Wenger helped make up mind on joining ISL: Pires

  • Kushal Phatarpekar, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Sep 24, 2014 02:45 IST

For football fans in India, the mention of Frenchman Robert Pires brings back memories of his heyday at Arsenal. A loved figure at the London club for over seven years, Pires' silken skills never failed to impress.

The Frenchman will soon be seen plying his trade on Indian grounds for his new club - FC Goa - in the Indian Super League (ISL). While clubs might have changed over the years, the connection with the London-based club still seems strong.

In fact, according to Pires, the decision to play in India was taken after consulting Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger. "I have been a regular at Arsenal's practice grounds in the off-season. A few months back when I was approached with an offer to play in India, I spoke to Wenger about it," said the 40-year-old Pires at an event in Mumbai on Tuesday. "He told me don't think too much and just go," Pires added.

A member of Arsenal's 2002-03 Invincibles, Pires has played with the likes of Thierry Henry, Patrick Viera, Fredrik Ljungberg and Dennis Bergkamp. The team went on to win the EPL without losing a game that season.

"It was a magical time. The success was incredible. But that is in the past and I want to make the most of the present," said Pires, who had announced his retirement from professional football in 2011.

And now, it's Virat

Virat Kohli joined Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly at the ISL. Virat has been brought on as co-owner of the FC Goa franchise. "I was looking at future financial options as I know my cricket cannot go on forever. Football is one of the sports I passionately follow and the ISL seemed a perfect fit for me," Virat said.

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