Evra outburst does not go down well in France
Patrice Evra’s decision to publicly criticise four French pundits on the eve of the World Cup play-off draw has not gone down well in France.
National team coach Didier Deschamps told Canal+ that he was “sorry” that Evra chose to go public with his complaints during an explosive interview that was broadcast on Sunday.
Speaking on TF1, Evra called his critics “tramps” and “parasites”. The former France captain, 32, referred specifically to former players Bixente Lizarazu, Luis Fernandez and Rolland Courbis, as well as journalist Pierre Menes.
“There are some pundits with whom I will soon settle my differences … they want to sell a lie to the French people that Evra is disliked. But that is not the case at all.
“I do not know what Lizarazu has against me. I was twice voted best left-back in the world, four times the best left-back in the Premier League. Him, I don’t even know if he was ever voted best left-back in the world.
“I recall my first call-up to the national side, all the others shook my hand apart from him. Thierry Henry said to him, ‘Oh Liza, here is the opposition.’ And Lizarazu looked at me and said, ‘Why? Someone told you that I was already retired?’.
“People have a good impression of me, it won’t be these tramps who dirty my image. They must stop lying to the French people.”
With a World Cup play-off match against Ukraine looming, national team coach Deschamps said he had some some sympathy with Evra.
“I’m sorry that he made such remarks,” Deschamps said on Sunday night. “It’s a slip up. I can understand the substance that brought him to it. It’s someone who has run out of patience with a situation.”
Deschamps offered a qualified defence of the left-back, pointing to a recent survey that suggested 82 percent of French people had a “bad” opinion of the national team.
“The proliferation of media outlets makes things difficult (for the players),” he said. “I’m not saying Patrice Evra is right but there is a context.”
Lizarazu, who responded to Evra’s interview immediately after it was broadcast, went into further detail in L’Equipe on Monday.
“I was shocked by the aggression, the vulgarity, the loss of control, the lack of nuance and perspective,” the ex-Bayern Munich full-back said.
“Recently, I’ve been wondering about the fact that the leaders of today are the same as those in 2010 in South Africa… If he’s a leader and he takes the initiative to do that, it’s quite worrying.”
Lizarazu said that the full interview, which was carried out after France’s win over Finland last Tuesday, was even more shocking.
He said: “I’ve seen the whole video — Patrice Evra was not manipulated. He insisted that the interview be broadcast in full and TF1 had the kindness to cut out some frankly vulgar clips.
“He says that we’re responsible for his bad image but he’s managing really well by himself.”
Former France midfielder Fernandez, who now hosts a radio show on RMC, hit back by noting Evra’s part in the training ground strike at the 2010 World Cup.
“I’d simply say that I honoured the French jersey,” he said. “As a player and a coach, I have a lot of titles.
“On the eve of the draw for the playoffs, the timing is badly chosen. He could have waited to win a bit more with les Bleus.”
L’Equipe was scathing in their their criticism of Evra.
“He’s 32 years old and he seems to have neither learned anything nor understood anything from previous episodes,” wrote Vincent Duluc.
“The tone employed by Evra and the time he chose to unload his resentment are catastrophic for the image and interests of the French team.”