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Patrick Vieira (born June 23, 1976 in Dakar, Senegal) is a French football midfielder, who currently plays for Juventus. He captained Arsenal and won the World Cup with France in 1998.

Born in Senegal in the Cape Verdian community, Vieira's family moved to Paris when he was aged 8; he did not return to Senegal until 2003. Vieira first played for AS Cannes, where he made his debut at the age of 17 and captained the team aged only 19. Soon after that, in the summer of 1995, he was snapped up by Italian giants AC Milan, though he mainly stayed in the reserves and only made two appearances for the first team.

In September 1996, the incoming Arsenal coach Arsène Wenger asked for him to be bought from AC Milan before he took up his position. Vieira's height, stamina and physical strength meant he settled in England quickly, while his composure and the quality of his passing meant he became an integral part of Wenger's stylish attacking side. While at Arsenal, he made his debut for the French national side, in 1997 against the Netherlands.

Forming a midfield partnership with compatriot Emmanuel Petit, Vieira won the Premiership and FA Cup Double in 1998, his first full season at the club. That summer, he was called up to France's 1998 World Cup squad. Vieira came on as a substitute for Youri Djorkaeff in the final against Brazil, and set up Petit for France's third goal in a 3-0 win.

Vieira's time at Arsenal was beset by disciplinary problems - in 2000-01 he was sent off twice in two consecutive matches, though after returning he didn't accrue a card for 28 matches. In all he has been sent off eleven times in his career (nine for Arsenal, once for Juventus and once for France).

Vieira would go on to win Euro 2000 with France, as well as a second Double with Arsenal in 2002. After Tony Adams's retirement in 2002, Vieira (already vice-captain) became club captain, since which his temper and associated disciplinary problems cooled somewhat. Though he missed Arsenal's 2003 FA Cup final win with injury, Vieira lifted the trophy jointly with captain for the day David Seaman.

In 2003-04 at Arsenal, he captained the side on a historic unbeaten season in the Premier League, and in the 2005 FA Cup Final he scored the winning kick in a penalty shoot-out after a 0-0 draw with Manchester United. In total, Vieira played 407 times for Arsenal and scored 33 times. For France, Vieira has appeared 83 times, scoring four goals as of December 2005.

Vieira's starring performances for Arsenal earned the attention of several major clubs abroad. In the 2003 and 2004 offseasons, he was strongly linked with a move to Spanish superpower Real Madrid. The Spanish side reportedly offered Arsenal £23 million for him, which Arsenal had agreed to, but after much deliberation Vieira decided to stay at the club where he made his name. However, a year later Vieira was finally tempted away from Highbury. Arsenal accepted a bid of €20m (£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.

With Vieira, Juventus coach Fabio Capello hopes to improve a midfield around consisting of Brazilian Emerson and Czech Pavel Nedved.

 

Teams

  • AS Cannes (1993-1995)
  • A.C. Milan (1995-1996)
  • Arsenal F.C. (1996-2005)
  • Juventus (2005)-
  • French national team (since January 1997)
 

Honours

  • FIFA World Cup
    • Appearances: 1998 2002
    • Winner: World Cup 1998
  • European Championship
    • Appearances: 2000 2004
    • Winner: Euro 2000
  • English Premiership titles (3) : 1998 2002 2004
  • English FA Cup (4) : 1998 2002 2003 2005
  • Selected to FIFA 100: 2004
  • Carlsberg Player of the Year : 2004

 

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