Friday 19 January 2018

Evra still waiting for apology from Luis

Patrice Evra will play in his fifth Champions League final when he lines up for Juventus against Barcelona in Berlin
Patrice Evra will play in his fifth Champions League final when he lines up for Juventus against Barcelona in Berlin
Luis Suarez and Patrice Evra

Mark Ogden

Patrice Evra promised to shake Luis Suarez's hand ahead of tonight's Champions League final, despite revealing the Barcelona forward never apologised for the racist abuse of the defender that earned him an eight-match suspension in 2011.

Evra, who left Manchester United for Juventus after eight years at Old Trafford last summer, will play in his fifth Champions League final when he lines up for Massimiliano Allegri's team against the Spanish champions in Berlin.

The encounter will pitch Evra against Suarez once again, however, following the hugely divisive racism row that followed United's Premier League clash with Liverpool at Anfield in October 2011.

Suarez was eventually banned and fined £40,000 by the English FA for racially abusing Evra, prompting the Uruguayan to snub Evra's attempted handshake in a meeting between United and Liverpool at Old Trafford in February 2012.

But although the two players have since shaken hands prior to subsequent United-Liverpool fixtures, Evra insists that Suarez has still to express any regret for the incident.

"Yes, but I don't want his apologies," Evra said. "It doesn't matter, it's no problem for me. But when we are going to play the game, I will shake his hand. He will never be my best friend, but this is not a problem.

"The past is the past. I am really proud of my colour and I will shake his hand like I did with Manchester when we play against Liverpool. My game is against Barcelona, it is not against Luis Suarez, but I will make sure he will feel me on the pitch."

Suarez has since complained that the racism incident with Evra left an "unfair stain on his character that will be there forever". But Evra insists he has little sympathy for Suarez and admits only his own self-control prevented him from hitting the former Liverpool striker on the pitch at Anfield. "I didn't say to the judge that Luis Suarez is a racist person," Evra said. "I just say in that moment he have some racist comment.

"I didn't go there and say now 'you have to punish him, he is a racist person'. I don't know that because I don't know Luis Suarez very well to talk about it.

"But I controlled myself, I behaved myself, because in that moment I remember, it was like a voice inside my head - 'don't do nothing stupid, don't do nothing stupid, don't punch him or do something stupid because a lot of people are watching this game'. For some kid, you have to show the example.

"If I do something wrong, maybe today I won't be playing the final of the Champions League - I will get maybe a three-year ban or something like that. Sir Alex Ferguson after the game, and all my team-mates, they saw my face. I was in another galaxy in that moment."

Evra faces Barcelona having lost to Lionel Messi and Co in the Champions League finals of 2009 and 2011. The Frenchman won the European Cup with United in Moscow in 2008, but having lost with Monaco against Porto in 2004, Evra admits he could not bear to suffer defeat for a fourth time in a final tonight.

"That's my goal," Evra said. "Lose three and win two. Four-one doesn't look good." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Barcelona v Juventus, Live RTE2, Sky Sports 1, ITV, 7.45

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