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Real escape with hope of progress

What the papers say
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Robert Pires set for Indian Super League

Robert Pires has said he is excited by the prospect of pulling on his boots again to take part in the mooted Indian Super League next year.

Robert Pires: Unimpressed by Domenech
Pires played most recently for Aston Villa until May 2011.

Pires, 40, is among the ageing stars in the frame to take part in the new competition. Hernan Crespo, Freddie Ljungberg, Dwight Yorke and Louis Saha are already on the 'shortlist' of players for the tournament, which was originally scheduled to begin earlier this year before plans fell through.

With a format based on cricket's successful Indian Premier League  -- in which franchise owners bid for players in a preseason auction -- an eight-team competition is on course to be held across India between January and March.

Former Arsenal star Pires, who has been training with the Gunners this season, told former France international teammate Bixente Lizarazu on RTL that he was looking forward to the opportunity to play again.

"I'm on the shortlist to go to India and I cannot wait to be there," he said. "The shortlist is what we would simply call a 'draft', just like the Americans do in basketball. The Indians use it for cricket. That's what they want to do with football. We'll see what happens, but it should start at the beginning of 2014."

Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Delhi, Guwahati, Bangalore, Kochi, Goa and Pune are the nine cities that could host a franchise, with clubs likely to be coached by other former greats such as Peter Schmeichel and Marcel Desailly.

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