VIEIRA RETIRES TO TAKE UP NEW CITY POST
MANCHESTER, (AFP) - France World Cup-winner Patrick Vieira has retired as a player to take up a new role of football development executive at current club Manchester City, the English Premier League side said Thursday.
Born in Senegal the 35-year-old midfielder won three Premier League titles with Arsenal and four FA Cups before adding another FA Cup with City as the club ended their 35-year-wait for silverware by beating Stoke in last season's final.
He also won 107 caps for France and was a member of their 1998 World Cup winning side.
'This role is a fantastic new challenge for me and I am very grateful to Manchester City for offering me this opportunity,' Vieira, who also won the European Championship with France in 2000, said in a City statement.
'I have a lot to learn about the non-playing areas of the business but there are many very experienced people here for me to learn from and I am confident that I can make a significant contribution to the club's ongoing success.'
According to City, Vieira's new post will entail 'a wide ranging role, helping to deliver the club's social responsibility programme, both in the UK and abroad, as well as working closely with City's commercial partners'.
The statement added Vieira would also take an 'active role in the development of youngsters at the Platt Lane complex, providing mentoring support as part of the Academy's Multiskills Programme, which seeks to provide a well-rounded lifestyle education for the club's junior players'.
Vieira, who became manager Roberto Mancini's first signing at City in January 2010, having worked with the Italian at Serie A side Inter Milan, added: 'I am particularly pleased to be given the opportunity to work with the club's community scheme.
'Manchester City has a great reputation for its commitment to its community and charity partners and I believe I can help to take that message to an even greater audience.
'Everyone at Manchester City - the fans, the staff and the players - have made me and my family feel very welcome here over the past two years and I am very happy to have been given the chance to stay and develop my career away from the pitch,' added Vieira, as he called time on his 18 years as a pro footballer.
Vieira will report to City's chief football operations officer, Brian Marwood, who said: 'Patrick is the ultimate professional and it is our very great privilege to introduce him as our new football development executive.
'His experience in the world of football is virtually unparalleled and he will be a huge asset to our club as old and young alike benefit from his knowledge.
'His contribution to world football during his time as a player was extraordinary and he will be remembered as one of the greatest players to grace the Premier League.'
Vieira was not a regular starter at City but his 47 appearances in total yielded six goals and what turned out to be his final bow came as a late substitute in the FA Cup final win over Stoke at Wembley in May.
He made his name in English football at Arsenal after joining the London club from AC Milan in 1996.
At Arsenal, he became club captain and was a member of the 'Invincibles' team that did not lose a Premier League match in the 2003-04 season.
But his career with the Gunners also saw him collect 10 red cards.
Vieira left Arsenal to join Juventus, winning the Serie A title in 2006 although the Turin club were stripped of the Championship in the ensuing match-fixing scandal that engulfed Italian football.
He moved on to Inter but his time there was best by injuries and he arrived in Manchester before the club's 2010 Champions League triumph.
'Whilst it is sad to see Patrick's playing career come to an end, we are delighted he has chosen to extend his time with Manchester City in this new capacity,' Marwood said.