Emmanuel Petit: Biography and Exclusive Interviews

Updated: 194 Football

Explore the illustrious career, personal life, and enduring legacy of French football legend, Emmanuel Petit, in this comprehensive article.

Emmanuel Petit: Biography and Exclusive Interviews
Steve Madgwick Editor-In-Chief

Editor-In-Chief with 20 years experience covering the betting angles to breaking news stories. Daily slots player, Portsmouth fan and League Snooker Player

Renowned for his strength on the field and calm demeanour off it, Emmanuel Petit is a key figure in French football history. This article provides a concise exploration of Petit's early life, football career including the Premier League with Arsenal and Chelsea; his significant accomplishments, his personal life, and his endeavours post-football. 

From World Cup Winner to Top Football Pundit

All about Emmanuel Petit. From his beginnings in Dieppe, France, to his indelible impact on global football. Before our insightful interviews, we chronicle Petit's early introduction to football, his professional career and achievements, his life post-career, and his personal life. We conclude by sharing his responses to our questions in our exclusive OLBG interview with him.

Kickin' It With Emmanuel Petit 🏆⚽

Discover the journey of football legend Emmanuel Petit, from his beginnings in Dieppe 🇫🇷 to World Cup glory 🌍🏆 and onto a successful post-career as a top pundit. His impact on and off the pitch continues. Tune in for our exclusive interview 🎙️

Early Life and Introduction to Football:

Emmanuel Petit was born on September 22, 1970, in Dieppe, France. Growing up in a sporting family, Petit was destined for a career in sports. His football journey began with Arques-la-Bataille, a small club located in his hometown, before he joined the AS Monaco youth team in 1983.

Football Career and Achievements:

Petit's professional career began at AS Monaco, under the tutelage of Arsène Wenger. He won his first French Championship during the 1987-88 season. In 1997, Wenger, now at English club Arsenal, signed Petit and he played a crucial role in winning the double in the 1997-98 season.

Arsene Wenger took Petit from Monaca to Arsenal

Petit’s biggest achievement came in 1998 while representing the French national team. He scored the third goal in the FIFA World Cup Final against Brazil, helping France secure their first World Cup victory. Following his success at Arsenal, Petit spent a season at Barcelona before ending his career at Chelsea F.C.

Post-Career Life and Impact on Football:

In 2004, Petit retired from professional football. His transition into a football pundit for French television was seamless. He continues to inspire upcoming footballers and remains an influential figure in the sport. Petit also co-founded a recruitment company specific for football players, demonstrating his commitment to the sport beyond his playing days.

Personal Life:

Off the field, Emmanuel Petit is known for his calm and composed demeanor. He is partnered to Maria Servello and has a daughters named Zoe and Violet. Petit also takes part in charitable activities, most notably as the godfather to Les Petits Princes, an association working for sick children.


Emmanuel Petit leaves an indelible mark on the world of football. His artistic midfield play, important career goals, and major contributions to French and English football will forever engrave his name in the annals of soccer history. He remains a popular figure in football, renowned for his sportsmanship, skill, and integrity.

Stay tuned for our exclusive interviews with Emmanuel Petit, where he discusses his football journey, career highlights, post-football life, and his views on the current state of the sport.

Emmanuel Petit Interview November 2023

Speaking to OLBG, former Arsenal, Chelsea and France star Emmanuel Petit believes Arsenal can forget about signing Real Madrid ace Aurélien Tchouaméni and thinks Cole Palmer is already one of the Blues’ best players.

Man City still win the league despite Gary Neville’s claim, Arsenal should pounce for Bernardo Silva and Alan Shearer should be careful with Nicolas Jackson criticism

Emmanuel Petit - Former Frech Footballer and World Cup Winner

Q. What did you think of Arsenal’s game against Sheffield United?

EP: ''I thought Arsenal started sloppily against Sheffield United, as usual! Arsenal started sloppily in the game, but step by step, they built and controlled the game. The first half wasn't good enough and it was obvious some players can't handle, both physically and mentally, playing every three days. 

“Rotation is not huge at Arsenal, but Nketiah's goal just before half-time gave Arsenal a lot of confidence and gave them a mental advantage. The second half only had one team on the pitch, but let's not forget that Sheffield United have lost nine out of their ten games! It was a good win and the goal difference will be good for the table. The victory was needed after dropping points to Chelsea last week.''

