Club Legends #12 – Patrice Evra

Evra
Patrice Evra of Manchester United

By Ollie Cranham-Young

  • Born in Dakar, Senegal
  • Evra made 379 appearances for Manchester United
  • Evra helped United to ten major honours in ten seasons

Patrice Latyr Evra was born on 15th May 1981 in Dakar, Senegal. On the west coast of Africa however grew up in France and began his footballing career playing for CO Les Ullis and CSF Bretigny.

In 1997,  he played for French Giants Paris Saint-Germain however his career there was short.

Only a year later, Evra signed a professional contract for Marsala in Sicily. He made his professional debut for the club and in the following season he joined Monza, another club in Italy.

After this, Evra returned to France to play for Nice and this was the club at which he changed his footballing position from midfielder to becoming a full-back.

In 2002, Evra moved to Monaco and helped them to win the Coupe de la Ligue in 2003 and featured as a left-back in the team that reached the 2004 Champions League final.

That season Evra was named in the Ligue 1 Team of the Year, which attracted the attention of Manchester United. Evra’s efforts culminated with a move to the English club in January 2006.

Evra joins United

On the 6th January 2006, United manager Sir Alex Ferguson confirmed the transfer of Patrice Evra to Manchester United was a done-deal and four days later the transfer became official and Evra signed for United.

Evra completes move
Patrice Evra poses with Sir Alex Ferguson after signing for Manchester United

He cost the club £5.5 million, a bargain in hindsight and looking at today’s market and signed a three and a half year deal with the club.

United signed Evra to improve their defence as it had been suffering greatly following an injury to Gabriel Heinze. Upon signing for the club, Evra said “I was not very keen to go forward in the talks with Arsenal, Liverpool or Real Madrid…I only wanted to hear about Manchester”.

Evra’s start to his Manchester United career was poor. He made his debut in a 3-1 away defeat to Manchester City on the 14th January and had failed to make an impact and play well alongside fellow new defender Nemanja Vidic.

Evra struggles at first

Following this initial setback, Evra started in United’s 1-0 victory against Liverpool a couple of weeks later, and was praised for his performance by his team mates. Evra also appeared as a substitute in United’s 4-0 win over Wigan Athletic in the 2006 League Cup Final.

He finished his first campaign with 14 appearances for the club, an impressive number considering he only arrived in mid-January.

However he struggled to start most of his games due to facing fierce competition Mikael Silvestre.

The following season, Evra made his European debut for United in a 3-0 group stage victory over Danish side Copenhagen in October 2006.

A couple of weeks later, he scored his first goal for the club in a 3-0 league win over Everton. It was during this season in which Evra became a regular starter for the club.

Evra became known for providing assists for United, assisting Rooney twice in a 2-1 away defeat to Arsenal and in a 2-0 victory over Charlton Athletic.

In the same season, Evra managed to score the last goal in the 7-1 destruction of Roma at Old Trafford and it was his first goal in the Champions League for the club.

Following this, Evra was named in the PFA Team of the Year for 2006/07 despite only making 24 league appearances.

Evra makes left-back spot his own

By the time the 2007/08 season begun, Evra was the first choice left-back. In the 2007/08 season, Evra helped United to win both the Premier League title and the Champions League, appearing 48 times for the club, but failed to score a goal.

Evra Champions League success
Evra celebrates Champions League success in 2008

After the Champions League final in which Evra had played the entire 120 minutes, he signed a four year contract, set to keep him at Old Trafford until 2012.

Evra started the first 22 games of the 2008/09 season, establishing himself as a regular starter including being present in United’s victory over Portsmouth in the Community Shield at Wembley.

Later in the season, he participated in the 2008 FIFA Club World Cup in which United subsequently emerged victorious defeating Ecuadorian side LDU Quito in the final.

Several weeks later, Evra received a foot injury which kept him out of the side for a month until the 15th February when he returned to the starting line up in a 3-0 victory over Fulham.

Following this game, Evra featured in every one of United’s game bar one, helping them to reach the Champions League final for the second consecutive time.

The final was Evra’s third in his career and Evra also featured in the PFA Team of the Year for the second time.

Evra the ever-present

For the first time in his career, Evra appeared in all 38 league matches of the 2009/10 campaign and it culminated in a 2-1 League Cup Final victory over Aston Villa at Wembley in which Evra captained the side.

It was his fourth league cup title but his first title earned as a captain.

Following this, Evra helped United to win their record-breaking 19th League Title in the 2010/11 season and also signed a new contract with United keeping him at the club until the end of 2013/14 season.

Which put to bed the rumours of  a transfer to Real Madrid who were interested in the French left-back at the time.

Evra
Evra leads the celebrations as United confirm 19th league title with 1-1 at Ewood Park

At the start of the 2011/12 season, Evra helped United to win the 2011 Community Shield and arch rivals defeat Manchester City.

However possibly the most significant event of this season was when Evra was allegedly racially abused by Luis Suarez in a match against Liverpool in October.

During the 2012/13 season and his penultimate season at the club, Evra managed to score three headed goals, quite an achievement considering he only bagged seven throughout his whole tenure.

He helped United to win a record-breaking 20th League Title in the same season.

His final campaign was a disappointing one as United finished 7th in the league but he still managed to score against Cardiff City at home, and score against Stoke City in the fifth round of the League Cup.

On the 21st July 2014, Evra ended his time at the club and joined Serie A club Juventus on a 2 year contract, reportedly for a fee of around £1.5 million.

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