Robert Pires has refuted claims from ex-England full-back Danny Mills that the former Arsenal winger brought diving to England.
Pires joined Arsenal in 2000 and made 199 appearances, winning two Premier League titles and three FA Cups in six years with Arsene Wenger. The left winger won 39 caps by France and was voted, by Arsenal fans on the club’s website, the sixth greatest player in the club’s history.
But Mills, 38, who had several battles with Pires, earlier this week claimed that Pires introduced the dark art of diving into English football.
Former Manchester City and Leeds defender Mills told The Times: “I will always remember him as the player who, in my view, really brought diving into the English game; his habit of throwing himself to the ground without any provocation always infuriated me.”
Writing in The Times, Pires has responded to those claims.
“It is the same with diving,” said Pires. “I didn’t bring diving to England. There was one controversy against Portsmouth, but there was contact.
“When you run fast with the ball and dribble, a slight touch from a defender or even movement towards you can unbalance you.
“I looked for a foul sometimes, I provoked the defender for sure and most of the time I dribbled past, but I never dived and have never intentionally disrespected anyone.”