Paris, January 21:
Emmanuel Petit announced his retirement on Friday, becoming the seventh member of France’s 1998 World Cup winning side to quit soccer. Petit’s departure is another reminder that France’s glory years may have ended as the current side struggles under coach Raymond Domenech.
Petit joins Laurent Blanc, Didier Deschamps, Alain Boghossian, Lionel Charbonnier, Stephane Guivarch and Bernard Lama. “I’ve earned a lot of money,” Petit said. “I have a career rich in achievements. But you have to stop one day.” A tenacious midfielder, 34-year-old Petit started out as a centre half with Monaco. He made his international debut at 19 in 1990 in a 0-0 draw against Poland and went on to win 63 caps, scoring six times. Switching to center midfield, he carved his name into French sporting history when he sprinted onto Patrick Vieira’s pass to slot in France’s third goal in the 3-0 ‘98 World Cup final win over Brazil.
“I was born on the 12th of July,” Petit told Friday’s edition of sports daily L’Equipe, referring to that match. “The World Cup enabled me to push open the doors I thought were always closed.” Petit was an integral part of France’s midfield during the successful European Championship campaign of 2000.