by Lee Hurley

Arsene Wenger has added his voice to the tributes pouring out after the death of Tiburce Darou.

The 72-year-old passed away after a battle with a long illness and the news has been greeted with immense sadness from a number of people connected with Arsenal, not least Emmanuel Petit, Robert Pires and Olivier Giroud.

Darou had worked closely with Arsenal and had been integral in helping Pires recover from his cruciate knee ligament injury in 2002 while more recently he worked with Giroud after the striker broke his leg at the start of this season.

Speaking to the media in France, the Arsenal boss said [via Google translate]

“This is sad news for the sport and, more to the Riviera sport. He’s never really been able to leave the French Riviera.

“Tiburce, he had a full knowledge of the sport, who perspired through every pore of his skin. He blithely passed rugby football, dance tennis, basketball, sail …

“And he lived as a free man. Free and courageous. I wanted to honour him for that. He was a true sportsman and really brave.

“After a serious injury, I would often send players to the French Riviera, to turn them into his hands. That’s how he met many of my former players whom he remained close to.

Personally, I had met him in Bordeaux in the 1980s when he collaborated with Rolland Courbis.

“He was a very close friend. I am very sad today. “