Interview

Pires - Why I chose Arsenal over Real and Juve

Robert Pires is an Arsenal hero now, but back in 2001 he would not been so widely familiar.

The World Cup winner left Marseille for Highbury on this day 17 years ago, but why did Robert pick Arsenal over some of Europe's other elite clubs?

The answer is Arsene Wenger.

"He called me one day, so I was really surprised," Pires told Arsenal Player. "It was very impressive to talk with Arsene Wenger because I’d known him since a long, long time and he said ‘Robert, I know you since you used to play for Metz and now you play for Olympique Marseille, but next season, I need you’. 

"I asked ‘why do you need me?’ He said because Marc Overmars left to Barcelona with Emmanuel Petit, so I think you can replace Overmars on the left flank and I said ‘yes, okay, no problem’. 

"For me, at this moment, I think it was a very good chance and a very good opportunity to play in another country, especially in the UK. Of course, Arsenal is a great club in England so for me it was a very good decision. 

"In 2000, it was very difficult to take the decision because I spoke with Real Madrid, Juventus and of course, with Arsenal. But I took the decision when Arsene Wenger called me."

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