Vieira explains why he left Arsenal

Patrick Vieira has spoken about why he decided to leave Arsenal for Juventus in 2005.

After nine years at Arsenal, Vieira revealed that he no longer felt as if he had the trust of Arsene Wenger, which is why he decided to leave and return to Italy.

“After nine years at Arsenal, I was 29/30-years-old and 30-years-old in football you start to get old,” said the New York City FC coach.

“You can see that the coach doesn’t trust you like he used to. That’s part of the game. It’s difficult and I accept it because we had a young player called (Cesc) Fabregas who was coming through the academy and he was doing really well.

“So I was smelling that the time for me at Arsenal was over.

“I had to accept it was over and I had to make a difficult decision as well because leaving Arsenal, where you’ve spent nine years, is really difficult and it hurts your pride a little bit. As a player you feel proud but I made the decision because I wanted to play every game and I decided to go back to Italy.”

In 2005, the midfielder signed for Juventus where he spent a year and made 31 league appearances. He then moved to Inter, rivals of his former club AC Milan, before moving on to Manchester City in 2010.

While Vieira sums up his decision to leave north London very neatly for his talk, I have no doubt that it was genuinely a difficult decision. The Frenchman made 279 league appearances for the Gunners, scoring 29 goals and leading the squad to three titles, three FA Cups and three Community Shields. He was also a linchpin in the Invincibles’ starting line-up.

Many still see him as Arsene Wenger’s most important signing and it’s hard to argue against that. I think he would make most people’s top three at the very least.

Vieira’s move away from Arsenal had been on the cards for at least a season. Real Madrid had made it very clear in 2004 that they had their hearts set on signing the then-28-year-old. And while he never actually moved to La Liga, I imagine he had one eye on the exit from earlier than he claims… “That’s part of the game.”