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The former Arsenal midfielder had the chance to sign for Sir Alex Ferguson's side and believes he made a mistake in opting instead to leave Barcelona for Stamford Bridge

Former Arsenal star Emmanuel Petit has conceded he made a mistake in turning down the opportunity to join Manchester United.

The retired midfielder, a World Cup winner with France, had the chance to join Sir Alex Ferguson's side in 2001 upon leaving Barcelona after an unhappy spell in Spain, but instead opted for Chelsea.

Petit revealed he twice met the Old Trafford boss, before choosing to move to Stamford Bridge for family reasons.

"I did make a wrong choice," Petit told Goals on Sunday. "I was talking with my wife at that time and she wanted to come back and live in London. When I think about that I think I made a mistake.

"In my heart I wanted to go to Manchester United. I met Sir Alex Ferguson twice at Barcelona and he wanted me to sign for Manchester. I made the wrong decision."

Petit also believes he struggled to win over Chelsea fans due to his successful stint with London rivals Arsenal.

He added: "With my wife we decided to live in London and it was a wrong choice for me because I was a Gunner and the Chelsea fans never forgave me for that.

"They tried to give a chance for me, but at this time Abramovich wasn't at the club, they were in huge debt and we didn't have one penny to spend in the transfer market.

"Then came the tragedy of September 11 and we had to play in Israel in the European Cup. A lot of players wanted to play the game somewhere else and it ended up that I was branded as a coward because I didn't want to play that game.

"The fans never forgave me for that."

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