Arsenal legend Patrick Vieira has become one of the newest entrants into the Premier League Hall of Fame alongside former Manchester United star Wayne Rooney.
The Frenchman was hugely instrumental towards the club’s early success under manager Arsene Wenger. He won three league titles between 1996 and 2005 and was part of the Invincibles squad in 2003/04.
The tough-tackling midfielder was a dominant presence in his prime, and has now become the third Arsenal inductee into the Hall of Fame after Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp.
Vieira bagged 31 goals and 34 assists from 307 Premier League games. More than his goal contributions, it was his defensive qualities which grabbed the eye.
Following his induction, Vieira was undoubtedly delighted and gave a special mention to former teammates Henry and Bergkamp, who made the Hall of Fame ahead of him.
He said: “Being inducted into the Premier League Hall of Fame is a fantastic achievement. When I received the news, I thought about being a young boy playing in Senegal, or in a suburb of Paris.”
“To be there with the best players in the Premier League, the best league in the world, is bigger than what I was ever thinking about. To have my name around those players makes me proud and makes me realise how good I was.
“It’s not bad company to join. I was lucky to play at the same time as some of them, of course including Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp, so to share the stage with them makes me realise I had a really good career.
“What really makes me happy and proud is when your name is mentioned by new, up-and-coming holding midfielders as an example of how they would like to play.”
The Premier League have handpicked 10 deserving candidates to enter Hall of Fame. There will be a public voting today to decide the remaining six from a list of 25 former players.
Ian Wright, Tony Adams and Sol Campbell are expected to be among Gunners legends in the 25-man shortlist. At least one could join Henry, Bergkamp and Vieira into the Hall of Fame.
Stats from Premierleague.com
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