World Champion Emmanuel Petit Signed With Barcelona ‘For a Woman’ And Then Regretted It

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    The French midfielder, Emmanuel Petit has revealed the motivation behind his departure from Arsenal to join Barcelona in 2001.

    Emmanuel Petit, Image Credits- Wikipedia

    The 53-year-old, celebrated for his role in France’s 1998 World Cup victory, including a crucial goal in the final against Brazil, disclosed on ‘Stadium Astro‘ that his decision to leave Arsenal was influenced by a romantic relationship.


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    Reflecting on Choices: Emmanuel Petit’s Regrets and Lessons from Career Moves

    Petit stated that he had always liked Barcelona and Real Madrid, considering them two of the biggest clubs in the world. However, he mentioned that he should have stayed at Arsenal without a doubt.

    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 departing Arsenal in 2000 was a significant career misstep.

    Petit reflected that sometimes the situation isn’t necessarily better elsewhere and emphasized the importance of staying where one receives love, happiness, and success. He expressed that if he could go back in time, he would likely make a different decision.

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    Petit and Agathe de La Fontaine

    Petit married French actress Agathe de La Fontaine in 2000, but their marriage ended in divorce 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,” mentioned Petit, that he signed for Barcelona in a joint deal with Marc Overmars for 14 million euros.

    Emmanuel Petit was brought to Arsenal by his fellow countryman Arsene Wenger, with whom he had previously crossed paths at Monaco.

    Why Couldn’t Petit Succeed at Barcelona?

    Emmanuel Petit’s stint at Barcelona was relatively short-lived and marred by several challenges. After a successful three-year spell at Arsenal, he made a high-profile move to Barcelona. However, his time at the Catalan club was characterized by a series of setbacks.

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    Physically, Petit struggled with injuries, which hindered his ability to perform consistently at his best. Additionally, he encountered difficulties in communication and tactical understanding with Barcelona’s coach at the time, Lorenzo Serra Ferrer. In his biography, Petit openly criticized Ferrer, alleging that the coach lacked awareness of his preferred position on the pitch.

    The World Champion Emmanuel Petit Who Signed With Barcelona 'For a Woman' And Then Regretted It

    These issues, compounded by his injury woes, led to a lack of synergy between Petit and the Barcelona setup. Consequently, after just one season with the club, Petit decided to move on. He subsequently joined Chelsea, where he spent another three seasons before retiring in 2004 due to a knee injury. Despite his success at other clubs, Petit’s time at Barcelona remains a brief and somewhat turbulent chapter in his illustrious career.

    Petit’s Perspective: Arsenal’s Ascension in European Football

    Emmanuel Petit expressed his belief that Arsenal has solidified its position among the elite clubs in European football. In an interview with, Petit stated that Arsenal has demonstrated its merit to be considered among the continent’s finest.

    He said: “It’s a very open game, it’s going to be very interesting to see Harry Kane back at the Emirates. He just scored a hat-trick, I think he was injured at the weekend, but I don’t think it’s a big injury. I think Arsenal have something to prove against Bayern Munich. I think this is the next stage for them.” 


    They want to grow even more. The gap has been reduced with Manchester City and Liverpool, and now they can fight and look them in their eyes. Before, for the last few years, they were looking up, they were standing further up, Manchester City and Liverpool. Now they are on the same line and they’re looking straight in the eye.” 

    So this game for me, they are in the quarter-final, some people were saying that they are one of the favourites to win the Champions League. I think it’s too soon, but what they’re doing is the right way to grow, and to improve even more, and to fight against the best teams in Europe, which means Manchester City.” 

    So if they can fight and if they can look City in their eyes, why can’t they do that against Bayern Munich?

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