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Interview: Robert Pirès on life in Goa, Arsenal's form and Manchester United

Pires talks about the only time he has seen Arsene Wenger angry and his thoughts on the Indian Super League.

Arsenal Legends v AC Milan Glorie : News Photo
Pires retired last year as a player

Appearances can be deceptive but at times they also paint the correct picture. Those who considered Robert Pires as a kind and humble man are completely on point.

The former Arsenal winger is in India for a campaign organised by Puma. Here are the excerpts from the interview.

Does Arsene Wenger ever get really angry?

He’s very calm. Sometimes he is quiet. But I’ve seen him angry only once, he was very upset but it was normal. During the Manchester United vs Arsenal game (2001), when we lost 6-1, at half time he was furious. That was the only time I’ve seen him upset.

You played for FC Goa in the ISL. How was the experience in Goa?

In my opinion, Goa is the best area in India. Mumbai is a great city but I think Goa is much better. You have everything (laughs). The beaches and the food are very nice. For me, it was a great experience. I enjoyed playing in India - new country, new people and new fans.

How did Arsene Wenger shape your career?

He’s the boss, decides everything at the club and doesn’t have a secret. He puts a lot of confidence on the players. They’re playing young players in the Carling Cup, I think we have a very good future.

Did you think Arsenal might struggle this season with the likes of Pep Guardiola, Jose Mourinho and Conte coming into the Premier League?

I think it’s very good motivation for Wenger. Of course, he can compete with the other great managers. I think it’s nice for football and the Premier League and also for Arsenal. At the moment, we can’t say anything about the manager because Arsenal are playing well and are winning games.

Your thoughts on the Indian Super League?

I think 3 months is not enough to play football and for a league. The idea to mix Indian and foreign players is good but you need to have a regular league. When you play every 3 days, it gets very difficult for the body to recover. It’s a shame because India has good potential, big stadiums. The fans here love football and are passionate about the game, but 3 months is not enough.

Do you think Wenger is stubborn?

Why is he stubborn? I say no. I know Wenger and he is very important. I remember (during transfer season), everyone asks, ‘why isn’t Arsene spending a lot of money?’ For what? He has a great team. He spent a lot of money on Mustafi and Xhaka and I think it’s enough. Look now, we’re at the top of the league, top in the Champions League group. He’s very clever. This is the difference between Arsenal and Manchester United. They spend a lot of money but look, it’s become very complicated for them, even for my friend Paul Pogba. Sometimes you need to think about the entire team and its future.

Do you want to become a manager?

Me? No. Because it’s not in my plans. I am the ambassador for Arsenal, Puma and I also work for French TV as a pundit in the Champions League. So, my schedule is very full but management I don’t know. It’s one of the best jobs in the world but sometimes it’s very difficult. I spoke to Arsene Wenger about this. He said, when the team wins everyone is happy but when the team loses everybody is upset against the manager. So it’s very difficult. 

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