Exclusive | Robert Pirès: “Gary Neville was the most difficult defender I ever faced.”

We sat down with Arsenal and French international legend Robert Pirès for a quick-fire interview.

Who is the best player you’ve played with and why?

I’ve been lucky enough to have played with many great players. Zinedine Zidane, Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp, Patrick Vieira, I could go on. It’s impossible to choose just one!

What was the best moment of your career?

I won many trophies, won many important games so it’s hard to pick just one. Obviously, winning the Euros and the World Cup and being part of the Invincibles was amazing.

What is your favourite goal you scored?

My best goal has to be the one against Villa, I knocked the ball over the defender and shot over the keeper. Whenever I re-watch it, I smile.

Which player were you closest to in any of the dressing rooms you were a part of?

Throughout my career, I had great relationships with all players that I played with wherever I played. I still keep in touch with them and I often see them at Legends games as well. It’s great when we get together and talk about all the great memories we shared together.

Who did you look up to when you were younger?

My biggest inspiration in life is my father, he has always been my role model and driving force. He helped me a lot.

I’m sure many people would love to see you as a manager, would you consider it?

I don’t really want to be a manager. I love being in the dressing room and up close, however, I really enjoy scouting fresh, young and upcoming talent.

At what age did you start playing football?

I don’t know exactly, however, I’ve loved playing since a very young age. I’ve always had a ball at my feet.

Is there any person in particular who helped you throughout your career?

As I said, my father had a huge influence on me as a person and as a player but apart from that, Arsène Wenger gave me a breakthrough in the English game. He was a big help!

Who was the trickiest defender to beat?

Gary Neville! We always had great battles in the Man Utd v Arsenal game. The rivalry in that match was huge and we had tough games against each other.

Which player, playing now, would you like to play with?

There are many great players today. I like many, Ronaldo, Messi, Neymar are all great. At Arsenal, I love Sanchez, Özil, Cazorla and many others.

What was your favourite game you played in and why?

My debut for France was amazing. To represent your country is a great feeling and something I am still proud of today.

If you could play for any Italian team, which would it be and why?

I’ve never really thought about it to be honest, but if I had to choose, it would be Milan or Juventus; they are the big clubs.

How does it feel to be an icon on FIFA 18?

It’s great to be on FIFA 18, my children can now play as me which is really cool. There are some really iconic players on the game, like the Brazilian Ronaldo, Diego Maradona, Péle and Paolo Maldini. There are many others also.

What were your impressions of football in India?

India was a great experience; it’s a beautiful country and I learnt a lot over there. Hopefully I helped the game develop over there also, with the work I’ve done.



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