My Career: Emmanuel Petit

Ex-Arsenal & Chelsea star Emmanuel Petit talks World Cup glory, playing with Zola & being mates with Henry.

Last Updated: 18/11/13 at 18:17

Emmanuel Petit enjoyed a playing career which should be the envy of pretty much anybody with an interest in football.

Having been converted by Arsene Wenger from a defender to a midfielder when moving to Arsenal from Monaco, the suave Frenchman went on to win the Premier League and FA Cup Double in 1998.

As if that was not enough, just a few months later that year, Petit was a goalscorer alongside Zinedine Zidane in arguably the greatest France team in history as they famously beat Brazil 3-0 in the World Cup final in Paris.

Petit, who - although not a prolific scorer - had a habit of scoring spectacular and important goals, would also play for heavyweights Barcelona and Chelsea in his club career to add further glamour to his already impressive list of achievements.

And, as his former clubs - Arsenal and Chelsea - prepare to meet in the fourth round of the Capital One Cup, Petit talks Sky Sports through playing with the likes of Dennis Bergkamp, Gianfranco Zola and Zidane, scoring in a World Cup final, trying to stop Luis Figo, and counting Thierry Henry, Robert Pires and Patrick Vieira as mates.

Finest Hour - Winning The World Cup

"It was something very special for me, because I had won the Premier League and FA Cup Double with Arsenal just a couple of weeks before. In the space of two months, I had the most beautiful time of my life. When I try and remember the day of winning the World Cup, I remember just after I had scored the goal. I fell on the floor and I saw Patrick [Vieira] running to me to celebrate the goal and the victory. I remember the noise after the final whistle. It was deafening and I could not hear a thing. That was very special."


Favourite Goal - Arsenal 1 Derby 0, April 1998

In the French history of football, defensive midfielders were not famous for scoring goals. It was different when I came to England, because the mentality and the way of playing football changed a lot. I really enjoyed my time in England
Emmanuel Petit

"Of course there is the goal in the World Cup final. But I also remember a goal I scored for Arsenal at Highbury against Derby County. It was a game in hand we had and we needed to win it to keep the pressure on Manchester United. It was a tough game on a cold English night. I scored a long-range goal and we won the game 1-0. That was very important. I liked scoring goals from long distance but, for me, it was a little bit strange. I started as a defender before moving to midfield. In the French history of football, defensive midfielders were not famous for scoring goals. It was different when I came to England, because the mentality and the way of playing football changed a lot. I really enjoyed my time in England."

Toughest Opponent - Luis Figo

"The pace, the skill, the vision, the movement - Figo was so gifted and so talented. Every time he ran with the ball, it was almost impossible to stop him. In games between France and Portugal and, even if we beat Portugal, I always remember the way Figo played. He was so difficult to defend against."

Most Talented Team-mate - Too Many To Choose

"I played with some beautiful players, like Zinedine Zidane, Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp, Gianfranco Zola and Patrick Vieira. To name one would be disrespectful to the others so I prefer to name a few of them. They all had different personalities, different ways of playing and different skills. Zidane was an artist with the ball, Henry was probably one of the most powerful players and Vieira had the leadership skills. They were all different in terms of their impact on the game but they were all very strong."

Football hero - Michel Platini

"When I was a kid, he was the main man in France's national team. But I also liked some foreign players, like Argentina's Mario Kempes. I also loved watching the Brazilian team which included players like Socrates. I always loved watching skilled and gifted players but also those who had something else in terms of personality whether as a gentleman or on the pitch. It does not matter if you have to beat people in football but do it with class."

Best Mate In Football - French Friends

"I was with William Gallas the other day. I also keep in touch with guys like Lilian Thuram, Robert Pires, Patrick and even Thierry, who I met last year. But it is difficult, because we live different lives now with different responsibilities."

Emmanuel Petit was talking to Sky Sports on behalf of Capital One, the credit card company and sponsors of The League Cup. Round 4 of the Capital One Cup takes place from 29th October.

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