Official: Star snubs Real Madrid to sign for Arsenal

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Arsenal legend Robert Pirès says Arsène Wenger was hugely influential in his decision to snub Real Madrid for the Gunners.

Pirès moved to Arsenal from Marseille in 2000 and spent six years in north London, during which time he won two Premier League titles and two FA Cups.

At the time, the French maestro also had the chance to join Madrid and was even pictured in the famous Los Blancos shirt.

But speaking to Arsenal Player, the 44-year-old says he was tricked into wearing the shirt and only had eyes for Arsenal after a phone call from Wenger.

“One day, I met the Spanish journalists and I was wearing the Madrid shirt. They took a picture of me because the people in Spain thought I was signing,” said the 1998 World Cup winner.

“For me, the first destination was Madrid because Madrid is, even now, one of the best clubs in the world.

“The problem was that maybe two or three days after the picture, I called Arsène Wenger and he changed my mind.

“That’s why I signed for Arsenal and it was the best decision I ever made.”

Pirès went on to make almost 200 appearances for the Gunners and was part of the legendary ‘Invincibles’ team which went the entire 2003/04 Premier League season unbeaten.

This weekend he will pull on a red shirt again when an Arsenal Legends side take on who else but Real Madrid in an exhibition match at the Emirates.

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