Emmanuel Petit has revealed he still regrets leaving Arsenal for Barcelona and then joining Chelsea rather than Manchester United.
Petit, 44, won a Premier League and FA Cup double with the Gunners in the 1997-98 season before leaving London for Barcelona in 2000.
He soon regretted his decision after being deployed at left-back by the Catalans, however, before later making what he now admits was another mistake in joining Chelsea rather than Manchester United a year later.
“I made a lifestyle choice to the detriment of the sporting choice,” he told football365.fr.
“And on the rare occasions that I’ve made that choice, I’ve got it wrong. It was the same thing when I left Barcelona to go back to Chelsea.
“I gave priority to the social life in London when [Sir Alex] Ferguson expected me to sign for Manchester United.
“My wife didn’t want to go to Manchester. I’m really annoyed at myself — I should have insisted upon my decision.”
Petit, who is promoting his new book “Franc-tireur” (“Maverick”), also spoke of his relationship with his former Arsenal and France midfield team-mate Patrick Vieira.
“In a very macho environment, it’s difficult to show your feelings because you are partners and rivals in the same team,” Petit said of Vieira.
“But our partnership worked wonders for years at Arsenal and it went beyond sport. We don’t call each other every week but every time we do, it’s like we’d gone our separate ways the day before.”