Born in Dakar, Senegal, Vieira’s family moved to Dreux in northern France when he was eight-years- old. He began his playing career at Cannes, making his debut at just 17-years-old, and demonstrated his considerable leadership skills immediately, being named captain two years later.
His performance at Cannes caught the eyes of European giants AC Milan, though he struggled to establish his place at the San Siro. Vieira was then poached by Arsenal, who were soon to appoint compatriot Arsène Wenger as manager.
Premier League dominance
Vieira embodied the revolution that followed at Highbury, first proving instrumental in the double- winning season of 1997/98, and then winning the Premier League title again in 2002/03.
After Tony Adams’ retirement in 2002, he was named club captain and led the side to one of English football’s greatest achievements: completing an unbeaten season in 2003/04. It remains the only time the feat has been achieved since Preston North End in 1888/89.