Robert Pires has finally lifted the lid on that infamous penalty miss in 2005 – and admits he never wanted to take it.
The former Arsenal midfielder combined with Thierry Henry to squander a penalty against Manchester City, which saw Pires try and roll the ball to the former instead of shooting.
Pires, now 40, had practised the routine in training, once used by Dutch legend Johan Cruyff when he exchanged passes with team-mate Jesper Olsen before scoring for Ajax in the 1982-83 season.
“Thierry knows all the rules of football. He’d seen Cruyff take that penalty, and he wanted to do it. I didn’t want to do it because it was a serious, competitive match – a nd there was only one goal in it – so for me it was risky”, Pires told French Football Weekly.
“I said “no Titi, I don’t want to”. ‘Yes, come on, we have to – like yesterday, except that this time you make the pass, and I come in and score’.
“For me it wasn’t going to work and lots of things were going through my mind. I don’t know why, but my foot said ‘no!’.”
Read the rest of Jeremy Smith’s exclusive interview with Pires on French Football Weekly tomorrow.