Cape Town - Former Springbok utility back Johan Goosen admits he regrets the manner in which he left French club Racing 92.
The rugby fraternity was shocked when Racing 92 announced Goosen’s retirement at the end of 2016.
He had earlier signed a contract extension with Racing, increasing his salary to €500 000 (R7.15 million) per year before quitting and returning to South Africa and accepting a job as a commercial director at a saddle-horse stud farm in Bloemfontein.
The 25-year-old recently made his return to rugby for the Cheetahs and will make his comeback in the French Top 14 when he plays for Montpellier in the upcoming European season.
In an interview with French publication, Le Figaro-Sport24, Goosen expressed regret at the way things unfolded at Racing 92, who were furious at his departure.
"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.'"
Goosen however insists that life in Paris was not for him.
“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.
The flyhalf/fullback played 13 Tests for the Springboks between 2012 and 2016.