UTD Podcast: How Sir Alex stopped Evra from leaving
Patrice Evra has opened up on the transfer negotiations that took him to the brink of leaving Manchester United to join Real Madrid in 2010.
He told the full story in the latest UTD Podcast, revealing Ferguson's amazing man-management skills and also the dramatic details of what happened after the failed transfer.
“In 2010, Real Madrid came with a massive offer,”explained the United legend.
“I was [coming to the] end of my contract with United, and the boss said: ‘Patrice, you know, you can do whatever you want, but you won’t leave.' I said, ‘Okay, speak with my agent, make the deal and I may stay’.”
“And I remember after the World Cup in 2010, Manchester United was in pre-season in Chicago and I called the boss and I said, 'Boss, I will sign for Madrid'. And he was like, 'No, before that, come to see me. But I am in Chicago, Patrice – I don't think you will come.'
UTD Podcast: Evra to Real Madrid?Video
“I remember, I took a plane straight away, I went to Chicago,”Evra continues.
“The boss was so shocked to see me and he saw how serious I was. He told me to come back to him in a week in Manchester and he would give me a final answer, but said: 'Trust me, I am on your side. I will help you, no matter what you need.'
“I said: ‘Boss, the only thing I need is you to let me go. Anyway, I’m at the end of my contract so you will have to let me go.' And he was like, 'Okay, don't worry, have a nice weekend. I give you even an extra week of holiday.'
“So I went to Carrington, and I say, 'Where is the boss?' Everyone said, no, the boss is not in today. So I was like: wow, he told me to come today and he's not in.
“The next day I was so angry, so I knocked the door of his office. I told him I was waiting for him yesterday. He said: 'Patrice, I'm really sorry. I'm trying to look everywhere [for] another left-back, but I can't find a left-back like you.'
“I was like, ‘Of course, you're going to find a different one – no one is like me, because I'm unique! And another one is unique, you know?' And he was like, 'Shake my hand, Patrice, trust me. You have to sign another four years.' I was like: 'Wow, boss, you know I've already told my wife we are leaving.' He was like, 'Shake my hand, you sign another four years.'
“I shake his hand, another four years, but when he shakes my hand, he says, 'Patrice, I'm really sorry, but I will give the armband to Nemanja Vidic, because you wanted to leave – even if I know inside you didn't want to leave United – but you tried, and because of that I don't know if you're still loyal for the club, so I will give the armband to Nemanja Vidic.”
Patrice... you're a legend!Video
“I accepted it. It's right,”admitted Evra.
“When you show a sign of wanting to leave this massive club you have to be punished and he punished me by giving the armband to Viddy. But I didn’t play for Manchester United to be the captain. He gave me the armband because he knew how much I was caring about my team-mates doing good, and I always put my team before myself. It was the attitude, the determination, the leadership.
“But at the end I was the most happy man. I'm staying at the club I love for another four years. Even my agent played a part. The commission was so big for Madrid and it wasn’t the same for Manchester United. He said, 'Eh, look Patrice. If you go there, we're going to be richer and you're going to earn more money, but your mentality, your attitude, your philosophy, your identity is Manchester United, so you have to stay at this club, even if they offer less money. I was like, 'Of course', and my choice was really easy, and when I signed I was the happiest person in the world.”