In 2006, the old-guard of the great Invincible side of 2003/2004 at Arsenal were starting to move on.
One of those players was the legendary Robert Pires. Arsenal needed a replacement, and fast. After a wonderful World Cup in Germany 2006, Czech international Tomas Rosicky caught the eye of Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger and he was soon signed on in May 2006 from financially troubled Borussia Dortmund.
Rosicky took over Pires' famous number seven shirt for Arsenal that had been previously worn by the likes of Liam Brady, David Rocastle and George Armstrong.
After starting his Arsenal career well, he soon became very injury prone between 2008 and 2011, spending a full 20 months on the sidelines between January 2008 and September 2009. However, ever since then he's been brilliant for the north London giants.
His role in the second half of the 2011/2012 season was pivotal in pushing Arsenal towards 3rd place in the league; he famously inspired Arsenal to a 5-2 win against rivals Tottenham from 2-0 down. The Czech's fabulous second half goal in front of the North Bank is many fans' favourite goal in recent years.
So far this season, the 33-year-old has been in and out of the Arsenal team, playing in most of the big games. He's played against Manchester United, Bayern Munich, Spurs, Napoli and former side Dortmund and for good reason - he's one of the most underrated players in English football.
As an experienced player, he's played at the top level for over a decade and plays as if he's been around the game for longer. His all-action style makes him a fans' favourite.
He is a player who will tackle anyone of any size. Rosicky has the aggression of Patrick Vieira and the vision/skill of Cesc Fabregas. This perfect mix of attributes make him an exceptional player.
He might not be quick in a 100m sprint but the way he gracefully glides with the ball across the midfield makes him impossible to tackle and he speeds up Arsenal's play dramatically. All this combined with the fact that he can play anyway in midfield makes him a pivotal part of the Arsenal title charge. Rosicky plays like he's 27 and about to reach his prime.
Whether he can be remembered in the same way that Pires, Brady and Rocastle can is debatable. However, there's no doubt that Tomas Rosicky has been a brilliant servant to Arsenal and I sincerely hope he retires in red and white rather than moving away before he hangs up his boot.
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