Patrick Vieira


When a large and gangly Frenchman signed for Arsenal in 1996, few were predicting just what an enormous influence he would have on the North London club.

Nine years later, he moved on to Juventus having secured his place as a club legend for the Gunners.

Vieira used his physical attributes – pace, power, height and strength – to huge effect in Arsenal's midfield. He could create chances, stop opposition raids, head, dribble and pass. In fact, about the only thing he couldn't do was score more than a handful of goals.

Not that this mattered. With Vieira in their midfield, the Gunners were a huge Premiership force. In his time at the club, Arsenal won three League titles – including one season when they went unbeaten throughout – and four FA Cups. His robust style was the perfect foil for Arsenal's more aesthetically pleasing passers and movers and his clashes with fellow midfield enforcer Roy Keane of Manchester United were titanic.

For France, Vieira was equally influential. In a 107-cap career, he helped Les Bleus to victory in the 1998 World Cup and the European Championships two years later.

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Patrick Vieira

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