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Top facts about Robert Pires, Le Canard

Mon 02 May 2022 | 13:30

During his stint at Arsenal, Robert Pires was actually lauded as one of Arsenal’s best ever signings, possibly second to Thierry Henry. Read on to find out more facts about Robert Pires, legendary French left-winger.

Robert Emmanuel Pires (born October 29, 1973) is a former professional football player and coach in France.

Robert Pires’ age

is 48. Here, you can find the most important facts about Robert Pires, Arsenal legend.

Prior to joining Arsenal, Pires played for French teams Metz and Marseille, winning two FA Cups and two Premier League crowns, including the club's undefeated season in 2003–04.

Pires, a former France international, won 79 appearances for his country between 1996 and 2004, including the 1998 FIFA World Cup and the UEFA Euro 2000.

He was named to the PFA Team of the Year in 2001–02, 2002–03, and 2003–04 seasons, as well as Player of the Tournament in the 2001 FIFA Confederations Cup, FWA Player of the Year in 2001–02, Ligue 1 Young Player of the Year in 1995–96, and inclusion in Pelé's FIFA 100. He was also named the 6th best player in

Arsenal

history by the fans.

An important fact about Robert Pires is that he spent the most of his career as a left winger, although he could also play anywhere in the midfield or as a front line supporter. Pires formerly worked as an Arsenal coach.

Top facts about Robert Pires:

Voted as one of the top ten players in Arsenal’s history, Robert Pires worked as a club ambassador and had an informal role as one of their first-team coaches before moving to Ibiza in 2020 where he worked as a coach for Spanish lower-league side, Pena Deportiva.

Robert Pires early life

Robert Pires was born to a Portuguese father and a Spanish mother in Reims, France. Pires, the older of two boys, spent much of his boyhood wearing two football jerseys, one for each of his two allegiances. The first was a Benfica jersey, and the second was a Real Madrid shirt (his father was a supporter).

Pires said that he struggled in school since he couldn't communicate properly in French at the time because his parents only knew Spanish and Portuguese.

Speaking about

Robert Pires’ parents

, it is worth mentioning that his father, António, was a football fanatic who played for Les Corpo, a local side, and Pires would see him play every Saturday night.

Regarding

Robert Pires’ childhood

, it should be mentioned that he dropped out of school at the age of 15 to pursue his goal of becoming a football player by enrolling in a two-year sports degree program in Reims. Pires stayed with Reims at his mother's request and was ultimately called up four years later.

Robert Pires personal life

An important fact about Robert Pires is that he met his first wife, Nathalie, during his first year at

FC Metz

in 1992. They married for six years before divorcing in 2003.

According to The Daily Mirror, Pires' divorce destroyed him and had a negative impact on his career, interfering with his attention and sleep. He also blamed it for his strange conduct, which included a public brawl with French coach Raymond Domenech in early 2004.

Pires met French model Jessica Lemarie via mutual acquaintances shortly after his divorce from Nathalie. Naia, the couple's first child, was born on August 10, 2005. Lemarie and Pires have now married and have a son called Theo, who was born on July 11, 2007.

Pires joined Grassroot Soccer, an international non-profit that utilizes the power of football to educate, inspire, and organize communities to stem the spread of HIV, as an ambassador on January 17, 2012.

Robert Pires professional career

Robert Pires hung up his boots in 2016 at the age of 42 after a brief spell playing in the Indian Super League with FC Goa, although he hadn’t played professionally since turning out for

Aston Villa

in 2011.

Robert Pires club career

Pires came through the FC Metz junior system and made his professional debut against Lyon in 1993. He scored 43 goals in 162 games and won the Coupe de la Ligue during his six seasons with the club, triggering a £5 million transfer to Olympique de Marseille in 1998.

Pires spent two years in Marseille and had a mixed experience. Marseille missed out on the French league championship by a point in his first season, and they also lost the 1999 UEFA Cup Final against

Parma

.

His second season was marred by a slew of on- and off-field issues, prompting him to boycott the club at the conclusion of the season.

Arsenal

After tough competition from Real Madrid and Juventus, Arsenal bought Pires for £6 million in 2000, replacing Marc Overmars, who had gone for Barcelona for a record £25 million. On August 19, 2000, he made his debut as a substitute against Sunderland.

