He currently spends his time on Premier League touchlines and occasionally inflicts considerable pain on his former club, but Patrick Vieira’s legendary status at Arsenal has long been gold-plated.
The Frenchman, whose unique playing style means he is regarded as one of the most fearsome competitors ever to grace the English game, is widely known for his role in guiding a sensational Gunners squad to seven major trophies in nine years, while he also enjoyed tremendous success with France at various international tournaments.
However, celebrations will instead take place off the pitch this week as our former captain observes his 46th birthday and, to mark the occasion, we will take a trip down memory lane and reflect on the best experiences of his illustrious career in north London.
Remembering the great Patrick Vieira’s five best moments in an Arsenal shirt
From an infamous feud and the honour of captaincy to writing his name in the domestic record books, here are five of Vieira’s greatest Arsenal moments.
#5 A bitter rivalry with Roy Keane
Their respective sides ruled the roost of English football for eight years and fostered a deep mutual hatred that regularly bubbled over in the heat of battle, but no two figures epitomised the palpable intensity of Arsenal/Man United clashes quite like Vieira and his old nemesis Roy Keane.
The captains’ combined competitive spirit sparked many fiery on-field confrontations between them around the turn of the century, including a flashpoint during an early-season encounter in 1999 and the brawl that ensued after the Frenchman’s dismissal at Old Trafford in 2004.
However, the pair’s most iconic dispute occurred in the Highbury tunnel the next season when Keane reacted angrily to Vieira “shouting his mouth off” and warned that he would see him out on the pitch before referee Graham Poll intervened.
They shared an enmity that made for a riveting watch and added an extra layer of intrigue to some of the league’s best title fights. It is just a pity that we did not come out on top more often.
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