Arsenal legend, Patrick Viera, has been inducted into the Premier League Hall of Fame on Wednesday.
Viera and Manchester United’s legend, Wayne Rooney, became the first two inductees of 2022, with six others expected to join them from a shortlist of 25 former players.
Vieira was a colossal presence in Arsenal’s midfield from 1996 to 2005, dominating matches while scoring 31 goals and providing 34 assists in 307 Premier League appearances as he won the title three times.
“Being inducted into the Premier League Hall of Fame is a fantastic achievement,” Vieira says. “When I received the news, I thought about being a young boy playing in Senegal, or in a suburb of Paris.
“To be there with the best players in the Premier League, the best league in the world, is bigger than what I was ever thinking about. To have my name around those players makes me proud and makes me realise how good I was.
“It’s not bad company to join. I was lucky to play at the same time as some of them, of course including Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp, so to share the stage with them makes me realise I had a really good career.
“What really makes me happy and proud is when your name is mentioned by new, up-and-coming holding midfielders as an example of how they would like to play.”
Combining power, athleticism and tough tackling with pinpoint passing and ruthless finishing, Vieira won the 2000/01 Player of the Season award and established himself as one of the greatest central midfielders of his generation.
He etched his name into the history books in the third of his Premier League Trophy wins, captaining “The Invincibles” as Arsene Wenger’s team won the 2003/04 title without losing a single match.
Vieira finished his Premier League playing career at Manchester City before turning to life off the field. After coaching in the US and France, he was named manager of Crystal Palace last summer.
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