Q. Gary Neville thinks Arsenal will win the league. Do you agree?

EP: ''I like Gary Neville, but I think he's putting pressure on Arsenal because he hates Manchester City! I believe that Arsenal will try everything they can to fight until the end, but I still think that, despite their position in the table, this season will be much more difficult than last season. Arsenal are playing Champions League football and that will have an effect on their energy and commitment. The other teams at the top of the table have changed a lot since last season, and Arsenal's win over Man City gave the impression that the gap is getting smaller. I still believe Arsenal have a chance to win the league, but the main team is still Manchester City.

“The gap has been reduced, but I'm not sure it's enough of a margin for Arsenal to go all the way. Look at what's happened to them at the end of the last two seasons - especially during the last six weeks of the season. Important players have been injured, and when I look at Arsenal's squad, they've improved, but they're still missing one or two players, especially when the big injuries come. Important players have been injured this season, though, and the Arsenal squad looks better overall compared to last year. Man City will still win the league, I believe. Look at what happened yesterday at Old Trafford! 

“The Manchester derby is a huge clash, and City showed how much they enjoy their football. Rodri's back and he's the symbol of their team. City always play the same way, and they kill their opponents. Arsenal can reduce the gap, but I think they're still behind City.” 

Current Premier League Winners Betting Odds

England Premier League 2023/24 17 Feb @ 00:59 - Win Tournament
Man City 1.57
Liverpool 3.50
Arsenal 6.00
Tottenham 51.00
Man Utd 251.00

Q. David Raya has come in for Aaron Ramsdale recently, but had a difficult time against Chelsea and Sevilla, what do you think of that decision now?

EP: ''I don't like the decision Arsenal made in regards to swapping their goalkeeper. I didn't like it when PSG did it with Gianluigi Donnarumma and Keylor Navas, either! It puts trouble in the team and in the dressing room. Egos, as we know, are very big in football. Ramsdale played well last season and he's done a great overall job since joining the club. Raya has been put into the first eleven straight away, even after making a few mistakes. 

Emmanuel Petit Speaks Out on Goalkeeper Swap Situation

⚽️Emmanuel Petit isn't a fan of Arsenal's goalkeeper swap 🔄 believes it brews trouble in the team and dressing room. Ramsdale's situation? He sympathises. While he understands the desire for competitive keepers, Petit thinks clarity and honesty are essential 👥🗣️

“It must be hard for Ramsdale to cope with this situation! He can fight, but apart from that, what can he do? At the end of the day, Raya will play even if he makes mistakes. I don't like this situation. I know Mikel Arteta and I know Arsenal want to have two great 'keepers across the competitions. I can understand that, but you need to have a number one and a number two, and be clear and honest about that. Goalkeepers are a unique position in the team - you don't interact with them in the same way you would with outfield players. You need to be very careful. I don't like the situation at the moment.’’

Q. Fresh reports have stated that Aurélien Tchouaméni is Arsenal’s number one transfer target - would he be a good fit in the Premier League?

EP: ''Of course Aurélien Tchouaméni would be a good fit in the Premier League! However, we need to consider what he'd say if we asked him whether he wanted to stay at Real Madrid or come to the Premier League! This is his second season playing for Madrid and he's already won silverware. 

“He plays every week, but he was injured last weekend and he'll be out for a couple of weeks. If I was Aurélien, with full respect for the Premier League and most of the clubs, I'd consider the fact that I play every week for the biggest club in the world! Do you think I'd leave Real Madrid to come to the Premier League? I don't think so. I'd stay where I am.''

Q. Who should Arsenal sign in January? Ivan Toney and Ousmane Dembele have been linked.

Emmanuel Petit on Ousmane Dembélé and Ivan Toney

🧐 Criticizes Dembélé's performance at PSG 😬, praises Ivan Toney’s impact at Brentford FC 👏, and encourages Arsenal to sign him in January.⚽🔜🔴 Petit believes Toney's

EP: ''Ousmane Dembele is struggling as he's under massive pressure at PSG. He wastes chances on many occasions and he's not scoring goals. It's been a difficult start for him, so I can't say Dembele for Arsenal. I'm a huge fan of Ivan Toney. He's done a great job with Brentford ever since they came up from the Championship, and I'm not surprised that they're struggling without him, even if they beat Chelsea at the weekend. 

“Brentford are not the same team without Toney and the package he brings - his goals, mentality, and behavior. Whoever gets Toney in January, if he does leave, will have gotten a great bargain. If Arsenal have a chance to sign him, they should go for him. I really like the fact he'll play with revenge as that's a massive source of motivation and it's hard to get from outside the football bumble. Toney will be a changed man once he steps on the pitch in January.''

