Having been labelled ‘disrespectful’ for a penalty that was missed 11 years ago and criticised for ‘being the player who…really brought diving into the English game’, Robert Pires has hit back at Danny Mills.
The Frenchman, a glorious specimen of human perfection who won stuff like the World Cup, stopped short of calling the ‘rent-a-gob’ an ignorant cunt – a bit of a shame in our opinion – but he did make clear that the assessment of the 2004 Carling Cup winner (got a trophy cabinet for that Danny?) made ‘no sense’.
Mills’ comments came in light of a penalty scored by Barcelona on Sunday, finished by Luis Suarez from a Lionel Messi pass, that echoed a failed attempt by Thierry Henry and Pires in a 2005 Premier League encounter between Arsenal and Manchester City.
Writing in The Times [paywalled], Pires went about setting the record straight: “When Messi and Suárez try it, it’s magical but when Pires and Henry try it, it’s a lack of respect. That doesn’t make any sense.
“The rules of football allow you to take a penalty like that. We were within our rights, our intention was never to disrespect anyone.
“People did it before us [Ajax’s Johan Cruyff exchanged passes with team-mate Jesper Olsen before scoring in 1982/83] and people have done it after us.
“It’s like the Panenka or other ways of taking a penalty. It didn’t work for us, it was a shame but we still won the game. We didn’t insult or hurt anyone.
“Obviously, for Danny Mills at the time it was hard to understand that you could actually take a penalty like that. Maybe he didn’t even know it was allowed.”
“It is the same with diving,” continued the Frenchman, who also took umbrage with Mill’s accusation that he used to con referees by hitting the turf too easily.
“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.”
Anyway, Danny Mills everyone…