Former Arsenal hero Pires aims swipe at Wenger
2009-11-12 - Added by
Villarreal midfielder Robert Pires has taken a swipe at old boss Arsene Wenger by insisting that footballers are not washed up when they reach their 30th birthday.
Pires was one of the most notable casualties of Wenger's strict policy of only awarding players over 30 a one-year contract at the Emirates Stadium.
The dashing D'Artagnan was sold to Spanish side Villarreal at the age of 32 in 2006 after six glorious years in North London where he won two Premier League titles and was a key member of the 'The Invincibles' side in 2003/04.
Pires is enjoying somewhat of a renaissance at the El Madrigal, producing a number of dazzling displays for the Yellow Submarines, and at 36 is proving to critics, and Monsieur Wenger, that he can still mix it with the best.
"When a player reaches 31 or 32 it appears that he will be finished with football, but people who think that are mistaken because one never forgets how to control a ball or beat a keeper," Pires Spanish daily Marca.
"A player is not finished because he is over 30 and those that think that have no clue about football," he added.
Pires has been one of Villarreal's more impressive performers despite their slow start to the season under new coach Ernesto Valverde, and the Frenchman has vowed to carry on playing as long as he is fit and healthy to do so.
"Age, to me, is not important. Every person knows their own body and luckily I have had no injuries this season," he affirmed.
"I know that every year extra is more difficult but while my head is fine my body has responded. I am happy with the way things are going, but I know I cannot carry on playing forever," he acknowledged.
In 2008, Gunners fans voted Pirès as the club's sixth greatest player of all time.