Q. Pedro Neto is another name linked. Would that be a good move?

Emmanuel Petit's Insight on Arsenal's Midfield Situation

🌟 Neto is electric but does Arsenal need him? 😔Missed chances with Doku & Saint-Maximin. Arsenal needs a dynamic midfielder like Bellingham🔥following Partey's injuries and Odegaard's fatigue.

EP: ''I think Pedro Neto is a young prospect. He's not scoring many goals, but he's delivered seven assists this season. Neto has played 100 games for Wolves already, and he's delivered 17 total assists. He's an exciting prospect and he's electric. He's a good player who is playing for his national team, but I'm not sure if Arsenal need him. I was upset when City signed Jeremy Doku as he could have played for Arsenal! I thought the same thing when Allain Saint-Maximin left Newcastle to go to Saudi Arabia as he would've been good for Arsenal, too. 

“At the moment, I think Arsenal need another midfielder because they're struggling with injuries. Thomas Partey has been injured for so long since his arrival, Jorginho can't play every game, and Emile Smith-Rowe has just come back. I also think Martin Odegaard is starting to look a bit fatigued. Arsenal need to have a quality midfielder. I'd love to see a player like Jude Bellingham! Someone who creates, builds the game, scores, assists, and everything else in midfield! He's the signing of my dreams, but I think Arsenal need someone like him.''

Q. I think every club would love to have Jude Bellingham! If not him, though, are there any more midfielders you'd like to see Arsenal sign?

EP - ''I would love to see Bernardo Silva at Arsenal. He was great at Old Trafford. Arsenal need a player like him - one who can play in every single position. You know he's going to play well no matter where you stick him. His passes are great and he's so intelligent tactically. He's also perfect in the dressing room! He can do so many things on the pitch.''

Q. Arsenal’s next league game is against Newcastle at St. James’ Park. What are you predicting for that?

EP: ''Both teams are involved in the Champions League. I was at St. James' Park during the PSG game and Newcastle were great. I know that, at home, it's very difficult to get a point from Newcastle, so Arsenal know exactly what is waiting for them! They'll play against a compact team with an immense fighting spirit. The Arsenal fans will be in good form as it's a top-of-the-table clash. It'll be difficult, but if Arsenal can keep their freshness and composure, I think they can win and get a very good result.”

Newcastle v Arsenal Betting Odds

These odds will only be visible prior to the game commencing

England Premier League 2023/24 17 Feb @ 00:59 - Win Tournament
Man City 1.57
Liverpool 3.50
Arsenal 6.00
Tottenham 51.00
Man Utd 251.00

Q. Arsenal won 2-0 at St. James' Park last season. How do you see this game going in terms of score?

EP: ''I think it'll be a game that Bukayo Saka can do something in. I like Dan Burn, but he's tall and heavy, and that can make it difficult to cope against Saka.''

Q. What did you think of Chelsea’s game against Brentford?

EP: ''I was at Chelsea's game against Arsenal last week and I saw Chelsea play with so much character and composure. I think they deserved to win! I think that's the best performance I've seen from Chelsea this season. It's a pity for Chelsea as you could argue that Pochettino was finally starting to change the results and overall mentality. 

“I thought Brentford kept their defensive organisation very well and they frustrated Chelsea all the time. They were also clinical up front when the chances came, too. When you look at Chelsea, you could see and feel their lack of confidence. It wasn't the case against Arsenal because it was a derby and they were playing against a team who are fighting for the same position they are. 

“I can't find an answer to why Chelsea are so scared to play at home sometimes! I thought they looked scared of losing the ball, missing a pass, and being caught in the wrong position. It was frustrating to watch from the outside because you could feel that things were getting better, yet they reverted to type against Brentford. It's difficult to find a solution.''

Q. Alan Shearer was very critical of Nicolas Jackson. Are you concerned by him?

Emmanuel Petit's Take on Chelsea Struggles

🗣️Emmanuel Petit defends Chelsea players 💙⚽ amid criticisms. Urges patience 😌, not finger-pointing 🚫👉. He believes in Pochettino & team, asks for time ⏳

EP: ''Former players need to be really careful when they point fingers at individual players, especially when the player is part of a struggling side. Chelsea have signed so many new players and they've been struggling both on and off the pitch for 18 months. Putting money on the table doesn't mean you'll win the league or qualify for the Champions League

“I can see where Shearer is coming from, but I won't point fingers at Chelsea players. There are so many things to improve, and there has been a curse on the number 9 shirt ever since Drogba left! It'll take time, but we all know that Chelsea don't get time and neither will Pochettino. There's no Champions League for Chelsea this season, and it'll be very disappointing if they don't finish high up in the league. 

