Last updated on June 9th, 2023 at 06:00 PM
In anticipation of tomorrow’s highly anticipated UEFA Champions League final, I had the privilege of engaging in an enlightening Q&A session with Patrick Vieira, renowned for his impressive career as a midfielder for prestigious clubs like Manchester City and Inter Milan.
This remarkable opportunity was made possible through the gracious support of Expedia.
Vieira, speaking at the launch of Expedia Live’s ‘Soundscape of Being There’ report, which celebrates the iconic sounds of travelling for football ahead of the UEFA Champions League final.
Sounds of Football/Travel focused:
SH: What are some of the most memorable sounds you’ve experienced during your football career?
PV: The best sound that comes to my mind straight away is fans singing my name because you always felt the passion and the love from the fans. It definitely is my best memory throughout my career.
SH: Is there one sound you love to hear during the game or in the stadium and one you hate?
PV: The sound I really love is the Arsenal fans singing the Vieira song. The one I hated was against United when the fans were singing “give giggsy the ball”.
Those songs play a big part in the atmosphere in the stadium because from playing time, those sounds would give you the adrenaline you needed for the match and would be unbelievable.
SH: How did the sounds of different stadiums & crowds influence your performance on the pitch?
PV: Sounds of different stadiums give you energy on the pitch but when its negative chants or cheers, it can give you the butterflies and hunger to perfom in a better way. Football and players can’t do without that sound inside a stadium.
SH: What’s the loudest stadium you’ve ever played in? Is that the stadium you think all football fans need to experience at least once?
PV: One of the best atmospheres I would say has to be in Liverpool because when all the fans are singing “You’ll never walk alone”, that is something that is unbelievable to experience.
The sound, atmosphere, the passion. And in one way, the away team really feel the pressure to step up, that song gives the players a momentum to really perform at their best. I believe they leave the Liverpool players feeling like their fans are extra players on the pitch.
SH: What is it about the things you hear at the stadium that make the experience like nothing you can replicate by watching on TV at home
PV: The banter between fans, the lows and highs during games, and the mood and atmosphere at the stadium are always changing depending on how the team is performing, which is very unique because you can be in a positive mood and then down if there is a goal. You go through all the emotions in a stadium, which is why we all love the game.
SH: Can you describe the sounds you heard as a player during some of your most iconic matches?
PV: When you win games and see the joy you bring to fans, and look at the expression on their face, how happy they can be, and of course, when your team is winning and fans are very loud creating this atmosphere, it makes the game really special.
SH: Looking back on your career, what role have sounds played in shaping your experiences and memories?
PV: As a player, I need that atmosphere, the sounds in the stadium to get the best of me. I was the sort of player where sound and atmosphere could make me react and perform at my best.
And that is for me a proof of love with the fans and appreciation. And of course, when being away from home, the negative songs always cannibalise my energy and appetite to go and perform.
SH: How many times have you visited Istanbul/Turkey?
PV: I’ve been a couple of times for football and then with my family, and I’ll be there this year for the final, so i am really looking forward to the game and obviously I’m looking forward to the atmosphere because Istanbul is a city of football.
SH: What is your favourite place to visit in Istanbul, and what sounds make it unique?
PV: I don’t have one favourite place, I like to taste the local food, feel the local atmosphere and do things I normally wouldn’t when I travel. Every time I’ve been there, I’ve managed to watch a game. The noise from those games in Istanbul is unbelievable.
SH: How does the sound of the crowd at Istanbul’s stadiums compare to other footballing cities you’ve visited?
PV: Istanbul fans really have the love and passion for their team, you either love it or hate it. That creates something really special whenever I go to watch games there, it is a crazy atmosphere.
SH: What advice would you give to someone visiting Istanbul for a football match for the first time, in terms of experiencing the sounds of the city?
PV: The advice is to be well prepared when you’re travelling and of course, to visit the markets because the markets are really flamboyant. There are the noises, the talking, and the confusion at the same time, but it is a really memorable experience.
SH: What was your favourite city to visit during your playing time? Why did you love it?
PV: One of the countries that really surprised me was Brazil for the World Cup, I went to Rio. I went to Copacabana and the joy from the people playing football on the beach, their laughs and smiles, it felt like a very warm and welcoming atmosphere. I really enjoyed that experience when I was there.
In Europe, I loved watching the AC Milan v Inter derby. I was really amazed by the atmosphere when I was there. Being a player in the derby, you never realise what is happening around the field.
When I walked around and could see the fans, feel their energy, that started to build up the pressure and the atmosphere. The fans have a song for Pioli, and that gave me goosebumps and was fantastic to hear and witness.
SH: What is your prediction for the UCL final this year?
PV: I believe it will be a really big game of football because they both play different styles. City are the favourites to win the competition, but it won’t be that easy.
Italian teams defend really well and will have a tough defence on the day. It’ll be very difficult to predict who will win that game.
SH: You played 76 UCL games, what do you remember from your first UCL game?
The first game and memory is always the music because it makes you understand that you’re playing in the Champions League.
The anthems also mean a lot to players because it’s what makes you realise you’ve made it to the Champions League. It’s what I always wanted as a player – to perform in the biggest competitions.
SH: How did you feel when the UCL anthem rang out for the first time?
PV: I can’t tell you who the match was against but I’m sure about the music, its a strong memory that goes through my head. I felt so proud in that moment hearing the anthem for the first time.
SH: Seeing AC Milan and FC Internazionale Milano reach the semi-finals this year, does it make you want to coach a club in Italy?
PV: I always hope that one day I will coach in Italy because the experience I had over there was brilliant. I loved the culture, the quality of life, and I loved the football over there.
The passion from the fans, the atmosphere in the stadiums, and the professionalism of the players is inspirational. I hope one day to have the opportunity to coach in Italy.
SH: What advice would you give to players who are playing in this competition for the first time?
PV: To enjoy the moment and to be proud because you sacrificed a lot and worked so hard, committed a lot to yourself to play the biggest competition. Enjoy the moment because time flies.
SH: In your opinion which is the loudest stadium or which team has the loudest fans in France?
PV: The best clubs in France have to be between Marseille, RC Lens and Paris Saint Germain. Being a Saint Germain fan, it’s difficult for me to say Marseille but I have to say Marseille has the loudest fans and atmospheres in France. The fans are crazy behind the team, making unbelievable sounds and never stop their singing.
SH: In your opinion which is the loudest stadium or which team has the loudest fans in the UK?
PV: Outside of Arsenal, I would have to say, Liverpool. Liverpool fans are unbelievable. And Newcastle too. In summer, in winter, Newcastle fans are always there creating an atmosphere that a player would want to witness every week in a stadium.
Patrick Vieira was speaking at the launch of Expedia Live’s ‘Soundscape of Being There’ report. For further information and to hear more about the sounds that shaped Vieira’s career, visit Expedia Live: