Fabian Barthez traded punches with drunk fan before quitting club and going AWOL

Former Manchester United goalkeeper Fabian Barthez has turned 51, and the Frenchman had a glamorous career in both England and France.

Barthez won two Premier League titles in Manchester, and also won the Champions League with Marseille before winning the World Cup with France. Until Hugo Lloris came along, Barthez was considered as one of the best French goalkeepers of all-time after making 87 appearances for the national team.

But despite a respected career, Barthez's playing days came to an abrupt end as he quit Nantes mid-season after a fight with one of their drunken fans. And the Frenchman 'feared for his safety' and never returned.

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After playing for a multitude of clubs in France either side of his four-year stint at United, Barthez was between the sticks at Nantes. The club were threatened with relegation from Ligue 1, and fans started to become restless as results failed to pick up.

Barthez failed to stop another defeat, as Nantes lost 2-0 to Stade Rennes, and this time the fans turned violent. As Barthez was leaving the stadium, five drunken fans blocked Barthez's car before kicking it and proceeding to bang on the windscreen.

After the fans then tried to open the door, Barthez got out and started trading punches with them before security staff stepped in, but this would be the last time the Frenchman ever played professional football. Barthez instantly handed in the keys to his club house and drove to a mystery destination with his family after claiming he'd 'never play for the club again'.

"I will not play for Nantes again," Barthez told French radio France Info. "This has got nothing to do with football. I no longer feel safe there and it's better for me to leave."

Nantes president Rudi Roussillon president was stunned by the news, and in response to Barthez's exit he said: "Fabien is in a state of shock. He has been deeply affected by this assault. This is not acting. He can't cheat."

Barthez's former side were relegated that year after finishing bottom of Ligue 1, but have since returned and now consistently manage to finish in the top half. Barthez went on to launch a surprise motorsport career in 2014.


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