The Invincibles: Where are they now?

The Invincibles: Where are they now?
Feb 29, 2016

Arsenal Featured

In the 2003/04 Premier League season, Arsene Wenger’s men achieved a full season unbeaten in the top tier of English Football. Arsenal, nicknamed ‘The Invincibles’ were renown for having the perfect mix of skill, strength and speed to rewrite the record books, something no other side in an established league has achieved. The Gunners finished on 90 points; 11 points above 2nd place Chelsea with an illustrious record of 26-12-0. But where are they now?
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Jens Lehmann:
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Position: Goalkeeper
Nationality: German
League Starts: 38
Where are they now?
Shortly after his retirement in 2010, Lehmann made his film acting debut with the German/South African production Themba. He plays Big John Jacobs, a football coach and talent scout, who discovers Themba, a young and ambitious youth, who is faced with poverty, AIDS and violence, but eventually makes his way on to the South African national team.The movie is based on a novel by Lutz van Dijk and premiered at the Berlinale 2010. Jens can now be found on German Television working as a Sports Pundit for Bundesliga and World Cup fixtures. He is a member of the Laureus Foundation and is active in a number of humanitarian projects, including work with UNICEF.

Lauren:

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Position: Right Back
Nationality: Cameroon
League Starts: 30
Where are they now?
After drawing curtains on his career in 2010 after a short spell with Cordoba, the former tenacious Right Back is currently living in Seville, Spain with his wife and son. You can find him on Spanish TV as an occasional La Liga Analyst alongside journalist and pundit, Guillem Balague. He is also studying for an MBA at the University of Malaga.

Kolo Toure:
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Position: Centre Back
Nationality: Ivorian
League Starts: 33
Where are they now?
In 2009 he moved to Manchester City, where he was year later joined by his younger brother Yaya Touré, helping City earn its first league title in 44 years. Liverpool then signed him in a surprise transfer on a two-year deal after Brendan Rodgers admired his ‘leadership and direction qualities’. The former Liverpool manager also suggested he ‘reminded me of Jamie Carragher’ and was looking forward to seeing him in a Liverpool shirt. In February 2015, he announced his retirement from International duty, however he still plays regularly for The Reds; most recently in their 2-1 defeat to Manchester City in the Capital One Cup Final last week.

Sol Campbell:
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Position: Centre Back
Nationality: English
League Starts: 35 (Goals: 1)
Where are they now?
Campbell ended his career at Newcastle in May 2011 after previous successful spells at Notts County and Portsmouth. He is currently pursuing a career in Sports Coaching after completing UEFA badges with the Welsh FA this year. The former Arsenal defender has also expressed interest in Politics, more specifically the Conservative party; where he attempted to be shortlisted as a candidate in the Mayor of London elections in 2016. He was unsuccessful.

Ashley Cole:

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Position: Left Back
Nationality: English
League Starts: 32
Where are they now?
After leaving Arsenal in 2006, Cole completed a move to rival club Chelsea, with whom he won further honours, including the Premier League in the 2009–10 season, four FA Cups, one Football League Cup and one UEFA Champions League. Chelsea released the left back in 2013 where he went make 11 appearences over the course of 2 years at Roma. On 27th January 2016, Cole signed for LA Galaxy of MLS. He is commonly regarded by fellow professionals as one of the best left backs of his generation.

Robert Pires:
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Position: Left Midfield
Nationality: French
League Starts: 33 (Goals: 14)
Where are they now?
Substituted after only 18 minutes of the 2006 Champions League final against Barcelona for Manuel Almunia when Jens Lehmann was sent off, Highbury’s beloved ‘D’Artagnan’ walked off the pitch at the Stade de France with an utterly crestfallen countenance and never played for the Gunners again. Pires tried to persuade the club to offer him a two-year deal, but The Gunners rejected, leaving The Frenchman to join Villareal, with a further spell at Aston Villa. After joining FC Goa of the Indian Super League, he spent a year playing as a holding midfielder. Pirès was released by FC Goa on 13 March 2015. On 25 February 2016, fan favourite Pirès announced his retirement from professional football.

