by Lee Hurley

Robert Pires has been speaking to the media in France after the death of Tiburce Darou.

Darou passed away on the early hours of Thursday morning after a long battle with illness and the former Arsenal man spoke to L’Equipe about the trainer who helped him recover from his cruciate knee ligament injury in 2002.

“Tib was trainer for Arsenal but he has also worked in many other disciplines or with many other athletes,” Pires said.

“He had gradually become a friend, in 2002, when we worked together after my ruptured cruciate ligaments of the knee. 

“We were in Saint-Raphael rehabilitation and always together for five weeks. It creates a bond.

“He was an atypical, one of a kind. He did not need anyone and that’s why he was sometimes incompatible with others. 

“That was also his strength. He cared a lot. But he pushed on to the end physically and mentally to push your limits. 

“He had no pen, no book, but it was in his head. He never did the same thing and was in constant search of exercises. 

“He was taking care of others. His goal was to be on the field and prepare an athlete. His obsession.

“He also led the girl’s volleyball until last week. I’m touched. 

“I was not as close as I can be with Arsene Wenger but he was a true friend. Last week, when I learned he was sick, I visited with my wife to his bedside in Cannes. 

“I met Manu Petit in his hospital room. It was a highlight. 

“Manu also knew him very well. 

“He will leave a strong image because he moved and touched all backgrounds. Rugby, through sailing, volleyball or soccer. 

“He was a very competent guy. A big mouth who said what he thought. 

“A known and recognized trainer.”

Darou worked at Arsenal as well as RC Lens, Marseille, PSG and FC Lorient

He was 72 years old and was known as the ‘guru of athletes’.