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Emmanuel "Manu" Laurent Petit (born 22 September 1970) is a French former football player, who played his club football for Monaco, Arsenal, Barcelona, and Chelsea. He represented France at international level, and scored the third goal in France's 3-0 victory in the 1998 FIFA World Cup Final.

Club career

Born in Dieppe, Seine-Maritimemarker, Normandy, Petit began his career at minor club ES Argues, before being signed by Arsène Wenger's AS Monaco at the age of 18. He made his debut soon after and played in the 1989 French Cup final. Petit became a regular at Monaco, at left back or centre back; in 1991 he won the Cup with Monaco, and also played in the 1992 European Cup Winners' Cup final (which Monaco lost to Werder Bremen). In 1996-97, his final season at Monaco he captained his side to the Ligue 1 title.

Petit joined Arsenal in June 1997 £2.5m, where he was reunited with his former Monaco manager, Arsène Wenger. Wenger switched Petit from centre-back to defensive midfielder, and partnered him with fellow Frenchman Patrick Vieira. The French duo formed a midfield partnership which brought instant success, as Petit won the Double with Arsenal in his very first season, clinching both the Premier League title and the FA Cup. Altogether, in the three seasons in his Arsenal career, Petit made 118 appearances and scored 11 goals, including a stunning drive from outside the area against Derby County (which was also the winning goal), during the 1997-98 season.

Petit moved to FC Barcelona (together with Arsenal team-mate Marc Overmars) in the summer of 2000 for £7m. At Barcelona he was moved back into defence, and suffered a rash of niggling injuries; as a result, he failed to settle and could not hold down a regular place. In his biography published in 2008, the midfielder gave his time at Barcelona a special chapter, in which he exposed that coach Llorenç Serra Ferrer didn't even know what position he played when he joined the team.

After his 1st season in Camp Nou, he was linked with moves back to England with Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea. He moved back to England to sign for Chelsea in 2001 for £7,500,000. He initially was a first-team regular for the Blues in a largely disappointing debut season and played in the 2002 FA Cup Final which Chelsea lost to his old club, Arsenal. He scored his first goal for Chelsea in a 2-1 win over Derby County in March 2002. His second season saw a significant improvement, as he formed an impressive midfield partnership with Frank Lampard as Chelsea impressed in the winner-takes-all final game of the season against Liverpool as Chelsea secured the 4th UEFA Champions League berth. He also scored twice throughout the season: against Everton in the League Cup and former club Arsenal in the league. However, after a series of knee injuries, he spent much of his final season of his career on the sidelines, and he was released on a free transfer in the summer of 2004. When Chelsea released him Arsenal were going to resign him but they decided not to after having a closer look at his fitness. After spending six months looking for a new club, including a training stint with Bolton Wanderers, Petit announced his retirement on 20 January 2005, when he found out he required a knee operation and would probably never regain full fitness.

International career

Playing for the France national team, Petit earned 63 caps and scored 6 international goals in his career and won the 1998 FIFA World Cup and the Euro 2000. He scored twice in the 1998 World Cup, the first came from a powerful shot from just outside the box against Denmark, which turned out to be the match winner, and a second in the final against Brazil. The goal he scored in the final was particularly memorable, as he had embarked on an optimistic run across field before calmly slotting in the goal in the final minute of stoppage time. That same goal happened to be the 1,000th goal in the history of the Fédération Française de Football, and the last World Cup goal of the Twentieth Century. France won the match 3-0. An earlier Petit corner kick had set up Zinedine Zidane's header for France's first goal. Petit was also part of the 2002 FIFA World Cup squad, which failed to advance past the group stages and failed to score a single goal in three matches during their defence of the trophy.

Personal life

Petit is married to the French actress Agathe de La Fontaine, and has worked in television himself. In 1998, he guest-starred in a Christmas episode of The Bill and he has also been a football analyst in France.

His brother Olivier was an amateur footballer when Petit was a teenager. While playing for his club Arques, Olivier collapsed and was rushed to hospital where he was pronounced dead due to a blood clot of the brain.

In July 1998 Petit won £17,000 worth of francs on a fruit machine in a Monte Carlo hotel.

Petit's squad number at all his clubs was 17.

Career statistics



1988-89 Monaco Division 1 9 0 -
1989-90 28 0 7 0
1990-91 27 1 5 0
1991-92 28 0 7 0
1992-93 25 1 -
1993-94 28 0 10 0
1994-95 25 1 -
1995-96 23 1 1 0
1996-97 29 0 7 0

1997-98 Arsenal Premier League 32 2 2 0
1998-99 26 4 3 0
1999-00 27 3 10 0

2000-01 Barcelona La Liga 23 1 10 0

2001-02 Chelsea Premier League 27 1 3 0
2002-03 24 1 1 0
2003-04 4 0 2 0

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