Vieira joins Manchester City on loan deal
Patrick Vieira signed an initial six-month deal with Manchester City on Friday, and the former Inter Milan midfielder hopes it will boost his chances of making France's World Cup squad.
City has an option to extend the 33-year-old former Arsenal captain's deal by a further year if he proves he can still cut it in the Premier League.
The deal sees Vieira reunited with former Inter manager Roberto Mancini, who replaced Mark Hughes at City last month. Together, they won three Serie A titles at Inter.
"Patrick is a world-class midfielder with a winner's mentality and will fit into this group very well," Mancini said. "He knows me and my staff well, and importantly he also knows what the Premier League is all about. He will not need much time to settle in.
"Patrick is one of the great players of his era with almost every honour in the game against his name."
Vieira spent nine seasons at Arsenal, including the unbeaten title-winning campaign in 2004, before joining Juventus the following year. His tenure with the Turin squad lasted only a year, with the Italian match-fixing scandal prompting his move to Inter in 2006, but he had fallen out of favour under Jose Mourinho.
Mancini identified Vieira as the ball-winning midfielder to replace Michael Johnson, who is out for the rest of the season with a knee injury, and Vincent Kompany, who is being deployed as an emergency central defender.
City is fifth in the Premier League standings and Mancini is targeting a top-four finish to qualify for the Champions League.
For Vieira, the opportunity to play regularly in England's top flight could see him extend his France career beyond 107 caps.
"Pat has one obsession: to play in the World Cup," France coach Raymond Domenech said in French sports daily L'Equipe on Friday. "He will play with this idea, even if he is thinking first and foremost of his club, because he has to make his mark there."
Vieira won the World Cup in 1998 and the 2000 European Championship and is targeting a spot on the plane to South Africa in June.
"There is no reason he won't go," Domenech said. "If he plays, he is more than a candidate [for the World Cup]. He needed to play again, and in the end it's not really important the place. He will be in a very good club. It's good for him, it's good for Les Bleus."