Villarreal midfielder Robert Pires is predicting a bright future for Arsenal after seeing his side's Champions League dreams ended by his former club.
Villarreal were convincingly beaten by a youthful Gunners side on Wednesday night, with goals from Theo Walcott, Emmanuel Adebayor and Robin van Persie earning the Gunners a 3-0 win and sending Arsene Wenger's men through to the semi-finals 4-1 on aggregate.
"They can go far. This is a big team full of potential, speed, freshness and youth. What I hope is that they reach the final and win it," the former France international was quoted as saying in Marca.
"I'm still a fan of this team, who play the type of football that I love."
Pires, whose last appearance for Arsenal came in that 2006 Champions League final against Barcelona before he switched to Villarreal, was making his first trip to the Emirates Stadium and he was pleased with the reception he got.
"On a personal level it was very nice, incredible. I honestly didn't expect it. I know that players never forget their old team-mates, but this has touched my heart," said the 35-year-old, who spent six successful seasons at Arsenal.
"I've also discovered a very nice stadium that I didn't know before. Despite the defeat, all this will stay in my memory, it's been a nice experience."
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