Robert Pires undertook an extensive interview with FIFA this weekend, detailing his role at Villa Park, his decision to move to the club and what the future holds for the 37-year-old. Some of his quoted suggest that a new contract with the club seems an impossibility and leaving, whether it be to another club or retiring from the game, is a far more realistic option. When asked whether he still trains in the same way as when he was younger, Pires stated:
“I certainly do. I enjoy training as much as ever. The desire is still there. I came here because I wanted the challenge and because I’m a competitor. I am trying to pass on my experience to a relatively young squad.”
On using his extensive experience;
“I am more patient, that’s for sure. I have learnt how to conserve my energy, both in training and in matches. I’m coming to the end of my career and am determined to enjoy myself while I can. A lot of former players have told me they regret giving up at 32 or 33 when they could have carried on, so I have chosen to keep going for as long as I can. I’m prepared for it all to come to an end in May, but if another coach and club come in for me, I will take on another challenge.”
On his decision to join Villa;
I wanted to come back to London or at least somewhere nearby. Arsene Wenger let me train with Arsenal for two months, from September to mid-November, then Gerard Houllier called me and we met up. He spoke to Wenger and I ended up signing for Villa.
On Villa’s struggles this season and his lack of involvement in matches;
It’s been a tough season for the club. It’s never easy when you change coach during the season. Houllier has been trying to get his experience at Liverpool and with French football across and I’m sure we’ll be fine because we are a quality side. I’m not worried. As for me, I’ve mainly played in cup games. That’s been the coach’s call and I have to respect it. But I know why I came to Aston Villa. I knew I wouldn’t get much playing time and that my job was to be a role model for the younger players. I’m fine with that. I wouldn’t have been so happy at 22 or 23 but I’m ok with it now. The club is well run and well respected for its long history and there is a fantastic atmosphere inside Villa Park.
On passing on his experience;
The young guys watch me at training, and ask me for advice on performing at the top of the game, and how to succeed over the course of a career, stuff like that. We chat, but it’s not as if I’m anyone’s shrink. It’s what Gerard Houllier asked me to do, and he made that clear right from the start. Having said that, when I’m on the bench the only thing I want to do is get on the pitch. But I knew what I was getting in to and I know what I’m doing here.
On his plans for next season;
I’m prepared to retire in May if that’s what it comes to, but I am also ready to go wherever an interesting proposition comes from, be it Qatar or the US. I’ve even had an offer from Australia. I’m still playing in the Premier League so I get noticed. People haven’t forgotten about me. Anyway, one thing at a time. I’ll look at that at the end of the season.
On choosing a new club and his current deal at Villa Park;
I never choose a club because of the city it is in. I will look at the sporting challenge as I always have. When people quoted me as saying Philadelphia is ugly after I chose not to sign there, they were talking rubbish. I never said that. I’ve never been there so I would never say such a thing. At Aston Villa I’m paid on a match-by-match basis with a small fixed salary so I didn’t come here for the money.
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