Patrice Evra celebrates after United win the 2008 Champions League final in Moscow

Goal of the Day: E is for Evra

Wednesday 03 June 2020 02:00

We've reached the letter 'E' in our A-Z Goal of the Day series, which stands for Evra.

Beloved full-back Patrice Evra was a thriving presence at Monaco – with whom he had reached the 2004 Champions League final – when he joined Manchester United in January 2006.
The Frenchman took a few months to adjust, but soon became a fixture in the Reds' starting XI. It was the start of a glorious career in M16, which would go on to encompass five Premier League titles, one Champions League, three League Cups and a Club World Cup.
Pat left at the end of the 2013/14 season, but not before blasting home the finest of his 10 goals for the club (which you can see below) in the second leg of the Champions League quarter-final against Bayern Munich.
Goal of the Day: Evra v Bayern Munich Video

Goal of the Day: Evra v Bayern Munich

Who can forget Evra's rocket against Bayern Munich in 2014? Not us – we've made it our Goal of the Day...

Memorably, Evra arrived in the same transfer window as fellow defender Nemanja Vidic, in January 2006. Within a year, the importance of the two signings became crystal clear, as Sir Alex Ferguson's side was completely reborn, with much owing to a revamped defence. The full-back had been part of the Monaco side that lost 3-0 to Jose Mourinho's Porto in the 2004 Champions League final but, still, the transfer to United – for a fee reported to total £5.5m – was something of a surprise. But Ferguson was dealing with a long-term injury to Gabriel Heinze, which may have convinced him to venture into the awkward January market.
While his strike against Bayern Munich in 2014 was undoubtedly his most memorable goal – and one he claimed the Busby Babes inspired him to score – Evra's role in the 2008 Champions League final summed up the best of his time at United. He played the entirety of the 120 minutes, and came very close to setting up an extra-time winner for Ryan Giggs, who was denied only by a great clearance from Chelsea defender John Terry. Evra was full of energy, endlessly competitive, and smart and skilful on the ball.
After a challenging first half-season, Evra quickly got to grips with the demands of playing for United. In his first full campaign he made 36 appearances, scoring two goals, and was a big part of the reason the club wrested the Premier League title from the grasp of Jose Mourinho's Chelsea, who were chasing a third consecutive success. Evra only improved as time went on. He would make over 40 appearances in each of the next seven campaigns for the Reds, and captained the side for spells in 2009/10 – memorably lifting the League Cup after a 2-1 victory over Aston Villa at Wembley. He was named in the PFA Premier League Team of the Year on three occasions (2006/07, 2008/09, 2009/10), and started three Champions League finals in four years before making the difficult decision to leave to join Juventus in 2014.

Evra: The Busby Babes scored my best goal article

In his incredible UTD Podcast, Patrice explained how his prayers were answered after visiting the Munich memorial.

Arriving in Turin, aged 33, Evra could have been presumed past his best, but he enjoyed a great coda to his career with the Italian giants, winning two Serie A titles and two Coppa Italias. He also played in a fifth Champions League final – Juve's 3-1 defeat to Barcelona in 2015 – which places him in a select group with four other players to have achieved that feat. After leaving Piedmont, he underwent spells at Marseille and West Ham United before announcing his retirement in 2019.
"He has been a great performer and one of the best in the world. I remember it took him time to settle into the English game but outside of the Premier League you are not subjected to the same aerial battering you get here. But now he is attacking balls in the air like he's a Third Division commanding central defender with no fear!" (Gary Neville)
"Patrice Evra [had this] impressive habit of speaking loudly, to provoke, to instil confidence in the team. Today, I know he makes funny videos, but don't believe he is not a super professional and a super intelligent guy. He speaks five languages, he even speaks Korean! His physical appearance shows how professional he is, his mind is as strong as his body." (Robin van Persie)

Also in this series: