Former Arsenal and France star Patrick Vieira, world and European champion with Les Bleus, has taken the reins at top flight Nice, the French club said Monday. Vieira, 41, arrives after a stint at MLS outfit New York City FC. He has signed a three-year contract and replaces Lucien Favre who is moving to Borussia Dortmund.
The former midfield dynamo started his playing career at Cannes then had a brief spell AC Milan before becoming the rock on which Arsenal built a decade of glory, starring for the Gunners from 1996-2005.
After winning three Premier League titles and three FA Cups he joined Juventus for a season as the club topped Serie A but then were stripped of the title and then had four years with Inter Milan each topped with a Serie A crown.
In 2011, he retired after a spell back in England with Manchester City and after winning 107 French caps.
He then moved into coaching taking charge of the under-19 and under-21 Manchester City teams before coaching New York, which shares its owner with City.
He leaves New York second in the MLS Eastern Conference after Friday’s draw with Atlanta.
“Through its chairman Jean-Pierre Rivere, OGC Nice has announced it was looking for a coach with the ability to continue to play flowing football, bring on young players and take the risk of having them evolve while bringing a winning spirit to the table. That coach is Patrick Vieira,” the Riviera club said.
Nice described the 1998 World Cup winner as a “monument of French football,” whose dynamism and charisma had made him the obvious choice.
Vieira was due to be officially unveiled later Monday.