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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Robert Pires, former Arsenal and France star, announces retirement

Robert Pires starred alongside Thierry Henry in Arsenal's 'Invincibles' side in 2003-04.

Former Arsenal and France star Robert Pires has announced his retirement from football at the age of 42.

Pires, a member of the France squads that won the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000, was without a club after leaving Indian Super League club FC Goa in March last year.

He enjoyed the greatest success at club level with Arsenal, where he won two Premier League titles and three FA Cups, as well as reaching the 2006 Champions League final.

"I'm 42 so at a certain point you have to stop, you have to say stop and then above all leave your place to young players," he told beIN Sports. "My last experience was in India."

Pires also featured for Metz, Marseille and Villarreal before a stint with Aston Villa in the 2010-11 season.

He then spent some time out of the game before agreeing to join FC Goa in September 2014 as one of the ISL's marquee players. 

He said last year that he wanted to continue playing and took part in training sessions with Arsenal earlier this season to maintain his fitness, but he has now brought his career to an end.

Pires also spoke about his career during the beIN Sports interview and addressed his final game for Arsenal, when they lost the Champions League final to Barcelona and he was substituted on 18 minutes following the dismissal of goalkeeper Jens Lehmann.

"The final of the Champions League in 2006 precipitated my departure from Arsenal," he said. "It was hard and I no longer had the confidence of Arsene Wenger."

He returned to face Arsenal with Villarreal in a Champions League quarterfinal defeat in 2009, though, and said it was a "great moment" and that he felt "very strong emotions."

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