Monegasque football has been rocked by the death of Jean Petit, the player who was arguably the most loyal star player in the club’s history. He played for AS Monaco for thirteen years, from 1969 to 1982, in 426 official matches.
He was a charismatic leader on the pitch and was the captain of the team, which, to everyone’s surprise, won the French championship in 1978. He then won another championship with the Princely formation in 1982 and he also won the Coupe de France in 1980, each time as captain of the team in the red and white shirt.
Jean Petit was a very popular player and even said to be the darling of Prince Albert. In those years, he formed a super trio with Christian Dalger, who died last year, and with Ligue 1’s all-time top scorer; Delio Onnis.
It was therefore not surprising that he remained involved in various positions after his active career at Monaco. He was twice interim coach at the club after the sacking of Arsène Wenger (in 1994) and Didier Deschams (2005), but he was also assistant to these two coaches and also to Jean Tigana, Claude Puel, Ricardo, Marco Simone and Claudio Ranieri.
Still, the Monegasque public will remember him above all as a leader who was willing to do a lot to make his team perform better.
He was also a regular member of the French selection in his peak years, but because he had to tolerate Michel Platini in front of him, he did not get further than twelve international matches, in which he scored only once. He played his only match at the World Cup-78 at a final tournament and that in a green and white shirt because the French federation had to quickly arrange shirts from a club from Mar de Plata (Kimberly) because it had left its own shirts in the training camp in Buenos Aires.
He was honoured as the best footballer of the season in 1978, an accolade that not many AS Monaco players have received since.
Jean Petit was a friendly figure in public life in Monaco. When he entered a restaurant, everyone stopped talking to address him affectionately. A true legend of AS Monaco is no more. He was only 74 years old.
PHOTO: Jean Petit, centre AS Monaco