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Robert Pires
Gender Male
Ethnic French
Job French Footballer
Desc The winger came in as a replacement for Marc Overmars and after taken some time to adjust to the Premier League’s physicality, he lit up English football with his smooth dribbling style and collection of memorable goals. His peak was his hugely fruitful relationship with Thierry Henry during the Invincibles season


Org France National Team
Club as Player xxxx
  Arsenal FC

2003 08 13 Retrieve

[Arsenal Midfielder Robert Pires signs new deals with Arsenal FC which takes him through to almost his 33rd birthday] I’m pleased with the way it’s all happened and also the fact that Arsenal want to keep me is a great sign of recognition for me personally. I love being a part of this club

2008 10 09 Retrieve

[Villarreal’s Robert Pires has admitted he believes Arsene Wenger would be the perfect candidate to manage the French side and take over from beleagured boss Raymond Domenech] Arsene Wenger is a gentleman and his qualities would have a positive effect on the national side. He is a class act. Of course, as he is Arsenal’s manager he is not free right now - but you never know what could happen.

I don’t want Domenech to stay in the job. Nobody knows how he managed to get the team into the 2006 World Cup final. The team crashed and burned right from the start of the Euro 2008 finals, yet he is still in charge. The game in Romania looks like a trap, but I expect he will escape from it. He is so lucky, I reckon Les Bleus will win on Saturday

France’s young players no longer have any respect for their seniors, and the coach is solely to blame. He does things badly. But Domenech has done anything but set them the right example with his theatrical antics and comments

As the French FA dislikes revolutions, maybe Domenech’s assistant, Alain Boghossian, could take the top job - similar to the way Roger Lemerre took over from Aime Jacquet. took over from Aime Jacquet. But I would be happy to see someone like Gerard Houllier get the job if it does not go to Wenger. If money is made available by the French FA then anything is possible. The key is knowing whether he has the desire to leave London. Right now, I am very worried about what the future holds for the France side

2010 10 19 Retrieve

[Robert Pires, is still adored by Arsenal fans, and his return with Villarreal for a Champions League quarter-final in April 2009 was a celebration] We lost, sure, but it was lovely. The fans were incredible - they sang [my name] before the game, during the game, after the game. Un-be-lievable. There was a moment when I thought - a bit of me, at least - ah, if only I had stayed

2015 07 Retrieve

[Robert Pires on The Games That Changed My Life: October 9, 1996: France 4-0 Turkey] Nobody else will remember this game, but it was my first goal for my country. It was a friendly at the Parc des Princes, which we won 4-0. It was an incredible moment in my life, not just my career, to wear Les Bleus’ colours and score with style

My country has always been very important to me. I understand it was a friendly, but I was so happy to have all my family there to share such a moment with me

[October 17, 2000: Lazio 1-1 Arsenal] I scored a good goal that got us an important draw in Italy

This was significant not because it was my first goal for Arsenal, but because fans were starting to doubt that I had what it takes to play for Arsenal and replace Marc Overmars. It wasn’t easy - he’d scored that famous goal at Old Trafford to make him a fan favourite

I scored a good goal that got us an important draw in Italy - something that let the supporters know I could help the Gunners win many trophies in the future. I just ran and ran, and finished well. You can see how relieved I was to prove myself!

[March 17, 2002: Aston Villa 1-2 Arsenal] We were struggling against a really good Aston Villa side, but I scored one of my best goals at a crucial time to get us the victory that we needed. We were behind Manchester United in the league table, and needed to go on a good run

We had to win that game. I was through on goal, saw the size of Peter Schmeichel, and thought the only way to score was to chip him. I love scoring over big goalkeepers like that! People still ask me about that goal, but it was the win that mattered most

[May 17, 2003: Arsenal 1-0 Southampton] When we got to the final we knew we had to win

Nobody had retained the FA Cup for a long time [since Tottenham in 1982], and for us to do it - in a game when I scored the only goal of a very close match - was very special. The game wasn’t the most exciting I have ever played in, but I know how much it meant to the supporters to carry on winning things

When we got to the final we knew we had to win and, for me personally, being the difference between the two teams on the day was important in my life

[November 13, 2004: Tottenham 4-5 Arsenal] The atmosphere that day was something that I’ve never seen before in my career. The supporters of both clubs were always good in north London derbies, but this was something else, even though it was at White Hart Lane

I think it’s one of the best matches the Premier League has ever seen and it’s always replayed on my TV. I’ll never forget playing a part in a match that brought people so much excitement [Pires scored the fifth goal after coming on as a substitute]. If that game went on for longer, the goals wouldn’t have stopped going in - the attacking play was just so good by both sides

