with Arsene is that there is no one in his corner prepared to throw in the towel.”

Wenger took over as Arsenal boss in 1996 and has guided the club to three Premier League titles.

However, they have not lifted one since the famous 2003/04 season in which they went the whole campaign unbeaten. 

Protests against the once-loved manager from Arsenal fans have become the norm. Wright's continues to be one of the leading dissenting voices.