Vieira - I was always a leader

Patrick Vieira says he has been so successful because of his natural leadership skills and determination.

The former Arsenal captain won 17 trophies throughout an illustrious playing career, including seven major honours during an unforgettable nine years in north London.

Vieira captained Cannes at the age of 19 and says that experience helped him become the player he was at Arsenal.

"The reason I’ve been really successful is because I’ve got this desire inside of me, this determination"

Patrick Vieira

“When I got to France and was about 14 or 15, I had the chance to realise that I could be playing for a club as my job and I wasn’t that bad at football,” he told Arsenal Player. “I went to Cannes and I knew I had made the right choice because I enjoyed my time there.

“The manager saw me as a leader not because of the way I talked, but the way I behaved on the pitch. I always had that inside me, even when I was young. That was a part of my game and I think the reason I’ve been really successful is because I’ve got this desire inside of me, this determination.”

After impressing for Cannes, Vieira continued his rapid development at AC Milan, where he played alongside the likes of Marco van Basten, Paolo Maldini and Franco Baresi.

“It was unbelievable,” he said. “I felt like a kid to play with Alessandro Costacurta, Roberto Baggio and George Weah. I was looking around in the dressing room and I said, ‘What am I doing here?’.

“Capello was the manager and when he was doing his tactical training, I was always going behind Marcel Desailly or Demetrio Albertini, so I learned my movement on the pitch from them. I spent a year there and I left because I wanted to be part of the France 1998 World Cup team and I needed to play.

“At that time Ajax were one of the best teams around and I was quite interested, but we were talking for four days and the deal didn’t happen. Arsene called me telling me he’d be in charge of Arsenal if I wanted to go. I didn’t know anything about England or anything about Arsenal, but I knew a lot about Arsene and his reputation, so I went straight away.

“I didn’t know where I was going, I just knew it was in England. I knew it was in London but I didn’t know a lot about Arsenal. Seeing the big-name players around, it was completely different. The language was difficult, the culture was completely different, the game I knew was completely different.

“I had to prove everything because I was coming from Milan and nobody knew me. I was a young talent who hadn’t done anything, so I had it all to prove and all to do.”


More quizzes coming soon!

See Full List

Fixtures & Results

Premier League
Ticket Info