Patrick VIEIRA will touch down in Edinburgh on Saturday in time for Ian Murray’s testimonial at Easter Road the following day.
A World and European Champion with France in 1998 and 2000 respectively, Vieira plans to make the most his Scottish sojourn and will conclude his weekend in the Capital by taking to the field on Sunday in honour of a player for whom he has “great respect”.
The former Arsenal, Juventus and Inter Milan midfielder – now Football Development Executive at his last club Manchester City – is eager to emerge from playing retirement, the career path he followed earlier this summer, to pay tribute to such a long-serving stalwart as Murray.
“Playing football is one thing that I love,” Vieira, 35, told the Evening News. “To play in a shirt again for a player who has been an example, for someone who has played ten years at one club, will be a great feeling. Especially in the modern game, you have great respect for someone who can do this.”
Vieira has made testimonial outings in homage to Dennis Bergkamp, Paul Scholes, and former France goalkeeper Bernard Lama in recent years. His career has taken him all over the globe, but the famous No. 4 will make only his second appearance on Scottish soil, his first coming five years ago at Hampden when Scotland recorded a 1-0 win in their Euro qualifier.
“I have played in Scotland – it’s really nice,” said Vieira. “The atmosphere in the game, the passion from the fans in Scotland – they love the game.
He will fly into Edinburgh on Saturday with ex-Arsenal team mate Robert Pires and friend Jimmy Boco, the former Hibs star with whom he runs football academy charity Diambars.
“We will see around the city – all the sights – and go out on Saturday night. The first thing is to pay respect to the testimonial game, and through that to promote Diambars. I would like to congratulate Ian Murray on his service to Hibs.”