Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger lavished praise on former player and Gunners legend Robert Pires, as the French tactician stated his compatriot was bound to have a fan following across the globe due to the ‘Indian wisdom’ he possess.
“He played in India, in the Indian championship,” the Gunners manager told Arsenal Player.
Pires, who won the World Cup with France in 1998, joined Arsenal in 2000 and departed a legend after spending five fruitful seasons in North London.
The classy Frenchman, who primarily played as a left winger, won the Premier League (2001-02 and 2003-04) and the (FA Cup 2002-03 and 2004-05) twice. He was also a part of the Gunners side that made a run to the 2006 UEFA Champions League final.
Pires played his part in Arsenal’s ‘Invincibles’ 2003-04 campaign, in which the Gunners created history by becoming the only team in the history of the English top-flight to end a season unbeaten.
“I’m not surprised (they love him) because he has that Indian wisdom in him,” Wenger continued as he added, “He’s a player who came here unknown and we speak about him now as an exceptional footballer because he was an exceptional footballer”.
The 6’2 Frenchman would then move to Villareal for four seasons before moving back to England to play for Aston Villa. The Villains, however, released Pires after a single year at the club and Pires seemingly retired after his second stint in the English top-flight.
However, with the advent of the Indian Super League (ISL), Pires was coaxed out of retirement to play for the newly-formed FC Goa. And while he was unable to get his side to lift the title, the 43-year-old succeeded in raising the profile of football in a country that is predisposed towards cricket.
“Even today, sometimes he trains with us and everybody thinks, when they come out of training, ‘Yes, this guy really was exceptional’. He does good work for us as well as an ambassador because he’s very sociable and welcomes everybody. He gives a very good image of our club,” Wenger enthused.
Pires, who has expressed a desire to become a coach, is currently working under Wenger at Arsenal and is working with the first-team.
The Gunners, who have not won the Premier League since their 2004 triumph, are currently fifth in the league table after an indifferent start.
They take on Swansea at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday evening and will hope to seal their sixth win of the season when the Swans pay them a visit.