2015 08 20 Retrieve

[Former Arsenal midfielder Robert Pires on Thierry Henry] When it’s his day, Thierry can score a hat-trick with ease. He’s amazing

2016 02 27 Retrieve

[Robert Pires after announcing his retirement, the last of the 1998 FIFA World Cup™-winning France squad to do so] I’m 42 years old. We must say stop and above all must give way to the young

2016 11 05 Retrieve

[Robert Pires weighs in on his Gunners’ title chances ahead of the North London derby] For me yes, Arsenal are the best in London. Chelsea and Tottenham are strong and the Premier League will be tight this year. I don’t know what will happen at the end of the season but Arsenal can win the title, of course. For me they are a much better team than Tottenham but this season Tottenham have a good opportunity to do well

2017 01 06 Retrieve

[Robert Pires on Silvio Gazzaniga’s FIFA World Cup trophy] It is a moment you never forget; such a great feeling of joy and happiness. It was a magic moment. It’s not that heavy and the design makes it really easy to lift with one hand. What I love about the look is the green colour at the bottom that reminds me of the football pitch. I was very proud to win for my country; especially as it was the first time for France

2019 06 16 Retrieve

[Robert Pires says Paul Pogba should forget about a move to Real Madrid this summer because he has ‘unfinished business’ at Manchester United] My view about Paul Pogba is that he’s a great player, but I also know that last season especially was very difficult for him. A lot of people just talk about the transfer because Manchester United spent a lot of money. So maybe that was difficult for him to handle, particularly at the beginning. But for me, the most important thing is for him to continue at United. It is one of the best and biggest clubs in the world - and he has unfinished business.

The reason United spent such a huge amount of money on him is that they believed a lot in Paul because he can be a real leader for their team. When the club spend a lot of money like this for you, it’s because they have faith in you. That’s why it’s very important to have this point in your head. I know Paul is very intelligent about this. They have invested a lot in him, so I believe it’s very important that he stays at United and delivers what they know he can produce.

I know Madrid and Zidane want Paul and that may be hard for him to resist. United will play in the Europa League next season and every player wants to play in the Champions League. Maybe Paul wants to win this competition with Madrid. But I think he has football to play in the Premier League

2019 06 17 Retrieve

[Robert Pires says Arsenal have been warned that their supposed £40 million ($50m) summer transfer budget isn’t enough] I read that Arsenal have a small envelope for transfers, only £40m. My opinion is that it isn’t enough. If you want to build a good team, you need to spend a lot of money, especially in the Premier League. I respect Arsenal’s position and the owner, but everybody knows that if you want to win the Premier League, you need to spend a lot of money. All the top clubs want to sign great players, but if you want a great player it costs a lot of money.

After getting his first season out of the way after replacing Arsene Wenger it’s a new era for Arsenal and for Unai. Unfortunately we lost Aaron Ramsey and Danny Welbeck. Maybe we need to rebuild, make a new team, and why not with the young players? I hope some young players come through into the first team. Freddie Ljungberg did very well with the Under-23s and won the league. We have good young players and the right man heading the academy in Per Mertesacker. So maybe the solution, if Arsenal have only £40m, is to bring in some young players and prepare for the future

2019 06 30 Retrieve

[Robert Pires has said Arsenal manager Unai Emery must be given time to build his own side at the Emirates] It is step by step. The manager now is Unai Emery. I think he had a very good season. For a first season, it was very difficult because the people, fans and media compare him with Arsene Wenger. And unfortunately we lost the final [of the Europa League] against Chelsea. But I think he’s a good manager for Arsenal. We need to say: ‘okay, you have the time - maybe you can build the team next season’, and the most important thing is to believe in the manager.

[Ljungberg was appointed as assistant first-team coach earlier this month] I’m very happy for Freddie Ljungberg because he will join the staff with Unai Emery. This is a good decision from Arsenal. He did very well with the Arsenal Under-23s, by winning the title. He knows Arsenal, he knows high level [football], he knows how you can win the title. When I saw the news, I was very happy for Freddie. That’s why I sent a message to him wishing him good luck for the new season. I think Arsenal need an ex-player like him to bring his experience and philosophy to the team

[Ljungberg was previously in charge of the club’s youth sides and Pires hopes the Swede’s promotion will help pave the way for the Gunners’s young talents] Yes, maybe [Ljungberg’s appointment will help]. Because Arsenal have a very good academy. On this point, Ljungberg knows all the young players. Maybe during the pre-season, he will bring two to four players to play with the first team because we’ll have a very good pre-season in America with lots of very great games. So that’s why I think it’s important now to mix players with experience and the young players from the academy. A guy like Ljungberg is like a bridge, a very good bridge