Pires' form was inconsistent at first, and several chastised him when he said the English game was too violent. However, he gradually regained the form he had displayed at Metz, netting his first goal for Arsenal against Lazio in the 2000–01 Champions League in October 2000.

An important

fact about Robert Pires

is that he scored his first league goal in a 2–1 victory against

West Ham United

a few days later. Pires had a penchant of scoring against Arsenal's rivals Tottenham Hotspur, which he accomplished eight times during his stay at the club.

The first of these occurrences occurred on March 31, 2001, when Arsenal defeated Chelsea 2–0 in a league match.

He scored against Tottenham again a week later, this time the game-winning goal in the FA Cup semi-finals. However, Arsenal went on to lose the Cup final 2–1 to Liverpool, with Pires setting up Freddie Ljungberg for Arsenal's goal.

Pires had thoroughly grasped the English game by 2001–02, and had one of his greatest seasons. Against Middlesbrough and Aston Villa, Pires produced outstanding goals.

Pires raced down a long ball from Freddie Ljungberg, lobbed the ball over the chasing George Boateng, and completed the play with a wonderful lob over Peter Schmeichel against Aston Villa.

Pires also scored in a 1–1 draw at White Hart Lane against Tottenham, which began a run of five consecutive league seasons in which he scored in the North London Derby away against their opponents.

He led the Premier Championship in assists and was named FWA Footballer of the Year and Arsenal's Player of the Season as the Gunners won the league.

When Dennis Bergkamp scored his famous pirouette goal against Newcastle United, Pires assisted him. However, Pires sustained a cruciate ligament injury against the same opponents in the FA Cup a few weeks later (a game in which he had earlier scored). He was also ruled out of the 2002 FA Cup Final and the 2002 World Cup with France due to this.

After a long hiatus, Pires returned to the UEFA Champions League in November 2002 as a replacement against AJ Auxerre.

Pires struggled at first but finally regained his form, scoring 14 Premiership goals in 20 appearances that season, including a hat-trick against Southampton on the season's last day.

His two goals against Fulham, including a last-minute winner, and his goal at White Hart Lane were also highlights. In February 2003, Pires was named Premier League Player of the Month. Pires finished his season by scoring the game-winning goal against Southampton in the FA Cup Final.

He went on to play a key role in Arsenal's pursuit of the Premier League championship in 2003–04, which they won after going undefeated and became the first English top flight team to do it in 115 years.

An important fact about Robert Pires is that he and his Arsenal colleague

Thierry Henry

were key players in that season, scoring a total of 57 goals across all competitions.

Pires had a slow start to the season, scoring only once (against Everton) until October, but a wonder-goal against Liverpool at Anfield kicked off his season.

With goals against Liverpool, Bolton Wanderers, and Leeds United, Pires demonstrated his amazing technique, talents, and finishing to football fans.

Arsenal won the match 2–1, with Vieira's goal serving as a consolation. That day of Premier League activity was pivotal, since Manchester United's failure to defeat Leeds United on the same day gave Arsenal a large lead in the fight for the championship.

For the remainder of the season, Arsenal remained in first position in the standings. Pires beat John Terry to a header in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League quarter-final against Chelsea, resulting in an equaliser for Arsenal after Eiur Gujohnsen had given Chelsea the lead.

Arsenal, on the other hand, were eliminated after losing 1–2 in the return leg, thanks to a Wayne Bridge goal in the 87th minute. Pires also scored against Tottenham Hotspur both at home and away.

Despite this, Arsenal was crowned champion after the match. Pires concluded the season in the Premier League with a total of 14 goals and seven assists. That season, he was Arsenal's second highest scorer (after Thierry Henry) and shared the team lead in assists (with Dennis Bergkamp).

Pires was third in the Premiership goalscorers' standings with 14 goals in the 2004–05 season, behind teammate Thierry Henry and Crystal Palace's Andrew Johnson.

Pires also won his second FA Cup after scoring in the semi-final against Blackburn Rovers and then helping Arsenal defeat

Manchester United

on penalties in the final. In the match, Pires was substituted by Edu in the second half of extra time.