Gilberto Silva:

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Position: Defensive Midfield/Centre Midfield
Nationality: Brazilian
League Starts: 29 (Goals: 3)
Where are they now?
In 2008, Arsene Wenger released Gilberto Silva to Greek side Panathinaikos. The Brazilian announced his retirement from International duty in 2010 and moved back to his native, having spells at Gremio and Atletico Mineiro. He participated in a BT Sport documentary in 2010; “Gilberto’s Silva: Road to Rio” – in the build up to the 2014 World Cup. The documentary highlights the footballing society from the streets of Brazil and expressed it reminds him of growing up. On 11 December 2015, after two years without a club, he officially announced his retirement as a footballer, intending to pursue a career as an international consultant for clubs and players.

Patrick Vieira (C):
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Position: Defensive Midfield/Centre Midfield
Nationality: French
League Starts: 29 (Goals: 3)
Where are they now?
The captain of the Invincibles left Arsenal in 2005 for Juventus, where he won Serie A – although the title was later revoked due to the Italian match-fixing scandal. He went on to spend time at Inter Milan and a further 6 months at Manchester City. After retiring from professional football, he became the Head of Elite development at Manchester City. On November 9 2015, Patrick was announced as the new head coach of New York City FC from 1 January 2016 and was given a mandate by the club to reduce the average age of the squad. He made his managerial debut with the club in a 1-0 preseason friendly win versus OKC Energy. The former Arsenal captain’s team is unbeaten in preseason and he will take charge of his first Major League Soccer game on the road versus Chicago Fire on 6 March 2016.

Freddie Ljungberg:
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Position: Right Midfield
Nationality: Swedish
League Starts: 27 (Goals: 4)
Where are they now?
After departing Arsenal for a season at West Ham United in 2007, Ljungberg went off the radar and would go on to spells at Seattle Sounders and Chicago Fire before returning to Europe with a short stint at Celtic in 2011. In 2008, Ljungberg placed 11th in Arsenal.com’s Gunners’ Greatest 50 Players. Ljungberg was a model for Calvin Klein underwear until 2007. He previously represented brands such as Nike, Procter & Gamble, L’Oreal and currently represents Puma, ESPN and Pepsi, as well as running his own blog since October 2009. He is also the owner of multiple pubs, “Freddies”, which can be found in Sweden and appeared on BBC’s Match Of The Day twice in 2015.

Dennis Bergkamp:

Arsenal's Dennis Bergkamp (l) jumps to control the ball as Newcastle United's Andy O'Brien (r) looks on

Arsenal’s Dennis Bergkamp (l) jumps to control the ball as Newcastle United’s Andy O’Brien (r) looks on

Postion: Centre Forward
Nationality: Dutch
League Starts: 21 (7) (Goals: 4)
Where are they now?
Left on the bench throughout the 2006 Champions League final, Bergkamp retired after the match. His testimonial against Ajax opened the Emirates Stadium in July 2006 and began two years away from the game. Bergkamp is now at boyhood club Ajax and making a successful job of the role of assistant manager to Frank de Boer. Like Henry, Bergkamp has been honoured for his contributions to Arsenal with a statue outside Emirates Stadium. He is currently regarded as one of the most naturally gifted athletes of all time.

Thierry Henry:

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Position: Striker
Nationality: French
League Starts: 37 (Goals: 30)
Where are they now?
Perhaps Arsenal’s greatest ever player, Henry left Arsenal for Barcelona in 2007. After 3 years in Spain he joined New York Red Bulls scoring 51 goals in 122 appearances. Theirry made an emotional homecoming to the Emirates on a two-month loan in January 2012, scoring his 227th and 228th goals for the club. On 16 December 2014, he announced his retirement as a player and began working in London as a Sky Sports Analyst and Pundit.

Notable Players:
Edu: Currently a member of former club Corinthians’ hierarchy.
Ray Parlour: Made 25 league appearances, including substitutions, in 2003/04 in his final season at Arsenal. Now a media pundit making regular appearances on Sky Sports.
Sylvain Wiltord: Currently an ambassador for the French version of FootGolf.
Jose Reyes: Playing as a winger for Sevilla in La Liga.
Pascal Cygan: Played 10 times during the 2003/04 season. Retired in 2011 at the age of 37.

What are your favourite memories from The Invincibles?
Let me know your thoughts.

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