Robert Pires picks Thierry Henry and Patrick Vieira in his #One2Eleven


Former Arsenal and France midfielder Robert Pires has picked his #One2Eleven for The Fantasy Football Club and it's quite a team!

We asked Pires, who was part of Arsenal's Invincibles in 2003/04, to pick the best 11 players he has played with and it was an extremely tough ask for the World Cup-winning star, who struggled with several of his choices.

Juan Roman Riquelme, Marcos Senna, Sylvain Wiltord, Claude Makelele, Emmanuel Petit and Freddie Ljungberg were among those who missed out but selected by Pires were Arsenal and France colleagues Patrick Vieira and Thierry Henry, while Englishmen Tony Adams and Ashley Cole also made the cut.


Watch The Fantasy Football Club at 6pm on Sky Sports 1 on Friday evening, when Pires will talk through his star-studded #One2Eleven in full...

GOALKEEPER - Fabian Barthez

French goalkeeper Fabien Barthez

Pires played alongside David Seaman and Jens Lehmann during his Arsenal career, but has opted for an international team-mate between the sticks. Barthez was, along with Pires, part of the famous France squad that won the World Cup in 1998 and the European Championship in 2000.

PIRES SAYS: "He was a little bit crazy but he played for Monaco and one of the best teams in the world with Manchester United. So No 1 is Fabian Barthez."

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RIGHT-BACK - Lilian Thuram

Saint-Denis, FRANCE:  (FILES) Picture taken 08 July 1998 at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, north of Paris of French defender Lilian Thuram, who scored

Thuram was another integral member of that France squad and played with distinction for Monaco, Parma, Juventus and Barcelona during a glittering career. Remarkably he only ever scored two international goals in 142 appearances - both in the 1998 World Cup semi-final win over Croatia.

PIRES SAYS: "Thuram was a hard defender. He was strong, fast and had a good mentality."

CENTRE-BACK - Laurent Blanc

French defender Laurent Blanc (L) kisses French goalkeeper Fabien Barthez

Pires played alongside Blanc for both club and country as the duo were at Marseille together. They also came face-to-face in Arsenal v Manchester United clashes in the Premier League. The pair were involved in the first ever Golden Goal at a World Cup when Pires set up Blanc to score the goal that knocked out Paraguay in 1998.

PIRES SAYS: "Football for Laurent Blanc was easy. Simple. When you have a guy like Laurent at the back it's like having good security."

CENTRE-BACK - Tony Adams

26 Dec 2000:  Tony Adams celebrates his goal for Arsenal during the FA Carling Premier League match against Leicester City played at Highbury in London. Ar

Pires only spent two seasons playing alongside Arsenal legend Adams - including the Premier League title-winning campaign of 2001/02 - but was suitably impressed by the commanding centre-half to include him in his dream team.

PIRES SAYS: "Sometimes, you just need one player on your team like Tony Adams. He was one of the best captains I played under during my career."

LEFT-BACK - Ashley Cole

Ashley Cole of Arsenal

Cole was a consistent presence in the Arsenal team during Pires' six years with the club before both left in the summer of 2006. During that period Pires struck up an excellent partnership with the England full-back on the left flank at Highbury, winning two league titles together - including the Invincibles season of 2003/04 - and three FA Cups.

PIRES SAYS: "He was a hard defender and had a good technique. He was one of the best defenders to play for England."

CENTRE MIDFIELD - Patrick Vieira


Few will be surprised at this selection. Vieira played alongside Pires for France in the Euro 2000 final and they played in midfield together for Arsenal for five seasons, winning two Premier League titles along the way.

PIRES SAYS: "He was one of the best players to play in the Premier League. For me it was fantastic to play with him. Of course he's my friend but as a footballer he was amazing."

CENTRE MIDFIELD - Gilberto Silva

Gilberto Silva of Arsenal

Another of Arsenal's Invincibles is selected in defensive midfield alongside Vieira. Gilberto Silva played 170 times for Arsenal and 93 times for Brazil, making him the only World Cup winner in this team who didn't play for France.

PIRES SAYS: "He had a very good partnership with Vieira. He was Brazilian so had a very good technique and he was a brilliant professional."


Zinedine Zidane

Regarded as one of the most talented footballers of all time, Zidane's selection is no surprise. Pires watched from the bench as he scored twice in the 1998 World Cup final against Brazil and played alongside him in the Euro 2000 final win over Italy. 

PIRES SAYS: "What can I say about Zinedine Zidane? He was the best player in the world during my career. For him football was simple. Sometimes it was just too easy."


Youri Djorkaeff

Pires has selected Djorkaeff, another former international team-mate, to play alongside Zidane. The two met in the Premier League between 2002 and 2004 when Djorkaeff signed for Bolton Wanderers and despite winning the World Cup and the European Championship, Djorkaeff never won a domestic league title during his career.

PIRES SAYS: "He was clever on the pitch. He played a simple game and when you played with him you learnt.

FORWARD - Dennis Bergkamp

4 Nov 1995:  Dennis Bergkamp of Arsenal in action during an FA Carling Premiership match against Denis Irwin and Manchester United at Highbury.

Pires has opted for two Arsenal legends in attack, starting with Bergkamp, who won three Premier League titles and four FA Cups with the north London club. Arsene Wenger once said he knew he'd signed a good player in Pires because Bergkamp kept giving him the ball on his first day of training.

PIRES SAYS: "Everybody called Dennis the maestro - because he was! On the pitch he was the maestro. I learnt a lot from Dennis every day at the training ground. I loved his mentality."

FORWARD - Thierry Henry

LONDON - NOVEMBER 13:  Thierry Henry celebrates a goal during the Barclays Premiership match between Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal at White Hart Lane on No

Pires enjoyed a strong relationship with Henry for both club and country. They won the World Cup together, they were part of Arsenal's Invincibles and they combined for countless Premier League goals in the early 2000's. Just don't remind them of that penalty blunder…

PIRES SAYS: "He was the best striker for a long time. He scored a lot of goals for Arsenal and the national team. To play with Thierry was a pleasure and an honour."

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