Sunny Spain

French star says leaving Arsenal is the biggest regret of his life

Former Gunner’s book shows how fancy transfers aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. Take heed Robinho…

Thierry Henry might be thinking it, but Emmanuel Petit has come out and said it – baling out of Arsenal to join Barcelona was the biggest mistake he ever made. This will come as excellent news of the serves-you-right variety to all those Gunners’ fans who remember the eagerness with which Petit scarpered in 2000, although it may bring a degree of gallic bafflement to the face of Patrick Vieira, whom Petit openly encouraged to join him in Spain at the time by testifying as to Barcelona’s all-round wonderfulness.

Alas, according to Petit’s new book, the Catalans treated him like just another chump, even though they weren’t apparently as clever with the cash as they traditionally like to think they are. “I was making 150,000 euros a month. So I asked Gaspart (Barcelona vice-president) for twice that. He wavered but agreed eventually.”

The freshly enriched Petit then trotted off to join the squad in Holland, where they had already begun their pre-season rituals. His joy at doubling his salary didn’t last long. “I turned up for a friendly, and when I went in to meet my team mates most of them ignored me.”

His first meeting with coach Lorenzo Serra Ferrer wasn’t a whole lot more rewarding. “The night I arrived, the boss asked another French player, Richard Dutruel, to translate. Richard, visibly embarrassed, told me not to laugh, but said the boss wanted to know what my best position was! I thought he was joking. But I soon realised I was only there as part of Gaspart’s plot to become president.” Before long his relationship with Serra Ferrer had reached such a low Petit observes “I have never met anyone whose head is more like a marble.”

The book goes on to detail how various senior Barcelona players, including current coach Pep Guardiola, took him to one side to tell him off like a schoolboy, and the day he wanted to smash Jose Mari Bakero’s face in. Indeed so unpleasant was the experience that “each day that passed I was a day closer to freedom.” This could be Mandela speaking! Who says Sepp Blatter was wrong about slavery? If only Manu had warned Thierry in time, though, another Frenchman could have been spared the agony…


8 responses so far
  • Southern media // September 8, 2008 at 6:54 pm

    Moral of the story: power-crazed loons – when trying to buy success, don’t buy whiny egomaniacs who would blame every last living creature, not to mention the ball, the pitch, the weather, the economy and all of history before accepting any responsibility themselves. Well done Barcelona for turning your back on the man.

  • STEPHEN // September 8, 2008 at 7:05 pm

    Take arsene wenger out of these players lives and they are never as good.

  • Austingunner // September 8, 2008 at 7:50 pm

    If they are “power-crazed loons” then why are you lauding them?

  • thenry // September 8, 2008 at 7:53 pm

    and to think there are stupid so called Arsenal fans that want Wenger out because he does not spend in the market.

    petits view of the barca sounds horrible, having factions that wont mix in a dressing room is a rcepie for disaster.

    Without Wenger most players that leave Arsenal never perform to the same levels as they did in their careers at Arsenal.

    ARSENE KNOWS!!!!!!!!!!

  • Jack // September 9, 2008 at 9:29 am

    One can only hope that Mr Hleb is undergoing similar mental torture. Poor lamb.

  • Guru // September 9, 2008 at 12:00 pm

    Where is Reyes… oh damn… u r with monaco??? hahahahahahahahahahahahahhaha… got kicked out by both madrids?? hahahahahahahahahahahahaha

  • Powelly // September 9, 2008 at 12:53 pm

    According to some dopey wop on the net Wenger is going to AC Milan next season. What a load of crap that is!!!! These people just don’t know what rubbish to churn out next!!!!

  • maria // September 11, 2008 at 6:34 am

    lllllooooooooooooooooooooool serves him and overmars right i mean his got to be jokin right??? didnt he no that vieria was the only one that made him look half decent oh well these morons dont seem to learn…flamini i mean seriously does he really think his world class without cesc??????????? if so god help him

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