Evra: Juventus the right choice for me
TURIN, Italy (AP) — New Juventus defender Patrice Evra is confident he has chosen the right club after having to leave Manchester United for undisclosed personal reasons.
Evra signed a two-year contract with Juventus earlier this month, bringing to an end an eight-year spell at Old Trafford.
“I had to leave Manchester for personal reasons,” Evra said at his official presentation on Thursday. “Three months before the end of the season I asked my agents to start talking with other clubs. When Juventus came in for me I immediately said it was the right choice.
“For me, Juventus really represents the culture of winning every match. For me, winning every match isn’t pressure, it’s something normal. If you’re not ready to accept criticism when you don’t win then you don’t belong at all in a club like Juventus. I had that culture at Manchester and I want to have it too at Juventus, at any cost.”
Juventus paid United 1.2 million pounds ($2 million) but the transfer fee will increase to 1.5 million pounds ($2.5 million) if the Italian club qualifies for the 2015-16 Champions League.
The club is playing in Europe’s premier club competition again this year, while it is also targeting a fourth successive Serie A title.
Evra lifted the Champions League trophy once with Manchester United, where he also five league titles, and the 33-year-old insisted he is still hungry for more success.
“I won the title three times in a row with Manchester United, but to win it four times is even more difficult so that’s already a good challenge,” Evra said. “Then there’s the Champions League too, which is a really beautiful competition, really wonderful to play in, but really difficult.”
Manchester United endured a difficult campaign under manager David Moyes last season as it struggled to cope in the wake of Alex Ferguson’s departure. Moyes was sacked towards the end of the season and Louis Van Gaal is now at the helm, fresh off leading the Netherlands to the semifinals of the World Cup.
Evra refused to elaborate on why he left United but said he was not let go, that the club wanted to keep him.
“I had to leave for personal reasons,” he said. “Manchester United wanted to make me club captain. I also spoke to Van Gaal, who was very disappointed I was leaving. It was my choice. It was also difficult for Juventus because (United) really didn’t want me to leave.”
At Juventus, Evra will again be part of a club reeling from the departure of a much-loved manager after Antonio Conte quit and was replaced by Massimiliano Allegri.
“I was on holiday, the news hit me quite a bit,” Evra said. “How is it possible that a coach who wanted you at all costs suddenly leaves?
“But at the end I’m still very happy with my choice. I thought maybe Juve will lose a bit of stability but then I thought no, managers come and go but the club remains forever.”
Italian football has struggled with the problem of racism and the issue again sparked headlines recently following comments made by a leading candidate for the presidency of the Italian football federation.
Evra, a black Frenchman, has endured problems in the past, most notably when he was racially abused by Luis Suarez, who was banned for eight matches as a result.
“Racism is difficult to fight, I’ve already had some problems with it,” the France defender said. “It’s a problem which stems from ignorance.
“I don’t understand why some people still compare other people because they have a different color. Maybe they fear the other person? It’s sad to be here and to talk about it.”