An important

fact about Robert Pires

is that he struggled early in the 2005–06 season, and players like Freddie Ljungberg, José Antonio Reyes, and Alexander Hleb were favoured on both wings.

Despite a bizarre penalty incident with Thierry Henry against Manchester City in which Pires, having scored from the spot earlier in the game, tried passing the ball to Arsenal's star striker, Henry missed the ball and it went down as a penalty miss, Pires' form improved as the season progressed, outscoring his selection rivals overall.

In the league, he scored for the sixth straight season at White Hart Lane (his eighth and last goal against Tottenham) to help Arsenal salvage a 1–1 draw, as well as scoring in the final game at Highbury against Wigan Athletic.

Pires played a key role in Arsenal's 2–0 win against Juventus in the Champions League Quarter Final first leg. Pires successfully tackled Patrick Vieira and delivered the ball to Thierry Henry, who then passed the ball to

Cesc Fàbregas

, who scored Arsenal's opening goal, the first time Pires had beaten Vieira.

Pires played his last game for Arsenal in the UEFA Champions League final, which Arsenal lost 2–1 to Barcelona in Paris. Pires, on the other hand, was replaced after just 18 minutes when goalkeeper Jens Lehmann was sent off and replaced by Manuel Almunia.

Pires wrangled with Arsenal about a new contract during the 2005–06 season, hoping for a new two-year agreement. Pires' contract, which ended in June 2006, was only granted a 12-month extension due to the club's stance respecting players over 30.

Following a month of speculation, Pires accepted an offer from Villarreal in May 2006, after which he and Arsenal beat Villarreal in the Champions League semi-final. Arsenal supporters selected Pires as the club's sixth best player of all time on July 11, 2008.

Villarreal

Pires signed a two-year deal with Spanish club Villarreal in May 2006. He signed on a free transfer, subject to a physical, putting his six-year stint at Arsenal to a close.

Villarreal coach Manuel Pellegrini wanted to recruit Arsenal's Pires or Thierry Henry after Villarreal were ousted in the semi-finals of the 2006 Champions League by Arsenal.

On August 5, 2006, he scored his first goal for the club in a 3–3 pre-season tie with Newcastle United. However, in a friendly match against Cádiz on August 18, 2006, Pires tore the cruciate ligament in his left knee, necessitating corrective surgery and keeping him out of play for seven months on his new club in the Spanish first flight.

When Pires was chosen in Villarreal's squad to play Real Sociedad on March 17, 2007, he eventually recovered from his knee injury and made his first league debut for the club as a second-half replacement.

On his comeback from injury, Pires scored his first league goal in a 3–3 draw away to Real Betis on March 31, 2007. Pires earned his first start for Villarreal against Barcelona on April 22, 2007, after three substitute appearances.

A notable

fact about Robert Pires

is that he scored the first goal in his team's 2–0 victory against league leaders

Barcelona

, avenging his untimely exit in the Champions League Final the previous May.

Pires scored a seventh-minute goal in Villarreal's 4–1 triumph against Osasuna on May 13, 2007, as Villarreal maintained their late-season quest for a European berth. Villarreal climbed from 11th position to the verge of a UEFA Cup berth in only six weeks without him in the lineup.

Villarreal finished the season in fifth place, with Pires playing a key part in the team's late drive, winning each of their last eight games and earning a UEFA Cup berth.

The protracted conflict between Juan Román Riquelme and the Villarreal board of directors dominated the 2007–08 season.

Despite this, Pires' leadership talents helped Villarreal win six of their first eight games. Pires' skill won the Yellow Submarine two penalties against Barcelona at El Madrigal, which were properly converted by captain Marcos Senna.

Villarreal finished second in La Liga behind

Real Madrid

, their greatest league performance ever, defeating Barcelona into third place.

In the 2009 UEFA Champions League quarter-finals, Pires met old club Arsenal, going on as a 70th-minute replacement in the first leg and playing the whole 90 minutes at the Emirates Stadium. Although Villarreal were beaten 4–1 on aggregate, Pires was greeted warmly by Arsenal fans, who shouted his name throughout both matches.

In May 2010, Pires was informed that his contract would not be renewed and that he would have to find a new club over the summer since Villarreal would be "changing their attitude."

