Villarreal's Robert Pires could only applaud Arsenal following his side's comprehensive defeat on Wednesday night. "They can go far. This is a big team full of potential, speed, freshness and youth. What I hope is that they reach the final and win it," the former Arsenal winger was quoted as saying in Marca. "I'm still a fan of this team, who play the type of football that I love."
Pires, whose last appearance for Arsenal came in the 2006 final against Barca before he switched to Villarreal, was making his first trip to the Emirates Stadium and he was pleased with the reception he got. "On a personal level it was very nice, incredible. I honestly didn't expect it. I know that players never forget their old teammates, but this has touched my heart," said the 35-year-old former France international, who spent six successful seasons at Arsenal.
"I've also discovered a very nice stadium that I didn't know before. Despite the defeat, all this will stay in my memory, it's been a nice experience." * With agencies