Patrice Evra has revealed he threatened Ed Woodward after Manchester United triggered a one-year extension to his contract against his wishes in 2014.
The defender raised eyebrows when he left the club for Juventus only two months after signing a one-year extension to his United contract – and in an interview with Soccer AM in which he also announced his retirement from football, the 38-year-old revealed the acrimonious circumstances behind his move five years ago.
Evra had still been a regular in the United line-up in the first season after Sir Alex Ferguson’s departure, and was France’s first-choice left-back despite being well into his 30s. Shortly before his departure United brought in Southampton’s Luke Shaw in a big-money deal, but the United stalwart had already made up his mind that it was time to go.
At the time, he said publicly he had sought a “new challenge” when Juventus’ interest became public, but he has now revealed to Sky Sports how he was left feeling “betrayed” over a gentleman’s agreement with Ed Woodward – without which, he may have remained at the club.
He said: “Before the end of that season Ed told me: ‘Patrice, you’re going to stay for another year because we’ve got an option in your contract,’ but I told him I needed to leave because of family reasons. He shook my hand and said he understood.
“Then in May I was having dinner in Dubai on my birthday and had a text from my agent. He told me to go somewhere quiet and sent me a message with the statement from United saying they were pleased to renew my contract for another year. I went mad, I was really disappointed.
“I called Ed and swore on the phone, even threatened him. He said I couldn’t talk to the director of football like that and that he was going to fine me. After that Ryan Giggs called and said I couldn’t leave just because of one man, but it gave me an excuse to leave. I’d already said to my wife we were going to leave, but inside I didn’t ever really feel I could. That gave me a little push.
“Some people won’t understand why Ed did it but I understand. Of the senior players I was the only one he wanted to keep – even David Moyes had said it before he got sacked. They said to [Rio] Ferdinand and [Nemanja] Vidic, we don’t need you anymore, but in the dressing room you need a character. I understood Ed, but I didn’t understand why he betrayed me. He should’ve called me to explain.
“Without that it’s difficult to know what would’ve happened. I would’ve had to deal with my wife – and I call her Roy Keane when she gets angry. I don’t know. When we reached the Champions League final with Juventus she said she’d told me so, but even winning three Champions Leagues with Juve wouldn’t have had the same satisfaction of playing for United.”
With water under the bridge between the pair and Evra’s playing career now officially over, he would consider a return to United as a coach at some point in the future.
But the Frenchman is not ready to head back to the north west just yet – as he thinks it would eclipse his life as it did during his playing days.
“I will finish my coaching badges,” he said. “Sir Alex Ferguson before he retired told me ‘two of my players will be great managers’, and mentioned me and Ryan Giggs.