x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Vieira signs on the dotted line for City

At 33, critics have questioned whether Patrick Vieira has the stamina or ability to compete in the Premier League after a five-year absence.

Patrick Vieira played his last match for Inter Milan in a Serie A match against Chievo Verona on Wednesday.
Patrick Vieira played his last match for Inter Milan in a Serie A match against Chievo Verona on Wednesday.

At 33, critics have questioned whether Patrick Vieira still has the stamina or ability to compete in the Premier League after a five-year absence. But after becoming Roberto Mancini's first signing since taking charge of Manchester City, the French midfielder is convinced he can play a part in a successful future for the club. "I believe in myself and I am still motivated," said Vieira, who has signed an initial six-month deal, with the option of 12 more months. "It's true I don't have the legs of 20, but they say that the position where I am playing, when you get around 30 and 34, that's when you play your best game. "I met Mike Summerbee, who is a legend at this club and he played until 40. Hopefully I will be able to play until 40. I think players get better with the age. "I have to show the manager I deserve to play, show to the players I deserve to play. I have to show in every training session I deserve to play. It will not be easy. I will have to fight for my place." And despite a glittering past that includes a World Cup and European Championship with France, he is hungry for more trophies. City are currently fifth in the table, 10 points behind leaders Chelsea with a game in hand. And Vieira, also hoping to play well enough to make France's World Cup squad for this summer's finals, said the title should be a target. "When you look at the players, you can achieve a lot here," he added. "I strongly believe we are not out of the race for the title this season. We need to believe we can do it. "At Arsenal one year we won the title from 15 points behind at Christmas. Everything is possible. "I've been lucky to choose the right team to be successful. I chose City because something can be achieved with this club and I want to be part of it. "I wanted the right challenge, I wanted the right opportunity. I feel I've found the right challenge and the right club for me. "I met the directors and they really want to take this club somewhere they have never been. They have a fantastic project for the club." Vieira is delighted to be reunited with Mancini after their two years together at Inter. He sees similarities with Arsene Wenger, the man who shaped his career during nine years at Arsenal. Vieira became an inspirational leader for the Gunners in their three league title triumphs, including the 2003-04 season when they finished unbeaten and became known as the "Invincibles". His winner in the penalty shoot-out against Manchester United in the FA Cup final was his last game for the club in 2005. But after winning two titles under Mancini at Inter, Vieira believes the Italian can have a similar impact to Wenger in English football. "They like to talk to the players and manage the players," he revealed. "They are quite similar in that aspect. For the players, it's really good. Roberto is a winner. He came to City because he knows he can achieve something. He will do everything he can for the team to be successful and for the team to win games." City have won three out of three under Mancini and are looking for a fourth against Blackburn on Monday if the game survives the adverse weather conditions. Vieira suffered a calf injury in his final game for Inter at Chievo on Wednesday, but could be in line for a debut against Everton or Manchester United in the Carling Cup semi final. The player enjoyed the rivalry with United when he was at Arsenal and said: "It has always been exciting to play against United. It will be a special game."