Arsenal legend Robert Pires has named the toughest players he came up against during his time in the Premier League.
Pires joined Arsenal in 2000 and spent six years with the London club. During that time, he won two Premier League titles and an FA Cup and was part of the famous Arsenal Invincibles team in 2003-04.
The French man returned to England’s top flight in 2010 when he spent one season at Aston Villa.
While on the MOTD Top 10 Podcast, Pires was asked to name which Premier League players were hardest to play against and he chose two England internationals.
“In the Premier League, it was John Terry and Rio Ferdinand“, he stated.
“Matches against Chelsea and Manchester United were always hard and Terry and Ferdinand were very tough, very physical.”
The 46-year-old also revealed his first impression of Premier League football when he joined Arsenal.
“Coming from France to play in the Premier League, it was very difficult at the beginning.
“Arsene Wenger told me: ‘It’s not the same football. It’s physical, you need to learn.”
“My first match was at Sunderland. I was sitting on the bench and after about 20-25 minutes I remember thinking: ‘Wow, this football is not for me.'”
Since announcing his retirement in 2016, Pires has remained in close contact with Arsenal. He was invited on board in a coaching capacity under Arsene Wenger, though not employed in a full-time role.
Earlier this year, he revealed plans to move fully into coaching.
“I think coaching is a good job. Even if it’s hard on a daily basis.
“I think that in the years to come, I will decide to take the coaching diplomas. And I plan to do it in Spain.”