Football

Emmanuel Petit was fated by injury in his final season at Chelsea.

Emmanuel Petit heavily criticises former club Chelsea and Roman Abramovich

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It seemingly doesn't matter who you are, as a footballer you can be subject to some tough treatment by your employers at times.

Former France international Emmanuel Petit has bizarrely made a very late decision to criticise his former club, Chelsea, whom he believes treated him unfairly, alongside owner Roman Abramovich, 12 years after leaving the Blues.

Following a successful career which saw the midfielder feature for AS Monaco, Arsenal and Barcelona, it was fair to believe at the time that he would be a success in west London, too. But having made a £7.5 million move from the Camp Nou in 2001, his three years in the capital did not go as he had hoped.

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After two years as a first-team regular, a series of debilitating knee injuries saw the Frenchman drop down former Chelsea boss Claudio Ranieri's pecking order, and ended his Blues career with a whimper in his final season at Stamford Bridge.

A 2002 FA Cup final and qualification for the Champions League on the final day of the 2002/03 was all Petit had to show for his second spell in London, shortly before Abramovich's takeover of Chelsea was completed.

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However, for Petit, it was the manner in which he saw his Chelsea career come to an end that has left the former France international still angry, even 12 years on from quitting the game.

Petit left disgusted

"I really didn't like the way it ended in the dressing room, with the medical staff and the president [Abramovich] at Chelsea," Petit told SFR Sport 1's The Locker Room, as reported by ESPN. "I was even disgusted. That's why I left and didn't give them any news about me after that.

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"My performances had been suffering because my knee was a mess, but I put things off. I hid the truth from the medical staff. I still had the hunger."

Chelsea released Petit in the summer of 2004, and it took the Frenchman until the new year to decide his incredible football career was over, which had included some unforgettable moments; like winning the World Cup and European Championships with France and an FA Cup and Premier League double with Arsenal.

Confronted with normal life

"I found life extremely bland," Petit admitted. "I didn't find the same team spirit in real life. When you're in a dressing room, you're focused on your objectives.

"When you leave it, when you're confronted with 'normal' life, so to speak, I didn't always find the same feeling of solidarity among people. I found life very bland, I found people very boring for a few years.

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"It's a 'little death' to end your career like that, and that is why I was fortunate to have my family around me. I wouldn't say I was depressed, but I had that feeling of blandness every day. You get up, but you don't know why you get up."

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