A member of the unbeaten Arsenal FC team of the 2003/04 English Premier League season, Robert Emmanuel Pires was also a World Cup and European Championship winner with the French national team. Voted by the Arsenal fans as the club’s sixth greatest player in history, we take a look at some of the best quotes about Robert Pires.
Playing mainly in the left wing position, as well as in an attacking midfield role, he was a six season success at Highbury with two Premier League and two FA Cup titles, as well as the most assists in a season.
Playing for FC Metz at the start of his career, he moved to Arsenal in 2000 with over 220 league games already under his belt. After a slow start he became an influential member of the team, netting the winning goal in the 2003 FA Cup final amongst other highlights.
He scored 14 times in the unbeaten League run combining well with French team-mate Thierry Henry, and ended up with 62 strikes in 189 matches before going on to appear for Villarreal, Aston Villa, and Indian Super League side, FC Goa.
Apart from the World Cup and Euros success, Pires also competed in the French team that won both the Confederations Cup competitions in 2001 and 2003. His tally for France saw 14 goals in 79 internationals.
After retiring, he was welcomed back to Arsenal FC as a first team coach.
“…..you can see the class he has. If he has got two or three people on him he is still comfortable on the ball…..He has been a great player and he is going to be a great asset to the team – especially the young players…..He is an ultimate professional.”
Shane Lowry (Aston Villa player)
“For all the younger players – what a tremendous addition…..The younger players can only learn from watching a guy like Robert on the training field.”
Gary McAllister (Aston Villa assistant manager)
“He will gain respect. But I am sure Robert Pires isn’t coming here just to be a player that everyone is going to stand back and admire…..He will want to gain the respect…..he is a fantastic trainer…..he loves to practise, he loves to play.”
“At any age you can improve…..”
Gerard Houllier (Aston Villa manager)
“…..he is one of the good players for Arsenal before…..He’s always played good and he just won everything.”
Jeff Reine-Adelaide (Arsenal player)
“He’s a player everyone would look up to because of what he has achieved.”
“He is not only a great footballer but a good man…..the dedication, determination and passion he has shown…..”
“He has to be free and that is a reality at Arsenal…..He is free in his life and on the pitch.”
Nathalie Pires (wife)
“We knew Robert had talent, but the Premiership has made him take on a new dimension…..Robert has shown proof of his intelligence. Technically, he was always there, but his game has become more direct. You feel that he has become liberated on and off the pitch. He is giving everything he has…..When you have technique like his, you know you can come out of things well anywhere on the field.”
“Pires symbolises the values, and the qualities of the French team…..Pires had fantastic qualities both in left, and right of midfield.”
Roger Lemerre (France coach)
“…..I believe that with his technical quality, his intelligence and his vision…..he has taken advantage of a different style in Spain.”
“He’s unbelievable. He’s got class written all over him.”