On October 9, 1996, Pires scored his first goal for France at international level. He concluded his eight year spell in the national team with a record of 14 goals from 79 caps.
The wide man won the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000 in the colours of France. He was also part of the Les Bleus side that lifted the FIFA Confederations Cup in 2001 and 2003.
In 1998 after winning the World Cup, Pires was made a Knight of the Legion of Honour. It is France’s highest decoration.
In 2000, Pires signed for Arsenal in a £6 million transfer from Marseille. During six highly influential seasons with the Gunners, the brilliant Frenchman would go on to score 84 times in 284 appearances.
Pires was named Football Writers’ Footballer of the Year in 2001-02. He was also selected for the PFA Premier League Team of the Year for three successive seasons between 2001 and 2004.
Arsenal’s Champions League final defeat to Barcelona in 2006 was Pires’ final game for the club, but he left north London with three FA Cup winners’ medals and two Premier League titles.