An appearance from Patrice Evra on Telefoot last Sunday has caused a huge stir in the French football media after he attacked several journalists for ruining his reputation and lying to the French public. Charles Stone aims to re-construct the events from that fateful day to give you a better idea of how the events unfolded:
At lunchtime, Patrice Evra’s (Evra’s quotes in red) interview he gave to Telefoot (a weekly show covering the world of football with highlights and exclusive interviews) was aired to the public on TF1.
He took this opportunity to address his issues with the people he branded ‘parasites’ and ‘bums’. The people he was referring to were a handful of football journalists and analysts. These individuals were Luis Fernandez (green), Pierre Menes (blue), Rolland Courbis (orange) and Bixente Lizarazu (brown), some of the most influential members of the French football journalistic community.
About Lizarazu he had to say the following:
‘I do not know what he has against me. Since the beginning of my career I have won the best left-back in the world award twice and four times in the Premier League. I do not know if he has ever been the best left-back in the world.’
‘When I first came into the national team, he was the only player who did not shake hands with me. They all shook hands with me, but not him.’
‘I remember it well because I was with Thierry Henry at the time and he said: ‘Liza, for you it is over.’ [because of the arrival of Patrice Evra in the same position]. He replied: ‘Why has someone told you I am retiring?’
It was evident that Telefoot had alerted the individuals named in the interview before it was aired as Rolland Courbis, the first of the accused to react to Evra’s comment, hit back on RMC Sport just half an hour or so after Evra’s interview had appeared on television. Courbis had the following to say:
‘I have no problem with Patrice Evra the man, just with Patrice Evra the left back. To have been at the top level for so long without any quality is an impressive feat.’
Courbis also went on to say: ‘Me the parasite? When it takes a guy this long to realise how lucky he has been to earn so much money with this little talent, what do you want me to say?’
Bixente Lizarazu reacted directly on the show, Telefoot that had recorded the interview with Patrice Evra. He was able to do so because he is in fact a member of the presenting team on the very show. As you can imagine, he did not hold back:
‘It is incomprehensible. He also insisted that this interview be broadcast (Telefoot had asked he multiple times if he was sure he wanted the interview to be aired). Even then, TF1 cut out the more vulgar bits.’
‘I would like to say that yes I have been voted world left-back of the year. I would also like to say that I have won many, many more trophies than he has, but that is not the point.’
‘I also think the timing of this interview is awful. The French national team is picking up, Ribery is playing fantastically, we have sorted out up front… Why now?’
‘Frankly, it is ridiculous. We already lost Patrice Evra in 2010 in South Africa, and we have lost him again now. I have no problem with him. He has made one.’
Patrice Evra attacked Luis Fernandez by retelling an incident that occurred in Manchester several seasons ago:
‘In 2008, I brought him to visit Old Trafford. It was like he was at Euro Disney. When they gave him the keys at PSG, apart from sucking Chupa-Chups and dancing the Macarena, I don’t know what he did.’
Luis Fernandez replied: ‘All I would say is that I was proud to wear the French shirt. I honoured it. I was not the captain in Euro 2012 (when there was the internal team breakdown). He was.’
Then, Evra moved on to Canal +’s Pierre Menes:
‘Him, I don’t want to give him too much attention, but I hope one day our paths cross. Because he said things about my family. Malouda has already had words with him and now he doesn’t talk about Malouda anymore.’
‘These people annoy me intensely. They are lying to France. These people they take the Eurostar and you wouldn’t even recognise them.’
‘I have a good image in France. It is just these idiots I mentioned.’
The always controversial Pierre Menes’ response to Patrice Evra’s remarks was lengthy:
‘I will not lower myself to his level. We will wait and see what Didier Deschamps has to say [later that night] on Canal Football Club.’
However, Menes contradicted himself with his later comments:
‘I wish we wouldn’t have to speak about Evra anymore. As in, I wish he was no longer picked for the French national team.’
Telefoot later admitted that they had cut some of Patrice Evra’s original interview from the program because it had defamatory passages about Pierre Menes’ weight and size contained within it.
Menes later denied that he had ever been set straight by Florent Malouda, contrary to what Patrice Evra said:
‘I have never been set straight by Malouda. He tried to 2 years ago in a nightclub close to the Champs-Elysees. He was so rowdy that he got ejected by the bouncer.’
At 19.15 local time, the French Football Federation released a statement which summoned Patrice Evra to talk to Didier Deschamps and Noel Le Graet to explain his comments earlier on during the day.
The statement emphasises that ‘Evra has not attacked the French national team, his teammates or the manager in any way.’
The FFF announced that they would not exclude the possibility of sanctioning Evra for his comments.
Didier Deschamps was questioned on the subject later that evening on Canal Football Club:
‘I regret what Patrice Evra has said. I discovered the interview just this morning like the public. In reality these are problems between individuals.’