Robert Pires has spoken about his decision to join Arsenal over Real Madrid back in 2000 and it turns out, it was all down to Arsene Wenger.
The boss has been responsible for numerous signings during his 20 years in north London and there are many that stand out, both for good and bad reasons. However, it must feel incredibly rewarding when some of the good ones come out and say that the reason they became a Gunner was because of him.
In recent years, both Mesut Ozil and Granit Xhaka have insisted that the manager was one of their main reasons for joining, putting to bed the notion that Arsene Wenger no longer has any pulling power.
Even before them, Robert Pires insists that Le Professeur was his reason for choosing us over Juventus and Real Madrid.
“At the time Real Madrid, Arsenal and Juventus wanted me,” Pires said to Marca.
“I chose Arsenal because Wenger called me and for a player to be called directly from the coach is a very good sign,” explained Pires.
“They told me I was crazy to reject Madrid, it is what all players want, but I also knew that it would be difficult to get minutes.
“I have a little regret but I stayed at Arsenal for six years and won almost everything.”
Both Juve and Real have been European powerhouses for many, many years. In 2000, the La Liga giants had just won the Champions League while Juve continued to challenge for the Serie A title. For him to choose us over them, especially at that point in time, when Wenger was successful but relatively unknown, is huge.
Saying this, as he said, he went on to win – almost – everything due to his decision.