Former Arsenal midfielder Emmanuel Petit believes that footballers only care about money these days and not the clubs they are playing for.

While it is perhaps true of many footballers, it is a bit of a sweeping statement to say that all players only care about money, but it’s hard not to see where he is coming from.

Speaking to the BBC World Football Show, Petit said “Back in the days before earning a lot of money you had to prove your value year after year. You had to win titles.

2 May 2000: Emmanuel Petit of Arsenal celebrates scoring the winning goal in the last minute during the match between Arsenal and West Ham United in the FA Carling Premiership at Highbury, London. Mandatory Credit: Laurence Griffiths/ALLSPORT
2 May 2000: Emmanuel Petit of Arsenal celebrates scoring the winning goal in the last minute during the match between Arsenal and West Ham United in the FA Carling Premiership at Highbury, London. Laurence Griffiths/ALLSPORT

“This is the big difference with nowadays. Footballers nowadays are just focused on what they are earning.

“There will always be people who don’t care about the club, result, if they win a trophy or if the fans are happy.

“It’s not just football. Society has changed a lot. I think humanity is in danger.”

Petit won the league with Arsenal in 97-98 before moving to Barcelona along with teammate Marc Overmars, a decision he says he regrets.

“I arrived at a very bad time. There was a war in the dressing room between Dutch and Catalan players,” he added.

“And on top of it we had a manger who didn’t have enough strength or charisma to manage the team.

“Politics and nationalism was too much for me in the dressing room. I was so happy to join Barcelona but I just wanted to concentrate on football. Every day I was dealing with things I wasn’t supposed to do. As soon as I arrived people said ‘don’t try to learn Castilian [Spanish], you have to speak Catalan’.

“I said ‘I’m in Spain, no?’ and they said ‘no, you’re in Catalonia’. I’m fed up with that kind of thing. I understand their identity but when it’s too much, it’s very close to racism.

“We’re talking about football – not religion or politics. I wanted to leave. I thought I made a big mistake.”

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Writer. Feminist. Dreamer. Gooner. Owner of DailyCannon.com, writing about Arsenal since 2008. Sometimes found in the Guardian, Vice.com & elsewhere talking queer issues, politics & football. If in doubt, assume sarcasm.