Villa Aston

To maintain his condition, Pires went to England and trained in London Colney, Arsenal's training base. Crawley Town of the Conference National reportedly wanted to chat to Pires about joining them for part of the season in October 2010, but the player's representative indicated they were "not aware of any interest" from that club.

Gérard Houllier, the manager of Aston Villa, spoke with officials of Pires on November 16, 2010. On November 18, the 37-year-old midfielder signed a six-month deal with Aston Villa.

On November 21, he made his Premier League debut as a second-half replacement for Villa, but his new team were defeated 2–0 by Blackburn Rovers. Many of Villa's senior players, notably Gabriel Agbonlahor, Stewart Downing, and Shane Lowry, applauded Pires' presence at the club.

On January 29, 2011, Pires scored his first goal for Aston Villa in a 3–1 FA Cup victory against Blackburn Rovers. On February 26, he made his third Premier League appearance, this time against Blackburn Rovers. Sky Sports called his effort in Villa's 4–1 triumph "his most significant" since joining the club.

Pires said in early March that he would want to stay at Aston Villa for the 2011–12 season. Gérard Houllier, Villa's manager, replied favourably to the allegation, but said no decision would be taken until the summer of 2011. However, following the 2010–11 season, he was dismissed by the club on May 27, 2011.

A notable fact about Robert Pires is that he made a guest appearance for Hibernian of the Scottish Premier League in Ian Murray's Testimonial match at Easter Road in September 2011.

India's FC Goa

Pires made a cameo appearance for Premier League Aston Villa in Stiliyan Petrov's Testimonial match at Celtic Park in September 2013. Pires announced his return in July 2014 to promote the introduction of the Indian Super League.

He was signed by FC Goa on September 2, 2014, as their marquee signing. The 40-year-old came out of retirement to play for Goa, one of eight clubs in the newly formed league, and was named captain. Pires made his league debut for Goa in a 2–1 loss against Chennaiyin FC on October 15, 2014.

He received a two-match suspension on October 25, 2014, for disrespecting Atlético de Kolkata manager Antonio López Habas. On November 13, 2014, he scored his maiden league goal in a 4–1 away victory against Delhi Dynamos. Goa freed Pires on March 13, 2015.

A notable fact about Robert Pires is that he announced his retirement from professional football on February 25, 2016. Pires indicated an interest in coaching and was contacted by

Arsène Wenger

. Since 2016, Pires has been working as a football coach with Arsenal's first squad.

Robert Pires international career

A notable fact about Robert Pires is that he was a member of France's World Cup-winning teams in 1998 and 2000, but was forced to miss the 2002 World Cup owing to an injury he acquired while playing for Arsenal. He also competed in the 1996 Olympic Games and the 2004 Euros.

However, a conflict with French national coach Raymond Domenech in late 2004 put an end to Pires' international career.

He has 79 caps for his nation and 14 goals to his credit. At the 2001 Confederations Cup in South Korea/Japan, he was awarded the Golden Ball (for most exceptional football) and the Golden Shoe (for most goals scored).

During his international career, Pires produced two golden goal assists, the first setting up Laurent Blanc against Paraguay in the 1998 World Cup round of 16 and the second sending David Trézéguet with the game-winning pass in the Euro 2000 final. The former was the first Golden Goal in FIFA World Cup history.

Robert Pires legacy

When Robert Pires joined Arsenal in 2000, it was assumed that the team had already been completed. But it was the Frenchman's last touch of elegance that cemented their status as one of the best teams in Premier League history.

A notable fact about Robert Pires is that he arrived late to the offensive that would later become the Invincibles' spearhead. Dennis Bergkamp had been at Arsenal for five years, Freddie Ljungberg for two, and Thierry Henry for roughly 11 months when he came from Marseille in the summer of 2000.

Despite strong interest from Real Madrid and Juventus, Pires was won over to Arsenal's cause by its French connection and the guiding hand of Arsene Wenger, who arrived as a replacement for another gloriously elegant player, Marc Overmars.

Pires provided the final touches to a squad that would go on to reach near-perfection. It was one of the finest additions Wenger would ever make.

