Robert Emmanuel Pires arrived at Arsenal from Marseille in the year 2000, where he gave The Gunners the best six years of his career, winning trophies – and becoming an invincible. [quote_right]”Robert Pires, or “Bobby” as he is more affectionately known, holds the status of an Arsenal legend…”[/quote_right]
Pires was a product of the Metz youth system, and made his senior debut against Lyon in 1993. In 1998, he moved to Marseille for a two-year spell, before hearing about Arsene Wenger’s interest.
Today, Robert Pires, or “Bobby” as he is more affectionately known, holds the status of an Arsenal legend. He made 284 appearances for the club, scoring 84 times, whilst winning 2 Community Shields, 3 FA Cups and 2 Premier League Titles.
Naturally, Robert Pires’ success means that he has had much to say about his Arsenal days, regarding Wenger, Highbury and the Champions League final. So, here are ten of the very best Robert Pires quotes.
[title]1. Because of Wenger[/title]
It’s always interesting to understand the thought process of a player when they decide to join Arsenal. Players from both past and present have always mentioned Wenger as a factor in their decision-making, but Pires’ scenario holds even more weight, as he was faced with a difficult choice between Real Madrid and Arsenal.
[blockquote]”Both Benfica and Madrid wanted to sign me. But Arsenal wanted me too, and I chose London, because of Wenger. I spoke to him lots of times, I knew what he wanted and I knew that I would play. Madrid is a great club, of course, but it’s a club with little stability. Everyone thought I was on my way to Madrid but I didn’t want that.”[/blockquote]
[title]2. Mates, Parties, Girls…[/title]
We were all young once, even Bobby Pires. Aspiring Footballers might find this next quote useful, as it’s not uncommon to find youngsters feel the force of distraction in the forms Pires points out. In the end though, his Mum was right.
[blockquote]”At 15, I wanted to go out with my mates, party, girls… that happens to everyone. Luckily, my mum told me: “You don’t know what you want, it’s football – it’s your dream and it could be a great job.” She was right. [But] it’s not a job. You train twice a day in the sun and earn a lot of money. I always wanted to be a footballer and even now I enjoy it.”[/blockquote]
[title]3. What am I Doing Here?[/title]
Most foreign players are initially surprised by the rough-and-tumble nature of English Football, and Robert Pires was no exception. This next quote gives us a feel of how Pires felt whilst watching his first Premier League game, and also sheds a bit of light n how Wenger used to handle new recruits.
[blockquote]”I remember what Wenger said to me before the first game, away at Sunderland: “I’m going to leave you on the bench and you’re going to see what English football is like.” By the 20th minute I was already thinking, what am I doing here?”[/blockquote]
[title]4. Now that was a Robbery![/title]
Every Arsenal fan in the world knows that the defeat against Manchester United to end the infamous 49 game unbeaten run, was daylight robbery – including Pires. We feel your pain, Bobby. Trust me.
[blockquote]“The 50th game [the defeat to Manchester United], now that was a robbery! Oh yes. Definitely. That was a robbery. Unbelievable. If we had drawn, we’d have carried on for ages. That game hurt, it was hard to take. Against Man United too!”[/blockquote]
[title]5. I’d Have Killed the German![/title]
It’s not often the French get to have a pop at the Germans, so Pires took his chance with this next quote. Following his 18th minute substitution in the Champions League Final, Pires describes his feelings towards both his manager and red-carded Goalkeeper at the time.
[blockquote]”I knew a player had to go off after that red card but I never thought it would be me. When I saw it was my number, it killed me. I didn’t want to kill Wenger, but Jens? Yeah, I’d have killed the German! Bastard! It was the worst moment of my career. When I saw the number I thought, no, no, it can’t be!”[/blockquote]
[title]6. If Only I had Stayed…[/title]
This next quote was hard for me to read actually. When Pires returned to the Emirates Stadium in a Villareal shirt, he heard the crowd sing his name, and his love for Arsenal would have surely been given new life. In this quote, he explains how, at that point, he wishes that he would have stayed at the club. If only.
[blockquote]”It was wonderful. The fans were incredible – they sang before the game, during the game, after the game. Un-be-lievable. There was a moment when I thought – a bit of me, at least – ah, if only I had stayed…”[/blockquote]
[title]7. Cesc is a Good Lad[/title]
Pizza-Gate hit the headlines again recently, after Alex Ferguson mentioned the incident in his Autobiography. There was always a bit of doubt over who threw the Pizza at Fergie’s face, but in this next quote, Pires reveals all. A good lad indeed.
[blockquote]”Yes, it was [Fabregas], but I’m not sure if he tried to hit Ferguson – I think it might have just been bad luck that he got him in the face. Cesc is a good lad. When it hit him in the face there was lots of tension and pressure but in the end of course we laughed.”[/blockquote]
[title]8. I Cried After…[/title]
With this next quote, Robert Pires explains the time he visited the Highbury property development for the first time. The famous stadium has now been turned into Flats overlooking a garden. Pires though, (despite owning one of the flats) doesn’t like it.
[blockquote]”I bought the flat only for the memory. For Highbury. I went one day and I cried after – when I saw the development. Only flats now. Strange. I don’t like it.”[/blockquote]
[title]9. I Had my Doubts[/title]
Once again, Pires tells us how he felt after arriving at Highbury all those years ago. Pundits were writing him off, and he himself was feeling the pressure of his move. Yet, he adapted his game, and earned the respect he eventually received.
[blockquote]”I heard people saying, “Robert Pires is going to England but he won’t succeed because it is so physical and athletic and they’re not his qualities. Being honest, I had my doubts. I never expected to adapt so quickly, but if you are a foreigner it’s up to you to adapt to English football because you can’t change it. I think I’ve achieved something in the way I adapted. I feel on the pitch people respect me a bit more.”[/blockquote]
[title]10. A Manager I will Never Forget[/title]
This next quote also touches on Pires’ most painful day – the Champions League Final. To this day, being subbed off in the 18th minute hurts him, and I can certainly understand why. Yet, despite Wenger’s decision on that day, Robert still has a lot of good to say about his old Gaffer.
[blockquote]”Leaving was the most difficult decision of my career. I thought I would end my career there but, I could see in the final against Barcelona, Wenger had lost his confidence in me. The fact that I was only allowed to play 18 minutes in that final remains painful. I’ll never agree with him that he made the right decision. [But] I don’t feel angry at Arsene Wenger at all. I want to thank him for the confidence he gave me and the titles we won. It’s a little thing which cannot define our relationship. He is a manager I will never forget.”[/blockquote]
So there you have it. Ten of the very best Robert Pires quotes. The Frenchman certainly had his ups and down at Arsenal, with his North London career ending on a note more sour than one would have hoped for. Yet, his successes are there to admire, and his awesome style of play will be engraved in the memories of Arsenal fans forever.
Robert Pires’ quotes above shine some telling light on a few issues. From Fabregas’ involvement in “Pizza-gate”, to his relationship with Arsene Wenger. Overall though, the quotes give you a sense of Pires’ connection to the club, his love for the fans, and his legacy as a player.
What’s your favourite Robert Pires quote? Share it with us in the comments section below.