Friday, August 26, 2011

Patrick Vieira

Premier League Legends - Patrick Vieira

Patrick Vieira (born 23 June 1976 in Dakar, Senegal) is a retired French footballer of Senegalese descent who is the Football Development Executive at Manchester City.

He rose to prominence during his time at Arsenal from 1996 to 2005, where he won three Premier League titles – one unbeaten – and four FA Cups, eventually becoming club captain. After leaving Arsenal in 2005, he spent one season at Juventus before joining Internazionale in 2006, following Juventus' relegation for their part in a match-fixing scandal. He has 107 caps for France, and was part of their 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000-winning sides.
In May 2010, Vieira was nominated Goodwill Ambassador of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. He announced his retirement from professional football on 14 July 2011. Vieira is currently Football Development Executive at Manchester with a role to oversee aspects such as youth development, commercial partners and the club's social responsibility programme, "City in the Community".
Vieira's family moved from Senegal to Dreux when he was eight, and he did not return to Senegal until 2003. His parents divorced when Vieira was young, and he never met his father again. His grandfather served in the French Army, making him eligible for French nationality at birth. Vieira's mother is from Cape Verde, which is actually her maiden name, a Portuguese surname. Vieira first played for Cannes, where he made his debut at the age of 17 and captained the team aged just 19. In summer 1995, he was signed by Italian giants AC Milan, though he played mainly in the reserves and made only two first-team appearances.
In September 1996, the incoming Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger requested Vieira's purchase from Milan prior to taking up his position. Vieira was signed for £3.5 million, a figure which would be deemed a bargain in years to come.His height, stamina and physical strength allowed him to settle into the English game quickly, while his composure and the quality of his passing cemented his position as an integral part of Wenger's stylish attacking side. Forming a powerful midfield partnership with French compatriot Emmanuel Petit, Vieira won the Premiership and FA Cup Double in 1998, his first full season at the club. That summer, he was called up to France's 1998 World Cup squad.

Vieira's early years at Arsenal were beset by disciplinary problems. In the 2000–01 season, he was sent off twice in two consecutive matches (the opening matches of the season), though after returning he did not receive another card for 28 matches. In all, he has been sent off twelve times in his career: nine times with Arsenal and once each with Juventus, France and Internazionale.
Vieira would go on to win Euro 2000 with France, as well as a second Double with Arsenal in 2002. He also played in the 2000 UEFA Cup Final. Arsenal lost the Final to Turkish side Galatasaray on penalties, with Vieira missing his. After Tony Adams's retirement in 2002, Vieira (already vice-captain) became club captain, since which his disciplinary problems cooled significantly. Though he missed Arsenal's 2003 FA Cup Final win with injury and therefore did not qualify for a winner's medal, Vieira lifted the trophy jointly with captain for the day David Seaman.

In 2003–04 at Arsenal, he captained the side on an historic unbeaten season in the Premier League. At the beginning of this campaign he was in and out of the side because of a hamstring injury, with Ray Parlour replacing him in the side. However, Vieira returned for the Champions League match against Lokomotiv Moscow, with the Gunners winning 2–0 and qualifying for the 1st Knockout round.
Following Real's unsuccessful approach, Vieira remained Arsenal's captain for the 2004–05 season, during which the club broke Nottingham Forest's record for the number of games unbeaten in the Premiership. Vieira made a solid start to the season but was not in sparkling form. Arsenal had passed the record and were 49 games unbeaten and were 1st with 25 points from a possible 27. They were 49 and out when they lost to Manchester United, Vieira's and Arsenal's form decreased with draws against relegation candidates Southampton, Crystal Palace and West Brom which saw them fall to 2nd.
Vieira scored his first goal of the season in a topsy-turvy North London derby which Arsenal won 5–4. Vieira scored his second goal of the season in vain as Arsenal lost to a weakened Liverpool. Chelsea were starting to sail away with the title and Arsenal were struggling to keep up with Chelsea despite a creditable 2–2 draw with the league leaders. Arsenal then suffered a 2–0 defeat at the hands of Bolton before Manchester United completed the double over Arsenal with a 4–2 win at Highbury in which Vieira scored the opening goal. Before this game started, Vieira had a big confrontation with Manchester United captain Roy Keane, in which Keane confronted him about an incident involving Gary Neville. Arsenal fell to 3rd, but improved to take 2nd ahead of United. Arsenal also finished with impressive home wins against 5th place Liverpool and 4th place Everton with Vieira scoring against Everton in a massive 7–0 win.

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