Emmanuel Petit: The world champion who signed for Barcelona ‘for a woman’ and then regretted it


Emmanuel Petit has confessed the reason as to why he left Arsenal to sign for Barcelona back in 2001.

The French midfielder, who won the 1998 World Cup with France and scored a goal in the final against Brazil, revealed on ‘Stadium Astro’ that he left Arsenal for a woman.

“I always liked Barcelona and Real Madrid, two of the biggest clubs in the world. But I should have stayed at Arsenal, definitely,” said Petit, acknowledging that leaving Arsenal in 2000 was a big mistake in his career.

Petit married French actress Agathe de La Fontaine in 2000 and they divorced in 2002.

“You know, sometimes the grass is not greener on the other side. It is better to stay where you are when you receive love, happiness and success. If I could go back in time, I would probably make a different decision,” said Petit, who signed for Barcelona for 14 million euros in a joint deal with Marc Overmars.

Emmanuel Petit was signed for Arsenal by his compatriot Arsene Wenger, with whom he coincided at Monaco.

Why didn’t Petit succeed at Barcelona?

After three seasons at Arsenal he signed for Barcelona, where he only played one season before signing for Chelsea, a team for which he played for another three seasons until his retirement in 2004 due to a knee injury.

At Barcelona, Petit’s performance was hampered by physical problems and his lack of understanding with coach Lorenzo Serra Ferrer – in his biography the French footballer accuses the Spanish coach of not even knowing his position on the pitch.





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