Pirès bringing French flair to Indian Super League
FC Goa have confirmed French superstar Robert Pirès as their marquee signing for the upcoming Hero Indian Super League (ISL). The 40-year-old Pirès is known primarily for his stellar play over six seasons at English giants Arsenal.
Pirès has made a total of 536 appearances at club level across 16 seasons, scoring 120 goals and tallying 42 assists. 274 of those appearances came while at Arsenal. During his spell with the North London club, Pirès won two Premier League titles and three FA Cups as well as earning individual recognition with a Football Writers’ Association Footballer of the Year award in 2002. He was also named in the Professional Footballers’ Association’s Team of the Year for three successive seasons – 2001-02, 2002-03, and 2003-04. The last of these was a famous season for both club and player, as Pirès was an instrumental member of Arsenal’s ‘Invincibles’ squad which went the entire league season unbeaten. The French winger also played for Metz and Marseille in France before moving to Arsenal, and Villareal after leaving the London club, before returning to England for one season with Aston Villa. Pirès was also was a key figure in French national setup, winning the 1998 FIFA World Cup and 2000 UEFA European Championship, along with the FIFA Confederations Cup in 2001 and 2003. He won the Golden Ball in the latter tournament. In all, he has been capped 79 times for his country.
Pirès is the fourth World Cup winner to join the ISL, after David Trezeguet, Alessandro Del Piero, and Joan Capdevila. He is also the third former Arsenal player who will be playing in the league, after Mumbai City FC announced the signings of Nicolas Anelka and marquee player Freddie Ljungberg earlier this week. Pirès, known for his excellent vision and passing range, as well as his dribbling skills and ability to score spectacular goals, bolsters a strong FC Goa squad. The French winger also adds further star power to the Goa club, after Brazilian legend Zico was signed as manager.
Pirès will be arriving in India in the coming days, coming initially to Mumbai before linking up with his new teammates. Delighted Goan fans will soon get to see the dazzling Frenchman add to the rich lore of Goa’s footballing history.