Football FanCast Meets Robert Pires
Having never played for Arsenal at The Emirates Stadium, ex-Gunner Robert Pires was on the sidelines coaching a group of lucky Indesit Football Talent winners on Tuesday. The former French international sat down afterwards with us to talk all things Arsenal, Robin van Persie and France.
Did it feel good to be kitted out in the Arsenal kit once again today?
Yes I am so comfortable in it. I am happy when I wear Arsenal clothes on my heart.
Is there one particular memory that comes to mind when you think of Arsenal?
I have a lot of happy memories, from Highbury. The last game against Wigan because it was a great occasion and the last ever game!
What was it like on the touchline at the Emirates today?
I played here once, against Arsenal for Villarreal, we lost 3-0. The stadium is amazing of course. Being the manager has much more stress, when you are doing this job, I don’t like it. Not for me, we lost the tournament so I am not happy!
Are Arsenal the club that is still in your heart?
Yes of course, I saw every game; I come here every two weeks to watch the games at the stadium. This will always be the club for me.
Last season was an up and down season again for Arsenal, how did you see it?
It was a good season, they win the first place for the Champions League, but the start was bad for Arsenal. At the end of the season, Wenger is happy, the fans are happy, as next season they will once again play for the Champions League so that is the objective always for the club.
Do you think Robin van Persie will still be here next season?
I hope, yes, for Robin, for the fans, for Arsene. Yes I think it is difficult for everyone because they have the meeting tomorrow for the new deal, so when you take a big decision like this it is very hard. But he loves the club!
Arsenal have already signed Lukas Podolski, is that a good signing?
Yes, very good signing, he can play with Van Persie up front normally, but depends on Arsene Wenger. It is good for Podolski to come from the German league to England, he plays for the national team and has some good experience so I think he is a good player for Arsenal.
The invincible Arsenal side of 2003-04 were voted the best ever in the Premier League, what was that like?
It was amazing, unbelievable, when you finish the championship unbeaten that is a very good job. I am very proud.
What are your thoughts on France going into the European Championships this summer; can they do well under Laurent Blanc?
It is possible for them to win, yeah, Laurent Blanc today has a very good team, a very good young team but with the experience of players like Karim Benzema who plays with Real Madrid who won the league and Nasri and Clichy the same with Manchester City so I think you have a good mix. But we do need more spirit to win this competition.
France v Enlgand, prediction?
I am sorry but I will always have to say France, they will win, no Rooney, good news for France.
Jack Wilshere misses out on the Euros, but do you think he has the quality to have a long career at Arsenal?
I think so, for me he is the best English player. It is my opinion so for me I saw Jack Wilshere and he is a very good.
We saw Villarreal relegated at the weekend, what are your thoughts on your former club?
Oh yes very bad news. Firstly I am very sad because I know the chairman and all of the players and at the moment it is very difficult. They start the season in the Champions League, they play against Manchester City and now they are relegated, so it is very difficult yes, because the players are sad.
A former team-mate of yours, Patrick Vieira works at Manchester City, would you like to do something similar?
Not as a manager no, but something like Patrick maybe yes. One day maybe at Arsenal yes. He has a very good job, it is a nice job and he is very happy I know.
Pat Rice of course left Arsenal last weekend, Steve Bould coming in, how will that change things at the club?
It is a very good idea to chose Steve, he played for Arsenal, he knows the club, he knows some young players like Wilshere and Gibbsy so I think it is very good choice. They will miss Pat, sometimes you need to stop though, you need to enjoy the family and life and for me it was a pleasure working with him.
When you had to come off in the Champions League Final when Jens Lehman was red carded, what was your reaction?
I was sad for the defeat. I was only annoyed for five minutes, but that is part of life, part of football and the responsibility is with the referee not Lehman or Wenger. After the action, they scored so play and let’s got for 11 v 11 and get on with the game. It killed me!
Robert Pires, Daniele Massaro and Gianfranco Zola coached winners of the Indesit Football Talents competition which offered football fans across Europe the opportunity to compete at Emirates Stadium. For more information please go towww.indesit.com/weworkyouplay