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Football: Macca: Paul McCarthy column: Pires shows he's made of the write stuff.

Byline: Paul McCarthy

FOOTBALLEUR. The word just demands italics, dripping with the kind of pretension that might even have shamed Eric Cantona.

But if anybody picks up Robert Pires's autobiography expecting a tale of gallic egotism and rampant self-absorption, they are in for a shock.

Because the book is an accurate reflection of the man himself - humble, self-deprecating and lacking in anything approaching pretension.

Don't be fooled by the elegantly sculpted facial hair and enigmatic gestures, Pires is a man with his heart and priorities in the right place.

At his first book signing, he was met by a mob of supporters desperate for a glimpse of their hero and quite willing to stomp on anybody who stood in their way.

He was due to stay for two hours scrawling his signature but when security got edgy at a queue that showed no sign of abating, he simply told staff he would stay until every last book proffered his way was signed.

In the end, he left at just after midnight, three hours longer than the planned stay and with everybody who'd shelled out for his autobiography happy he'd given of his time.

That doesn't qualify him for sainthood, just proves he cares. And, Lord knows, there are few enough footballeurs of whom you can say that.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:Feb 23, 2003
Words:217
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