Patrick Vieira was without a doubt one of the greatest players to ever grace the Premier League. He excelled in his midfield position and caused tons of trouble for the opponent’s defense whilst using his physical strength and tactical awareness to keep the attackers out of the box, he was not a player to be messed with.
The Frenchman has had a very successful career winning the Premier League three times, The FA Cup three times and Serie A four times in a row.
He is most known for his time at Arsenal and the invincibles season where The Gunners went the entire season unbeaten to win the Premier League and to this day they are the only team to receive a golden Premier League trophy.
At international level, Vieira was also triumphant as he won the World Cup and a European Championship with France.
With 249 Premier League appearances to his name Vieira has cemented himself in the Premier League legacy for his ferocious style of play that excites the English fans, it is going to be hard for any player to replicate the mark he left on English football, it would be great to see a player like Vieira in the Premier League once again.
The 43-year old is now managing French side Nice who finished their Ligue 1 season in 5th which is a decent finish for them and I’m sure Patrick will look to build on that and push for the top four.
The fans are not the only people who think highly of him a lot of players and managers can’t help but respect him for what he could do on the pitch and here are what some of them have said about him.
Arsene Wenger – “He is the umbilical cord between the team and the fans.”
Roy Keane – “I don’t think we’ll ever be bosom buddies buying each other a drink in the pub, but out of everybody I ever faced as a player, he drove me to become better.”
Thierry Henry – “Not a lot of players in the history of the game compare to Patrick.”
Martin Keown – “You look at Dennis Bergkamp and you look at Thierry Henry and people say they are great players and rightly so. There are statues of these guys outside the Emirates Stadium, but without Patrick winning the ball and giving it to them they would almost be redundant.
Marcel Desailly – “Two players in one. He has tremendous physique, but also sophisticated technique. And, what is very important for a modern midfielder, he has the goleador [‘goalscorer’] instinct.”
Zlatan Ibrahimovic – “We both had that winners’ mindset… If anyone knew that, it was Patrick Vieira. He’s the type who gives one hundred percent in every situation, and I saw how he boosted the entire team. There aren’t many football players I have that kind of respect for.”
Roberto Mancini – “A player like Patrick isn’t born every year.”
Jamie Carragher – “A monster, his partnership with Emmanuel Petit was as good as anything we have seen. His performance against Liverpool in the 2001 FA Cup final stands out. He was magnificent and didn’t deserve to be on the losing side. In the dressing room afterwards, everyone kept saying: ‘how good was Vieira?’ Steven Gerrard still talks about that game as Vieira made him realise he had to climb a few more levels to reach the top.”
Peter Schmeichel – “I used to look forward to playing him because he made every one of us raise our game. Arsenal had a great side, but I firmly believe without him they would’ve been 25 per cent weaker.”
Paul Merson – “There wasn’t anything he couldn’t do, and he was hard as nails as well.”
Sol Campbell – “He’s a winner. He just oozes that. Everything used to hurt him, but he got through it to get out on the pitch. He would play through anything and it was a real pleasure to play alongside him.”
Mikael Silvestre – “When you have a back four protected by a Vieira, there is little the opposition can do. Patrick brought a dimension and presence. He was a warrior, a box-to-box player.”
Ian Wright – “A leader and natural-born winner. He has everything you could want from a midfielder. He can attack, defend and score goals. He’s brilliant at taking the ball in tight spots in the middle of the park and starting attacks.”
Frank Lampard – “I was young when I played Patrick (and Roy Keane), and they bossed me. I remember I was a young boy, Patrick kept knocking it over my head, he had those really long legs, and I really admired them coming through.”
Tony Adams – “Not only is Patrick a big, strong player, he’s very intelligent and a great reader of the game. An amazing athlete with enormous energy – he covers huge distances over 90 minutes.”
Nigel Winterburn – “He was a fantastic player for Arsenal. If he was playing at that level you’ve got a player who is very, very competitive but is also very skillful and has ability on the ball. That’s what a lot of people didn’t realise about Patrick. He could break up opposition attacks but he was also powerful and skilful enough to then set his own team on a counter-attack.”
David Seaman – “He was like our anchorman. We would say to him ‘Patrick, just sit in front of the back four for two or three minutes, while the opponents add pressure’, and he’d do it and get on with it. Then all of a sudden he’d have this burst of energy, and could score great goals, and became a great Arsenal captain. He did it over a long time, became captain, took over from Tony (Adams), and took it onto another level.”
Phil Thompson – “Vieira was athletic; he dominated that area and then brought goals into his game.”
Cesc Fabregas – “I don’t think a lot of players have done what he has done for this Club. He has been a big inspiration for me.”
Arsene Wenger – “Patrick was a great player for us, one of the greatest in the club’s history and I feel I had a special relationship with him because I made him come here. I think his impact, not only at Arsenal but in English football overall, was just tremendous.”
David Dein – “I talked to Patrick in fluent French and before a game I asked in French, ‘could you speak a little bit of English to me?’. He nodded and said ‘Tottenham are s**t’.”
Editor of Vital Charlton and a passionate Charlton fan. Kieran has been involved in the Charlton press conferences and local newspaper News Shopper and has met with the Charlton manager Lee Bowyer on numerous occasions. He is a regular in the press box on matchdays and also reports on U-23 games.