2019 09 20 Retrieve

[Robert Pires claims Thierry Henry deserves a second shot at management and could get that opportunity in the Premier League] I saw Thierry a few weeks ago for the game against Tottenham at the Emirates and he is waiting. He is waiting for something, for the new challenge. Some people say ‘Yeah, but he was a mistake with Monaco’. I say no. When you start like this, like Thierry, if you have only three months it’s so difficult to prove something. And especially at this moment. Monaco were so bad, it was so difficult, they had a lot of injuries

He told me it was a good experience with Monaco. Unfortunately only three months. But he’s ready. He’s ready for the new job and he’s waiting for something. I think he deserves to have a second chance, maybe in the Premier League

[While backing Henry to get back into management, Pires says that is not a move he is considering any time soon] For the moment, no. It’s not in my plans. I think it’s a great job, a fantastic job. but it’s so difficult, so hard every day with the players, with the fans, with the media, with the owner. For the moment I’m involved with Arsenal, like an ambassador, and believe me it’s more relaxing and more quiet. For me it’s perfect. I love Arsenal, I’m open to work with the first team, with Unai Emery maybe one day but for the moment it’s not in the Arsenal plans and I respect the decision

2019 11 23 Retrieve

[Robert Pires urges Unai Emery to bring in homegrown talent] The team needs so many ingredients in the squad. Physical, technical, some players with intelligence. Of course, we need leadership - and we need English players. We need English players because we are in England and nobody else has grown up with this mentality. You need to be born here. It’s very nice when you get to discover new countries but for me when you play in England you need English players. It’s a different time. But I used to play with David Seaman, Lee Dixon, Tony Adams, Martin Keown, Ashley Cole, Ray Parlour … We’re talking about six English players in the team. We need similar players. Of course I respect the Arsenal philosophy but we are in the Premier League and it’s so tough every weekend

[Pires sympathises with the manager’s current plight and insists he can still turn fortunes around between now and May] My problem is I am always confident and optimistic when I talk about Arsenal. This team has such quality. The squad can improve this situation. The most important thing now is that Unai Emery needs to talk to the group to try to find a solution together. I hope they can, for the players, for the club, for the manager. I know he is having trouble. Unai is a good guy. He is a nice person. He is a good manager. He is under pressure, unfortunately. Fans can’t always appreciate the details of the situation but to be a manager is very difficult, especially when you work in the Premier League. You can be a manager in Spain, France or Italy but when you come to England the intensity is totally different. It is about the fight, the spirit. The intensity is extremely difficult

2019 11 24 Retrieve

[Robert Pires says Arsenal in big trouble but Unai Emery can secure top four finish] Everybody knows at Arsenal, even Unai Emery, that they are in big trouble. But [Emery] is a competitor, he knows the high level. He was a great manager with Sevilla, with Paris Saint-Germain, but the situation is not so good. He is a good manager, I think he will make a success with Arsenal. I hope for him anyway. The situation isn’t so good, but him and the players need to find the solution

The target for Arsenal and for Unai is to finish in the top four because it’s very important for Arsenal to play again in the Champions League next season. I don’t know what will happen at the end of the season, especially for Arsenal. For some players - Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Lacazette, or even Mesut Ozil - the first thing for them and all the Arsenal players is to finish in the top four

I think it’s great news for football generally, and of course for the Premier League. Everyone knows that Mourinho is one of the best managers in the world. He won lots of titles: Spain, Italy, and of course in the UK. In the UK, we know there is competition between Spurs and Gunners, but this is football and I’m very sad for Mauricio Pochettino. He is a great manager, only six months ago he got to the final of the Champions League. Unfortunately for him he lost against Liverpool and now he is sacked. So footballers or even the manager, things are tough

2019 11 30 Retrieve

[Robert Pires hopes France are paired with a reinvigorated and motivated England in the Euro 2020 group stage] What’s for sure is that we’re going to draw a big team because unfortunately we’re in Pot 2. Which one I would like to play against? France-England would be nice. I think that we’re strong but the English are having a renaissance and Southgate has built a good team, quite young, with a bit of experience and they can be a good surprise during the next Euros. And as you know the final is in London so they will be motivated

[One team Pires is eager for France to avoid is Spain, who qualified for the competition with an unbeaten record that sets them out among the favourites] The team to avoid is always Spain. They remain very strong, they’re very skilled and they cause problems to us every time

2019 12 02 Retrieve

[Robert Pires says Arsenal continue to look sick] This was a complicated and difficult game, stressful even sometimes. The bottom line is that the team is still sick. Freddie or someone else, they are going to have to find the right medicine. They are going to have to be patient but this is a little bit what has been happening since the start of the season. We are weak, we are not calm. When you are lacking confidence, you take less responsibility. You try fewer things. I think going forward things look very good, but defensively, and Freddie knows this, with Per (Mertesacker), a lot of work is required

2020 01 31 Retrieve

[Robert Pires says Liverpool will win title unbeaten, but Arsenal ‘Invincibles’ had it tougher] Yes, because they have everything going for them: the team, the results, the luck, the coach […] I think there are a lot of people who will agree.

