Former Springbok Johan Goosen has expressed great regret over the manner in which he left Racing 92 in 2016.
Goosen shocked the rugby world with the announcement of his retirement at the end of 2016 (at age 24), after initially signing a contract extension with Racing, increasing his salary to €500 000 (R7.15 million) per year.His return to South Africa saw him accepting a job as a commercial director at a saddle-horse stud farm in Bloemfontein.
Now 26, the utility back has made his rugby comeback for the Cheetahs in the Pro14 and will return to the French Top 14 when he plays for Montpellier in the upcoming European season.
Goosen, in an interview with Le Figaro-Sport24has expressed great regret over his prompt exit from Racing 92, which saw them part ways with no love lost.
“It was madness. I made a mistake. But that’s life. Paradoxically, I have also grown a lot over the past two years. I emptied my head and allowed my body time to recover… I went through bad times. I was very sad. I thought all of this would never end. Sometimes I said to myself: ‘Maybe I should go back to Racing?’ And at other times, I was persuaded that going back would not do me any good. In fact, I was lost… If a player is in my situation, I would say to him: ‘Do not do it, you will regret it. The price to pay is too heavy.'”
However he did make mention of the fact that the Parisian lifestyle was not one for him, saying
“I am South African, I need space and, in the suburbs of Paris, the buildings are so close to each other that I felt like I was choking. I had the uncomfortable feeling of living in a box. The worst part is that my son was also very unhappy.
“Because I was very unhappy off the pitch, I could not have stayed for five more years… Money has nothing to do with it. I wanted another life, the sun, the space and the nature. I’ll have all this in Montpellier.”
He added that while he expected a hostile reception in France, he hoped to win over the fans’ through his performances on the field.