Arsène Wenger remembers friend Ivica Osim: Stratege, lecturer, philosopher at football Europe

Ivica Osim’s death († May 1, 2022) at the age of 80 caused great concern in football Europe. With Arsène Wenger, a former teammate, friend and companion now commemorates the “Strauß von Zeljo”: “Unfortunately, there are far too few people like you.”

It was in the late 1970s when Ivica Osim and Arsène Wenger met at Racing Strasbourg. Osim, called “Strauß” because of its elegant game, conducted in the offensive midfield, Wenger worked on the outer lane.

“We are good friends,” remembered Osim in one of his last interviews with football Europe to today’s FIFA director Wenger (72). “He played on the right in midfield, was a technically good water carrier. Big steps like a giraffe, a correct player. Arsène only speaks of football. Always and everywhere, only football, football. “

At that time, Osim and Wenger regularly drove across the German border to Karlsruhe to see the Bundesliga: “So we were at the latest and recognized how important standard situations and running strength are.” A coaching career was inevitable for the two companies even then.

The two football thinkers finally developed similar game philosophies. Attractive for the viewer, goal -rich and offensive: “Arsène always asked his players to play directly. I saw it similarly and forced the direct game. After the training at Sturm, spectators asked me what we try. We have progress made. Later they understood it. “

While Wenger celebrated success with Arsenal on the big football stage, Osim found the way to Graz and made himself immortal. In common, both trained clubs in Japan, both of them rejected offers from Real Madrid over the years and both were valued and celebrated at their work facilities beyond their ballestinal success.

On May 1, 2022, Osim’s life ended in Graz on the birthday of the SK Sturm. Days later, Arsène Wenger followed the request from football Europe to share memories of his late friend.

Arsène Wenger’s obituary on Ivica Osim

Noch always touched deeply, I think of Ivica Osim. I said goodbye from a former teammate, but above all from a loyal companion from a good friend.

Lot of our time together as a player at Racing Strasbourg, towards the end of the 1970s, we learned to appreciate ourselves. Later we continued to maintain contact and our families got to know each other.

IVICA was a success man who has never been withdrawn in success and always remained modest. As a player, he was fantastic. His name “Strauß von Zeljo”, suited him so well because he moved on the square in his typical style and always kept an overview. He was a conductor and fighter at the same time. He was a top player, an exceptional cloister who didn’t really like the spotlight. Ivica Osim was through and through and had enormous football knowledge.

_ And this football knowledge later implemented it impressively as a trainer. He was a real strategist who got everything out of his players, no matter what they were called. He was a unique football lecturer. During his coaching period in Austria, he was called football steers, as philosophers. And these names could not be more appropriate. Osim’s analyzes and statements such as “Football is practically the only game where the better team can lose” or “Football is very easy, and everything that is easy is also difficult”. He undoubtedly shaped football around the turn of the millennium with modesty and intellect._

ARSÈNE WENGER - Iconic Speech
Ja, that was Ivica Osim! But he was above all a man with healthy principles and with excellent, human qualities… with a great charisma. A man who actually crossed the worst phase of his life in his most successful moment, as he said. The Balkan War left deep traces with him. Suddenly everything became a minor matter. His thoughts were always with his Bosnian people, his friends, his family, with all those who died or had to suffer in the war. The Balkan War has changed Ivica Osim, yes, it shaped it. And when our then player in Strasbourg Heinz Schilcher later became manager at Sturm Graz, he won Ivica Osim as a coach. That was his best decision. It was the most successful years for Graz, thanks to Ivica Osim. But he always put the team in the foreground because he was a real master of understatement. Ivica Osim and Graz, that was a real love and it lasted until his last breath.

Dass Ivica has died on May 1st, the founding date of Sturm Graz, will probably be another special chapter in club history.
Ivica gave the Graz countless declarations of love, including: “Sturm covers everything black in my life, everything that knows is too.” _
_Ruhe in Frieden, Ivica Osim.
Footballers especially people like you were one, unfortunately there are far too few.
I will always remember you in the best of memory and keep thinking back to our times and encounters with a wistful smile.
_In friendship,

Arsène Wenger
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