“That will mean two years of no Champions League! I can't blame the players because you can see they're doing the best they can. Some players aren't playing with confidence and the side is still trying to figure out the best links during play. Pochettino needs time, and I won't be the one to fall on players - especially the number nine!”

Q. Where do you see Chelsea finishing this season?

EP: ''I think Chelsea will finish in the European places, but they will have to fight hard. They won't get the top four, but they have a chance to play in the Europa League or the Conference League. They're not far away from that and there a few other teams who will fight for those positions, but Chelsea will be among them.''

Q. So you're predicting 5th-8th for Chelsea?

EP: ''Yes, but I think even that will be difficult. Just look at how many teams are competing for those places! This is the most difficult league in the world. This is not Spain, Germany, France, or Italy, this is England, where eight teams are fighting for the Premier League! It's unbelievable. It's so difficult to come back from a slow start because any team can beat you - even the bottom side. For me, Chelsea won't finish on the podium. That's for sure.''

Q. Chelsea’s next league game is against Tottenham, away from home. What are you predicting for that game?

England Premier League 2023/24 17 Feb @ 00:59 - Win Tournament
Man City 1.57
Liverpool 3.50
Arsenal 6.00
Tottenham 51.00
Man Utd 251.00

EP: ''It's funny how destiny can put things on the table. Pochettino is back at White Hart Lane, and we all know how good of a job he did there. We all know the love the players and fans have for him. Chelsea are struggling and the manager is struggling to put his vision on the pitch whilst his old club are flying. Harry Kane was the main man over there for ages, but now he's gone and then the team started to gel. Some of it is down to the manager, but the gap left by Harry Kane has caused the other players to step up. 

“The confidence that Ange Postecoglou has instilled in the players is amazing, especially in midfield. You can see they play as friends and they're enjoying their football - and that's so important. The Marseille manager said that the manager should always talk about players in press conferences if they're not happy. It's impossible for every player to always be happy, but you must work at it. 

“Pochettino has tried to get that with his team, but I'm not sure how many players are arriving with a smile on their face. Compare that to Tottenham! You can see the support from the managers and the players. They're enjoying it, and that's so important for me.” 

Q. You formed an impressive midfield duo with Frank Lampard at Chelsea, Patrick Vieira at Arsenal and Zinedine Zidane for France. How do you compare Jude Bellingham to those?

EP: ''Patrick Viera was a warrior on the pitch and he could boss the midfield on his own. He was the link between the defence and the attack. Zidane conjured the attack and he could control games, passing the ball at the right times and dictating the play. Bellingham can do anything he wants. He can be both of those things! He can build the play from the back, he can be box-to-box, and he can be in the penalty area making the difference. 

Patrick Viera: A 'Warrior' According to Emmanuel Petit - Credit: lev radin / Shutterstock.com

“He's 20 years old and I can't remember the last time a player that young came into the greatest club in the world and became their best player. It's beyond nonsense sometimes! I didn't watch El Clasico, but I watched it on the news. I thought 'Him again?! How can this happen?'. I thought it was against statistics! It's crazy, and it's like he's walking on water.

Q. Who was the last player to give you that feeling?

EP: “I think Thierry Henry was the last player to give me that feeling. Every time he got the ball, you knew he'd make a difference. When you're struggling and you're struggling to score, you put your confidence in special players. Bellingham is unbelievable! I had heard that, prior to his goals, he didn't play well, but when it came time to make a difference, he did it. That's what great players do. They always make the difference, even if they disappear for 60 minutes. They only need one chance.”

Q. Who comes to mind when I ask you who Chelsea's best performer is?

EP: ''I really like Raheem Sterling and Cole Palmer. I was surprised to see Palmer leave City. I liked seeing his tussle with Sterling over the penalty the other week because it's exactly what Chelsea need. They need players to step up and take responsibility. Palmer is one of those players. So far, I really like how Sterling has started this season and I was surprised not to see him in the England side. Conor Gallagher is another one I like, too. 

“I liked him when he played at Palace, and he's had some difficulty since coming back to Chelsea. I like him, though, and I want those three to step up more. That's what the fans want to see. When big players like Chliwell are injured, those players should aim to step up and take ownership.''

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