Patrick Vieira has admitted he has no idea whether he will be around to revel in Manchester City’s achievements this season.
The veteran Frenchman was a calming influence in the latter weeks of the Premier League season as City claimed a prized top-four slot and will be on the bench tomorrow as they look to end that 35-year wait for silverware by beating Stoke in the FA Cup final at Wembley.
But beyond the final two games against Stoke and Bolton next week, Vieira does not know where his future lies.
His contract at City expires this summer and the 34-year-old is not sure whether he will be staying.
“I really don’t know,” he said. “Anything can happen. “I just want to enjoy the cup final. I am really proud of what we have achieved over the last few days. If I am part of it next season I will be happy and excited, if not I will be grateful to have been involved.”
Should City triumph, Vieira would become one of an exclusive club that have collected five winners’ medals.
The first four are a legacy from his Arsenal days.
Indeed, his last act as a Gunners player was to score in the 2005 shoot-out against Manchester United in Cardiff.
It is scarcely believable Arsenal have won nothing since. And their chances of ending that run over the next few years are going to be reduced if City start collecting silverware, as Vieira is sure they will.
“If we go through the season without winning the FA Cup it would be difficult for us to accept,” he said.
“This is the start of a new era, a really successful time. But the first trophy is always really important because it marks the start of everything. It would give more belief to the squad as a whole.”
Having left Milan for Manchester, it seems Vieira has merely abandoned one soccer powerhouse for another.
By tea-time tomorrow, one half of the city could be celebrating a 19th league title, the other England’s second most important domestic competition.
For some that is cause for irritation. Vieira feels it is a sign of strength.
“It is fantastic for Manchester as a city to have two big clubs,” he said. “It reminds me of Milan because that was a fairly small city as well and yet it had Inter and AC.
“Now Manchester can look forward to the same kind of rivalry.”