Patrice Evra has been speaking of an incident in which he did a kung fu kick on teammate Gary Neville during training.
The Athletic’s Andy Mitten has ghostwritten Evra’s new book, ‘I love this game’, and has recalled the time Evra told him the story.
The incident occurred when Evra had just joined United and Neville went in for a tackle on him in training.
“He touched the ball but he hit my legs too,” Evra told Mitten. “I felt pain, I was on the floor. I looked at him, expecting him to say sorry. He looked straight at me and said, ‘F— off, I took the ball.’
“I got up and carried on in pain. The ball then went to Gary, who jumped to chest it. I saw my chance. I did a kung fu kick to get the ball and hit Gary. I nearly broke his shoulder. The other players were angry and crowded around me.
“Wayne [Rooney] said, ‘Are you crazy, Patrice? You could have broken his neck.’
“I replied, ‘Yes, but next time Gary will say sorry’.
“Alex Ferguson and [Carlos] Queiroz stopped training and told everyone to head inside. They were like the teachers telling off the naughty children. I was still in pain and putting ice on my leg when Gary came up to me and shouted, ‘You’re fucking crazy, Patrice.’”
Evra cited the story as a way of having gained respect in the dressing room.
It is not the only example of the Frenchman using his martial arts technique inappropriately.
In 2017, when playing for Marseille in a Europa League game, the then 36-year-old kicked one of his own fans for racially abusing him from the stands.
He was fined €10,000 and banned from UEFA competition for seven months.
This led Marseille to terminate his contract, effectively ending his illustrious career aside from a handful of games for West Ham United in 2018.