Patrick Vieira retired yesterday. This is sad. Vieira was one of the best midfielders ever, an end-to-end hard man who won a 1998 World Cup and a 2000 European Championship trophy with France and anchored Arsenal during three Premier League championship campaigns, including the 2003-04 "Invincible" season when the Gunners went undefeated (one of the more remarkable team accomplishment in sports). Arsenal never really replaced Vieira. He was graceful and crafty. He took no guff. He was all you could ask for at the core of your team. He was also nicknamed La Grande Saucisse ("The Big Sausage") and "The Long One" for, ahem, his "dressing-room physique." Nick Hornby is pouring one out right now.
Some of Vieira's best goals:
Vieira getting disputatious, most frequently with his nemesis Roy Keane: