Former Arsenal winger Robert Pires has moved to “set the record straight” after Danny Mills branded his failed 2005 penalty trick against Manchester City as “disrespectful.”
The incident, which saw the Frenchman fail to execute a 'pass' to Thierry Henry from the penalty spot, has come back into discussion following Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi’s audacious goal against Celta Vigo on Sunday night.
Mills famously confronted the Arsenal pair at Highbury when they tried it and recently criticised them for failing to execute the trick while offering praise to Barcelona for their tenacity.
Pires, writing for the Times, responded: “When Messi and Suarez 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 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.”
The 42-year-old, who ended his illustrious career at Goa last year, has also faced accusations based on his role in establishing diving as a part of the English game.
“It is the same with diving,” he added. “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.”
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