Former Arsenal captain Patrick Vieira became the 10th player inducted into the Premier League's Hall of Fame in 2022, following a brilliant ten and a half years at the top of English football.
|Date of Birth||23/06/1976|
|Place of Birth||Dakar, Senegal|
|Premier League club(s)||Arsenal, Manchester City|
|Premier League appearances||307|
|Premier League goals||31|
|Premier League assists||34|
|Premier League titles||3|
Vieira moved to the Premier League at the age of 20 ahead of the 1996/97 season. The Frenchman had one season at AC Milan after breaking through at Cannes, but he made just two appearances at the Serie A side.
After a disappointing year in Italy, Vieira made a £3.5million switch to Arsenal and his career took off from there.
Vieira arrived at Highbury six weeks before Arsene Wenger, going on to define his compatriot’s first decade in north London.
Vieira forced his way into the starting line-up almost immediately, playing a key role in an Arsenal side which finished third in the Premier League. However, it was his second season which saw him really make his mark in England.
Highbury was a popular destination for French players after Wenger’s arrival and the addition of Emmanuel Petit reshaped Arsenal’s midfield.
Having started his first Arsenal game in a midfield three alongside Paul Merson and David Platt, Vieira formed a fantastic partnership with Petit.
With Petit arriving as a more defensively-minded player, Vieira had more freedom to show off his impressive array of talents. That pairing in the middle of the park led the Gunners to the title in Wenger’s first full season in charge.
The Gunners topped off the 1997/98 season by winning the FA Cup, completing the second-ever league and cup double in the club’s history.
While they couldn’t defend the title, Vieira and Petit were named together in the PFA Team of the Year in 1998/99 despite Manchester United’s treble success. Vieira made the team of the year every year between 1999 and 2004.
With Arsenal and United wrestling for the title, the focus turned to Vieira’s battles with Roy Keane. The pair were the iron grit in their respective title-winning sides, with their combative nature resulting in fireworks when they went toe-to-toe.
The pair were born competitors, with their meetings across that nine-year spell a box office occasion.
Vieira was a key factor in elevating Arsenal to the level of Keane and United and the pair didn’t let up when they faced each other. The Gunners’ midfielder would go on to call Keane "my favourite enemy".
Petit departed in the summer of 2000, heading to Barcelona for a year before Chelsea brought him back to London. Without his countryman, Vieira made a poor start to the 2000/01 season, which included two red cards early in the campaign, resulting in a five-match ban.
However, Wenger turned to Gilles Grimandi, who became the foil for Vieira during his most successful season. The Gunners ultimately missed out on silverware, but the Arsenal star was still recognised for his most dominant campaign from an individual perspective.
He was named Premier League Player of the Season, alongside making the UEFA Team of the Year for the only time in his career. Vieira won the 2001 French Player of the Year award, while he was unsurprisingly also named Arsenal’s player of the season as well.
The pairing of Vieira and Grimandi brought more success in 2001/02, when Arsenal won their third - and final - league and cup double. In the summer of 2002, Vieira stepped up to take on the Arsenal captaincy.
The undoubted peak of Vieira’s Arsenal spell was the Invincibles team, which went unbeaten throughout the 2003/04 campaign. The Frenchman missed just six matches through that peerless season, performing at the peak of his powers.
Vieira’s stellar displays saw him linked with top clubs around the world, with Real Madrid frequently chasing his signature. He stuck around in North London for a year after the Invincibles' success, however, picking up another FA Cup win in 2005.
Fittingly, that cup final came against Keane and United. Both sides couldn’t be split, with the Gunners triumphing on penalties.
After nine years he departed Highbury, a year before the Gunners went to the Champions League final for the first time and while he never went on to lift the European Cup, he achieved incredible success internationally.
After Arsenal, Vieira returned to Serie A to play for Juventus and Inter Milan. He lasted a single season at Juve before the Calciopoli scandal struck, meaning his Serie A title was struck off.
His move to the Nerazzurri saw him win Lo Scudetto three times before departing in Inter’s treble-winning campaign.
Vieira then followed his former Inter boss Roberto Mancini to Manchester City in 2010, returning to the Premier League for the last act of his playing career.
The Frenchman made 28 appearances across 18 months at the Etihad, helping City’s rise up the league. He helped them secure Champions League football in 2011, alongside ending their 35-year wait for silverware with an FA Cup win.
In the aftermath of the latter, Vieira announced his retirement, having made over 300 Premier League appearances in a career which spanned almost 20 years.
Vieira was a true all-round midfielder, the sort of player who would be hard to place in a modern game which has broken up roles in the middle of the park.
The Frenchman had the physicality and technical ability to do everything, which led to him making the box-to-box role his own.
His incredible bursts forward were a trademark part of his game, while his fantastic pace allowed him to race back into position to break up opposition counter-attacks.
Vieira was also a true leader and a winner, standing out as the driving force behind some incredible Arsenal sides.
After his retirement in 2011, Vieira quickly turned to coaching. He took charge of Man City’s development squad from 2013 to 2015, before heading to America to lead New York City FC.
After impressing in the USA, Vieira returned to Europe with Nice in Ligue 1. He took them back into Europe during an 18-month spell in France, departing in December 2020.
Vieira quickly returned to the dugout, making his return to England to manage Crystal Palace. The Frenchman kept the Eagles in the Premier League, while he took them to the semi-finals of the 2021 FA Cup.
After a harsh sacking in his second season at Selhurst Park, he returned to France to take the reins at Ligue 1 outfit Strasbourg, following their takeover by Chelsea’s owners BlueCo.
During his time in North London, Vieira had a popular chant from the Arsenal supporters, paying homage to his Senegalese origins.
When the Gunners beat Crystal Palace 4-1 in March 2023, almost 18 years after his departure from Arsenal and two days after his sacking as Crystal Palace boss, the Emirates’ faithful brought back his song in a show of solidarity with their former captain.