Gary Neville constantly "insulted" Pires on pitch – but he didn’t understand it

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Arsenal legend Robert Pires has revealed how Gary Neville would "insult" him on the pitch – not that he knew what the Manchester United star was saying.

Pires, 48, is a Gunners icon and was a key component of the Arsene Wenger teams that duelled with Sir Alex Ferguson's sides in the early 2000s.

The Frenchman played United 13 times during his spell in north London, but didn't command a great record against the Red Devils, winning just twice drawing four and losing seven.

That was in part down to the performances of Neville, who fiercely patrolled United's right side and in doing so made Pires's life hell.

Speaking to The Times, Pires admitted: "My record against them is catastrophic and I know it."

He then revealed how Neville, in particular, made him "suffer."

He continued: "My friend Gary Neville.

"Psychologically, he was always on top of me. He would talk to me all the time, he’d insult me all the time.

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"It was in English, so I didn’t understand anything, but I knew they weren’t nice words.

"He was always talking to me, always barging me, always looking for me. He knew how to unsettle me.

"And unfortunately, he won. I had run-ins with him, with Wayne Rooney. All the time."

Neville enjoyed 'psychological' battles with most of his opponents – and he usually won.

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Pires added: "And yet I had the same thing in training, with Lee Dixon.

"But [Neville] was really tough. It was just psychological with him. I knew I wasn’t going to succeed. I knew I was going to suffer."

Despite Pires's own rotten head-to-head record against United, Arsenal won the Premier League twice during that iconic era, first in 2002 and then again in 2004, famously going unbeaten.

He stuck around until 2006, helping the club reach the 2005 Champions League final before joining Villarreal.

  • Gary Neville
  • Manchester United FC
  • Arsenal FC
  • Premier League

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