Crystal Palace manager and former Arsenal captain Patrick Vieira has said he would have loved to share a pitch with Manchester United legend Paul Scholes.
Vieira was one of the Gunners’ most important players during his nine-year stay in north London, arriving alongside compatriot Arsene Wenger in 1996 and helping Arsenal compete for the year’s biggest trophies in year. By the time he left the club, Vieira had won three Premier League titles and four FA Cups, including as captain of the famed Invincibles side in 2003/04.
Arsenal’s biggest rivals at this time were Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United, with games between the two clubs often turning heated. Some of the matches between the two sides have gone down in English football history, including United’s 2-1 FA Cup semi-final victory en route to the 1999 treble as well as the ‘battle of the buffet’ at Old Trafford in 2004 when Cesc Fabregas threw a slice of pizza at Ferguson in the tunnel after a 2-0 home win.
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But despite the two parties’ animosity towards each other, Vieira said if there was anyone in the current Premier League Hall of Fame – into which he was officially inducted on Thursday night – who he would have loved to share a pitch with, it would have been Scholes. The pair often found themselves as direct opponents in midfield, with England’s Scholes often naming Vieira as one of his toughest opponents.
“If I had the chance to play with any of the current inductees, it would be Paul Scholes,” Vieira said. “He is one of the best to ever play in the Premier League.
Asked about current top-flight players who could one day enter the Hall of Fame, Vieira named a Manchester City and Liverpool star as well as one of his own players at Crystal Palace. He added: “Current players I can see going into the Hall of Fame would be Kevin de Bruyne for sure. I hope Wilfried Zaha gets there one day, and Sadio Mane.”