Emmanuel Petit: "Leaving Arsenal for Barcelona is my Biggest Regret"

Simon JohnsonCorrespondent ISeptember 8, 2008

Former Arsenal star Emmanuel Petit has said that his decision to leave Arsenal in 2000 to go to Barcelona was one of the biggest mistakes of his career.

According to Petit's new book, after wooing him from Arsenal the Catalan club treated him poorly. 

“I turned up for a friendly, and when I went in to meet my team mates most of them ignored me.”

This will be rather pleasing news to the told-you-so people who may remember how quickly the player ran to Barca at the time.

His first meeting with the Barca coach, Lorenzo Serra Ferra, also had its problems.

“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.”

Petit also said he had never met a man whose head "was more like a marble", indicating the relationship didn't improve.

His book also details how he was taken aside and told off by various senior players, including current manager Pep Guardiola.

The whole experience was so bad for Petit, he says that “each day that passed I was a day closer to freedom.”

Maybe he could have warned Thierry Henry BEFORE he left for Spain.

You have to wonder how many other players who have left the Gunners for glory have also thought this way once they arrive at their new clubs, once the hype has settled.

Is it a case of "take away Wenger and the Arsenal and the player is maybe a little less of a player"?

Or is Petit an oversensitive, whining prat?

You make the call...

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