Vieira laments 'sad day'
Patrick Vieira says he is sad to end his playing career but is looking forward to taking a new role with City.
Last Updated: 14/07/11 5:30pm
Patrick Vieira admits he is sad to call time on his playing career but is looking forward to assuming a new role off the pitch with Manchester City.
The 35-year-old Frenchman hung up his boots on Thursday, 18 years after making his debut for Cannes, following a glittering career that has brought him World Cup and European Championship winners' medals as well as seven domestic titles and five FA Cups.
Vieira, who was released by City at the end of last season, has accepted a newly-created position as the club's football development executive and will help nurture young players among other responsibilities.
The former midfielder told City's official website: "It was something I was preparing for in my head and I think it was the right time.
"It's a sad day and a sad moment but overall I've enjoyed the years I've spent in football. Football has brought me a lot.
"I think it will be difficult to find a job that will give me as much satisfaction as football has given me but I just want to give back to society and give back to football what it has given to me. And what a fantastic club for me to do it."
Vieira was City boss Roberto Mancini's first signing when he left Inter Milan to return to the Premier League in January 2010.
He was not a regular starter but made 47 appearances in total, scoring six goals, with his final run-out in a City shirt coming as a late substitute in the FA Cup final victory over Stoke in May.
Vieira is confident City will continue to go from strength to strength after last year's cup triumph and qualification for the UEFA Champions League.
"I was really proud to be part of the team last year and I think the team responded really well to the expectation," he added.
"The future is looking fantastic because talent has come in and the team is really hungry to win silverware."
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger led the acclaim for Vieira, describing his fellow Frenchman as a "special" player and pledging that the Gunners would always remember his contribution to one of the club's most successful eras.
Vieira joined Arsenal from AC Milan in 1996 and was a key component of the teams which won the Premier League and FA Cup double in 1998 and 2002, before as captain he guided the team which became known as the 'Invincibles' to another title in 2004, as well as the FA Cup the following year.
Wenger said: "You can only have lot of respect for what Patrick has achieved. His career is sensational. He was an exceptional player for us."
It was Wenger who urged Arsenal to sign Vieira, shortly before taking charge at Highbury, and he recalls how the dynamic Senegal-born player stood out.
He added on Arsenal's official website: "We have classy players in midfield now but Patrick was special. He was a tall player with good technique."