When he first arrived in north London, Pires was fresh-faced and shaven apart from a dark chin strip, and he would go on to become an emblem of Arsenal's thriving Francophile culture.

He was a footballing musketeer in the sense that he was dashing, majestic, and lethal in his approach to the game, growing out his hair, sideburns, and moustache to become a sort of d'Artagnan figure.

Pires was a silky finisher who brought a velvety finesse to Arsenal. If Bergkamp was 'The Iceman,' and Henry was a steely presence up front, Pires was a silky finisher who brought a velvety finesse to Arsenal.

He was a luxury, to be sure, but he was also required in Wenger's quest to assemble one of the most aesthetically pleasing sides in Premier League history.

Pires was not constrained by arduous defensive duties in an era before English people freely used the term gegenpressing and high-press football was less fashionable than it is now.

Throughout his time at Arsenal, the club was anchored by a fantastic back five, with Patrick Vieira and, from 2002 onwards, Gilberto Silva tasked with winning the ball back in the midfield.

This gave Pires a free role on the left wing, allowing him to create and finish chances aplenty, while his speed and in-game intelligence were crucial to the Invincibles' deadly counterattacks.

He wasn't a tough tackler or a go-for-broke hero without possession, and he didn't have Bergkamp's vicious streak or needle-like elbows, but his sleek skills, glossy passing, keen vision, and genius brain made him a fan favorite.

Of course, the fact that Pires helped Arsenal win the Premier League title in his second season at Highbury, topping the Premier League assists table and scoring nine goals as the Gunners finished seven points ahead of nearest rivals Liverpool, didn't hurt his fan base.

Despite torning his cruciate ligament in March and missing out on Arsenal's successful cup final against

Chelsea

, he was named Football Writers' Player of the Year and Arsenal's Player of the Season.

During the 2001-02 season, he also scored what many consider to be his career-defining goal, an incredible double lob over George Boateng and Peter Schmeichel that became one of the most famous moments in football commentary.

Though the lob over Schmeichel was undoubtedly Pires' most famous attempt, the one that most embodied him occurred the following season against Southampton.

Pires had steadily built himself back up to top form following his recovery and beginning to excite the supporters again in an otherwise disastrous season in which Arsenal wasted an eight-point lead to lose the championship to Manchester United (even though they did win the FA Cup as a consolation).

He scored a hat-trick against the Saints on the last day of the league season, kicking off an unparalleled 49-match undefeated run.

His third and last goal was classic Pires: an audacious chip from over 30 yards that needed amazing skill and ambition, if not a smidgeon of arrogance, and was celebrated with an unrepentant grin.

The same deceptive touch that had Southampton fooled was evident throughout the Invincibles' season, in which Pires finished second only to Henry in goal scoring.

In all contests, Henry scored 39 points, but Pires added 19 of his own, a number that would have been acceptable in other circumstances for someone leading the line alone.

Pires not only had a knack for scoring stunning goals – his early-season winner against Liverpool, for example – but he also had a knack for scoring against Tottenham in the north London rivalry.

Another cause for the red half of north London to celebrate Pires and the white half to resentfully recall the name was a goal in the 2-2 draw at White Hart Lane that saw Arsenal secure the championship with four games to play.

Arsenal will go unbeaten in the Premier League that season, thanks in large part to Pires' offensive flair and stylistic brilliance. Even if he would win the FA Cup again a year later, it would be the unquestioned apex of his tenure at Highbury.

Unfortunately, his time at the club ended on a low note when he was substituted prematurely in the 2006 Champions League final after Jens Lehmann was sent off. Many Arsenal supporters were disappointed when Pires left for Villarreal not long after.

With six years at the club, numerous honors, and some of the most acclaimed goals ever scored under his belt, Pires was always going to leave an invincible legacy.

Robert Pires social media

Regarding

Robert Pires social media

, it should be mentioned that he has an Instagram page (

@robert_pires07

) with 580k followers. On the page, we can see various pictures of him along with his fans and family.

Robert Pires body measurements

Speaking about

Robert Pires body measurements

, it should be mentioned that the former player is 185cm and 75kg.

Robert Pires net worth and salary

Robert Pires’ net worth

is estimated to be around $14 million, according to Wikipedia, Forbes, and Business Insider.

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