Considering how they have been playing for some time, I can’t see who would trouble them. Even Manchester City […] when I look at the match against City [a 3-1 win for Liverpool at Anfield in November], there is too big a difference.

It’s how they all defend. They play in a 4-3-3 and as soon as they lose the ball, especially in the middle, they are strong, physical. I thought they would have a little drop in speed because they don’t stop playing and they keep travelling. After Boxing Day, I thought they would fall apart anyway, and no the guys are still there physically.

Today, technically the Premier League has dipped a little. It’s a bit of an observation people make here. When you see the squads of Manchester United, Chelsea, Tottenham or Arsenal, it’s not as strong as it was a few years ago. The only ones who can trouble them are Manchester City. They will be champions by going unbeaten, but they can also beat our record. Everything has changed today. People will compare, but I think it was much, much harder in our time.

As I said before, technically, many teams, particularly the big ones, have gone down a notch. There were no cameras, no VAR. When the guys wanted to get stuck in […] And, above all, when you played away. I remember the matches at Leeds United, Blackburn Rovers, Bolton Wanderers […] you had to get used to them

[The former France star thinks the Gunners of old had more individual quality] I think we’re quite close, fairly similar in terms of players, but not in terms of tactics since we were playing in a traditional, very old-fashioned 4-4-2. But physically and technically, I think we’re very similar. They, like us, have several players capable of making a difference, not only one or two. That’s the strong point. Sadio Mane is Pires! [Roberto] Firmino is Thierry Henry. Again, I don’t think anyone can match Thierry Henry, even though Firmino is very good. Titi is too far ahead. That’s why I would have liked to see a Virgil van Dijk-Thierry Henry duel. It would have been really interesting. Henderson […] no, Pat Vieira is stronger, I’m sorry. Gilberto Silva, too

[Pires says Liverpool’s acid test will come when their own run without defeat is ended] You win, you win, you win - there’s no problem. You feel euphoric, invincible, which is normal. But when you lose, it’s a real blow. You’re not used to it. Psychologically, you take a hit, and you have to be careful afterwards. They’ve been telling you for months that you’re invincible, that you’re the best team, and it can be brutal when that stops

2020 03 01 Retrieve

[Robert Pires says Aston Villa star Jack Grealish reminds him of his former Arsenal team-mate Dennis Bergkamp - and thinks Manchester City should try and sign him] Jack is a great footballer with a good technique - and I love watching him play because he reminds me of Dennis Bergkamp. I like to see him playing in the same position as Dennis, as a No.10. He has great vision, he isn’t a selfish player because he always wants to do what is best for the team, and I think he has a great future. I don’t want to put too much pressure on Jack, because he is still a young player learning the game, and Dennis was an incredible talent and a champion. But Grealish is a very complete player and I think the key for him is to keep playing like he enjoys his football

City need to find a replacement for Silva next season - and I think Grealish is someone who Pep will look at. He is English, he has good experience of the Premier League, and he has great technique. But I think Grealish is a player who would interest a lot of top clubs, like United, Chelsea and Arsenal. This has been a tough season for Villa, but I think Grealish will take a lot from it. He has learned how to fight every weekend and we have all seen how much it means to him to play for the club. Playing against Man City at Wembley is a great stage for Jack. But not just him. This is a chance for Villa to win a big trophy and that would have a big effect on the rest of their season

2020 06 03 Retrieve

[Arsenal legend Robert Pires reveals he wants to become a manager] There are some who have made the decision to be a coach or sports director or to be a consultant. I took this route and it allows me to still be in football. But, I think coaching is a good job, even if it’s hard on a daily basis. I think that in the years to come, I will decide to take the coaching diplomas. And I plan to do it in Spain. I can’t say which team I’m going to coach. Honestly, I can’t choose. You can’t know where you’re going when you’re a coach. Let me give you the example of Sabri Lamouchi, who is very happy in the Championship, in Nottingham Forest. The coach puts himself on the market, and then he analyzes according to the proposals he receives. I could tell you that I’m going to train Arsenal, Metz, Reims, Marseille or Villarreal, but no I can’t. Today is complicated