I won the World Cup and Premier League while at Arsenal - but one thing was scarier than both

Emmanuel Petit's France had to see off Luis Figo and Portugal in the semi-finals of Euro 2000
-Credit: (Image: Getty Images)

Arsenal hero Emmanuel Petit has admitted that starring in the British TV drama 'The Bill' was more nerve-wracking than playing in the World Cup final for France.

The former Gunner, who famously lifted the 1998 World Cup with France, found himself on unfamiliar ground when he made a guest appearance in the long-running ITV series 'The Bill', despite being at the peak of his career post the international win.

Unfamiliar with the much-loved police drama, which enjoyed a lengthy spell on British television from 1984 to 2010, Petit was initially perplexed by the invitation but nonetheless embraced the opportunity, stepping into the role for a special Christmas episode where he visited a hospital, bearing gifts, as himself.

Speaking to Mirror Football, Petit confessed: "To be honest, I didn't know about The Bill," and revealed his straightforward approach to the cameo: "When I was asked, I was a little bit confused because I'm not an actor, I cannot act. I was born to be a footballer, not an actor."

Recounting the surreal experience, he said: "I remember going to the hospital and holding a rose for a person who was sick. I met her parents outside the room and said 'it was very important for me to be here', something like that. It was a very short."

Despite the brevity, it was a cameo that took Petit out of his comfort zone, contrasting his usual confidence on the pitch at Highbury or playing for his national team, as he humorously noted: "Someone told me I looked less nervous on the pitch when I play in a World Cup or a European competition than trying to act for a few minutes in The Bill!

READ MORE: Arsenal set for transfer windfall as £22m deal agreed and announcement imminent

READ MORE: Viktor Gyokeres to Arsenal transfer latest

"I said, 'yes, because I'm not comfortable'. I cannot control my emotions for that. I'm not an actor and people saw that. But it was a very short scene, which was OK for me.

"After I did it, my team-mates came up to me, especially the English guys, and said 'you've done this with The Bill, it's amazing, it's huge here in England'."

Caught off guard by the cultural significance of the show, he expressed his surprise: "I was like, 'I don't know, is it?' I thought it was on TV at Christmas time, I didn't know it was so huge. It's not on TV anymore, I'm told. But I was very happy to do it because the people were so nice to me."