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Patrick Vieira

Real name:
Birthdate: N/A
Status: Single

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1 Senior club appearances and goalscounted for the domestic league only andcorrect as of May 25, 2007.2 National team caps and goals correctas of April 16, 2007.* Appearances (Goals)

Vieira's earlier years at Arsenal were beset by disciplinary problems - in 2000-01 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).

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. At the end of this season Vieira was heavily linked with moves to Real Madrid and Chelsea who were reportedly ready to offer around £30 million for his services. Then in the 2005 FA Cup Final he scored the winning kick in a penalty shoot-out with his final kick in Arsenal colours, after a 0-0 draw with Manchester United. In total, Vieira played 407 times for Arsenal and scored 34 times.

In his time at Arsenal, Vieira engaged in many key individual battles to help his team, most notably against his fierce rival Roy Keane who possessed similar qualities to Vieira. The roots of this rivalry were partly due to both players' competitiveness and also the growing rivalry between Arsenal and Manchester United who consistently battled each other for the Premier League title.

Vieira's starring performances for Arsenal earned the attention of several major clubs abroad, as well as an approach from Manchester United. At the close of the 2002-03 and 2003-04 seasons, he was strongly linked with a move to Spanish superpower Real Madrid. It was also reported that despite Arsenal's Premiership and FA Cup victories (in addition to winning the World Cup and European Championship, all before the age of 25), Vieira was frustrated by his club's lack of continental success and the UEFA Champions League was the one honour that eluded him. Viera had considered leaving during Arsenal's trophy drought in 2000 and 2001, and again in 2004 when Arsenal's board opted to continue their policy of scouting for young talent rather than shopping in the transfer market.

Madrid reportedly offered Arsenal £23 million for him, so he could fill the role of the departed Claude Makelele in the holding midfielder position, which was reluctantly accepted. However at the last moment after much deliberation Vieira decided to stay at the club where he made his name. Others suggest that the deal failed because Madrid president Florentino Pérez had refused to pay high wages for defensive players. A year later, Vieira did move away from Highbury. Arsenal accepted a bid of £13.7m from Italian giants Juventus on July 14, 2005, and Vieira agreed a five-year contract with the Serie A side the following day. In his autobiography, he cited the main reason for his leaving Arsenal as the board's "neutral" position over the Juventus bid. One of the reasons for his transfer was also the emergence of teenager Cesc Fàbregas, who had played in place of Vieira when the latter was injured.


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