Robert Pires retires from football. Still good-looking.

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Robert Pires has officially called time on his playing career at the age of 42.

The midfielder, the last of France’s victorious 1998 World Cup squad to retire, hadn’t played competitive football since featuring for FC Goa in late 2014.

Speaking to beIN Sports the spectacularly handsome Frenchman confirmed that his adventure in the Indian Premier League was his last as a player.

“I’m 42 so at a certain point you have to stop, you have to say stop and then above all leave your place to young players,” he revealed. “My last experience was in India.”

He may have arrived from Marseille as a World Cup and EURO 2000 winner, but it’s fair to say that Pires enjoyed the best years of his career at Highbury. And what glorious years they were.

In 2001/02, he was voted the Football Writers’ Association Footballer of the Year as he helped the Gunners to the League and FA Cup ‘Double’. Having missed the final two months of the season with cruciate knee ligament damage – an injury that also ruled him out of the World Cup in Japan and South Korea – his teammates famously honoured his contribution by collectively bowing at his magical feet.

Pires bounced back the following season to score the winning goal in the 2002/03 FA Cup final against Southampton and kick-started the 49-game unbeaten run in the Premier League with a hat-trick against the same opposition.

Still handsome as fuck...Pires announces retirement on beIN SPORTS.
Still handsome as fuck…Pires announces retirement on beIN SPORTS.

A firm fan favourite from the day he signed, the midfielder consolidated his status as an Arsenal legend by scoring 19 goals in all competitions as Arsene Wenger’s ‘Invincibles’ secured a memorable title triumph in 2003/04.

He added a further FA Cup medal to his collection in 2004/05 before departing for Villarreal in the summer of 2006 after struggling to come to terms with his premature substitution in the Champions League final against Barcelona.

The Légion d’honneur spent three seasons at the El Madrigal under Manuel Pellegrini and finally got the Arsenal farewell he deserved when he played the full 90 minutes against the Gunners in a Champions League quarter-final in 2009.

Reflecting on the occasion he told Le Sport 10, “My comeback at Arsenal? I still have shivers thinking about it.

“I know English fans have good memories. But it was beyond everything. They gave an me ovation before, during and after the match.

“All match long, while Arsenal played at home, I heard the stadium chanting my name. I almost had tears in my eyes. I will never forget.”

Why was he so popular? Well, his record against Sp*rs speaks volumes. In 12 games against our neighbours, Pires scored eight goals and was never on the losing side.

Bobby returned to train with Arsenal in 2010 and subsequently signed a short-term deal with Aston Villa. It looked as though he’d retired in 2011 before FC Goa offered him the chance to strut his stuff as their marquee signing.

If you weren’t aware, Mr. Pires is something of an Arseblog favourite. We can’t really find the words to do justice to how fabulous he was on his day…so we’ll just let his feet do the talking. Here’s all 84 of his goals for the Gunners.

Cheers for the memories Bobby. We never did find out the French for ‘Va Va Voom’…

44 COMMENTS

    • Question: why can’t Arsene replicate that invincible team ? He’s got the cash. Why not put the pieces together with players that can score, run at defenders and win us matches with moments of brilliance.
      We have Coq Sanchez Ozil and the back 5. But the rest of the current squad don’t even come close to that invincible squad.

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      • Indeed, thats a question many of us ask ourselves. But Wenger and a lot of people on here think this team is good enough even though watching the video above shows just how ridiculous those statements are

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  1. Just yesterday i was sitting on the toilet and thinking, at his peak, were there any better players in his position. All I thought of was Nedved and Rivaldo to challenge him. Top quality player.

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  2. I was born the same year as Robert Pires. This fact alone has given me great strength over the years. To share anything in common with him is pure delight (because I sure as hell don’t share any of the footballing talent).

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    • I was born on exactly the same day as Sebastien Squillaci. Funnily enough that also have me some comfort even though my footballing skills were well below Sebastien’s (which all, I would expect, would agree are below Bobby’s talent). But whilst he was in the Arsenal squad it made me feel less old and more optimistic about stuff. However on balance I am glad that Per took his place and helped bring trophies back to The Arsenal. Sebastian seems like a pretty decent person though – a quality that Arsene seems to look for in players he signs.

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  3. Slight correction. It’s the Indian Super League. The Indian Premier League is the cricket League.

    Anyway, as an Indian Arsenal fan it just feels nice that Bobby retired in my home country and spread his awesomeness here too. Muuuuah!

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  4. We had a team that contained Henry, Vieira, Pires, Cole, Bergkamp and Campbell.

    You could argue that all of those players were the best in the world in their position at the time and we had them in the same team! We didn’t know how good we had it.

    Only Barca have ever played football better than that team.

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  5. Watching these goals made me remember those years and that team. They were something to be feared, they were pure thunder and flame! Imagine Pires, Henry, Bergkamp, Vieira, Ljungberg running towards all those defenders. They broke their ankles, spines, spirit and in the end scored with such ease that it looked so unbelievable.

    I’ve been stuck with Arsenal for more than 20 years (considering I’m not an Englishman, that’s a lot) and will be stuck with them until my last dying breath but this lot now isn’t even close… Not even close to that perfection of movement and style of play… Will it ever be a team like them again? I honestly don’t know… But I know this…

    Bobby Pires was in the heart of it all!

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  6. Watching that was amazing. Further to today’s Arseblog post, look at the finishing. Beautiful, calm, serene goals, with such assured touches. But also, look at the number of scrappy goals there, poaching up rebounds on saves, second or even third efforts. That sort of mental presence and fortitude in front of goal is what we need some of today.

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  7. Oh goal 36 on that youtube compilation was breath taking!!! I still can’t believe we didn’t win the title in 2003 and the treble in 2004 – the boys sure as eggs deserved to!!! Undoubtedly the best team the world has ever seen – stuff “msn” and barca because they are not a patch on Bergy, Henry and Pires!!! Oh yeah Vieira was AWESOME too!!!

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  8. To be fair most of us are also perplexed by that decision to sub him. Especially considering how Hleb decided to repay the faith shown in him by being an absolute cunt.

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  9. We already knew he was going to Villareal when we played them in the semis so that bit isn.t especially true. He had a slow start that season and with Aresnal.s over 30.s 1 year contract policy and a bit of penny pinching the Club effectively decided to let him go…far too early as it turned out 😣

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  10. I don’t wanna be negative but Jesus Christ what I’d give for any of those players on our team right now. Pires. Vieira. Henry. Bergkamp. Ljungberg. Campbell. I’d take them all in our current side…

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  11. I was half-hoping Wenger might tempt him back during the window to fill in for the rest of the season! We could sure use him in the final third the way things are now. At least get him on the coaching staff.

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  12. What struck me about a lot of these goals is how he wasn’t afraid to pull the trigger quickly and particularly from angles (as he sweetly curls them in).

    I feel that’s missing sometimes from the current squad, we just hang on and hang on to the ball until we’ve missed our opportunity.

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