In light of the recent Premier league signing of Vieira to Manchester City , the question on everyones lips is “Will he still be as good as he was?”. Patrick Vieira believes he is a better player now than he was when he left the Premier League four years ago. He says “I am a better player for the experiences I have had. You get better with experience and age and I have been really lucky to play at big clubs. ”
Man City’s new boss, Roberto Mancini, signed the imposing 33 year old after managing him at Inter Milan on a short term deal. Patrick has put in 67 appearances for Inter scoring 6 goals since 2006 following a year at Italian rivals Juventus.
The towering, 6 foot 3 1/2 inches , French midfielder has had some impressive innings in his career, with 279 senior club apperances for the Arsenal invincibles, captaining the side from 2002-2005 and 107 caps for France becoming club captain in 2006 replacing the legendary Zinedine Zidane .
We have already seen the once bright star, Michael Owen (now a bench warmer at Manchester United) return to the Premier league from Real Madrid, to disappointingly fade away on his return to Newcastle. Mancini will hope Vieira will not suffer the same fate and will inspire the team and fans as he did at Arsenal.
Despite Owen’s rather lack lustre return there have been some success stories with players returning to the Premier league, some examples are Gary Lineker who returned from Barcelona to Tottenham scoring 67 goals in 105 games. Additionally, Robbie Keane who returned from Inter Milan and went on to score in excess of 90 goals for Spurs in over 200 games.
Vieira is a great athlete and model player and everyone hopes he can overcome the reduced fitness and pace that comes with age. Nevertheless his sheer determination, raw ability and natural talent still remains.
The way some people talk about players over 30 you would think they were running around in slippers, with a zimmer frame and spending their half time breaks watching countdown .
I believe that a player can still be world class even with age, you only have to look at Lampard (31), Gerrard (29) and Drogba (31) for examples of brilliant players who have maintained an exceedingly good level of play in there late 20’s to early 30’s. Whether Vieira can still be the powerhouse he once was in the Premier league is up to him and his own ambition. Even if he flops no-one can deny the awe inspiring ability that saw him captain Arsenal in their glory years.
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