MANCHESTER, England (AP) – World Cup-winning midfielder Patrick Vieira retired Thursday to take up a role as football development executive with Manchester City, where he will help guide and mentor young players.
With Vieira also having won the European Championship, three Premier League titles and four Serie A championships, City wants the 35-year-old former France international to help develop top-class players.
City currently relies upon its financial muscle in the transfer market to bolster its squad but must trim its largesse to conform with UEFA's financial fair play rules.
''I have a lot to learn about the non-playing areas of the business but there are many very experienced people here for me to learn from,'' Vieira said. ''I am confident that I can make a significant contribution to the club's ongoing success.''
The former AC Milan, Arsenal, Juventus and Inter Milan player was City coach Roberto Mancini's first signing when he took over.
Vieira joined in January 2010 and helped the club win last season's FA Cup and qualify for the Champions League for the first time.
''His experience in the world of football is virtually unparalleled and he will be a huge asset to our club as old and young alike benefit from his knowledge,'' City chief football operations officer Brian Marwood said. ''His contribution to world football during his time as a player was extraordinary and he will be remembered as one of the greatest players to grace the Premier League.
''Whilst it is sad to see Patrick's playing career come to an end, we are delighted that he has chosen to extend his time with Manchester City in this new capacity.''
The Senegal-born Vieira, who won the World Cup in 1998 with France and the European Championship two years later, started his career with Milan before a nine-year stint with Arsenal, where he was consistently first choice in central midfield.
He spent five years in Italy from 2005 before playing out his career at City under former Inter coach Mancini.