Former Manchester United star Patrice Evra has revealed he held back a burning desire to physically attack Luis Suarez in revenge for being racially abused until one day he saw the former Liverpool player out shopping and was all set to finally do it.
Evra told how he had previously only just managed to restrain himself during the infamous game where Uruguayan Suarez called him an insulting Spanish N word while playing for Liverpool – and again he came close at the later game when Suarez snubbed shaking his hand.
But Evra – who says his problem is he still likes a fight – said he saw his chance to retaliate while out in Manchester.
However, the Senegal-born French international said he was stopped by the sight of Suarez’s wife and children with him. And now he has even forgiven him.
Evra also revealed for the first time on Monday how, during the Manchester United vs Liverpool match, he had reported the racist comment to referee Andre Marriner – who replied leave it until afterwards – leading a furious Sir Alex Ferguson to lambast the ref after the game when the manager then found out.
And he told how recently ex-Liverpool player Jamie Carragher apologised to him for the public show of support the Liverpool players showed Suarez.
Patrice Evra (left) has revealed he held back a burning desire to physically attack Luis Suarez (right with wife Sofia Balbi and daughter Delfina) when he spotted him in Manchester
Suarez (left) was banned for eight matches and fined £40,000 after being found guilty of racially abusing Evra (right) during a Liverpool vs Manchester United clash in 2011
Telling how his rage over the saga nearly exploded on a Manchester street, Evra said: ‘One day I was walking in Manchester in Deansgate and my brother said “oh it’s Luis Suarez over there”. I was with two of my brothers.
‘I looked at him and I was like “That’s it, this is the moment”.
‘And he walked, and behind him I saw his kids and his wife.
‘And I turned my back. I was like “if you do something to him you can’t do this in front of his family”.’
Evra added on Monday’s Diary of a CEO podcast: ‘So I don’t regret it because I think it would have ended up bad. I did nothing that day.’
He said the two players did finally shake hands when he was playing for Juventus against Barcelona in the 2015 Champions League final.
Evra said: ‘I was talking with Neymar, he (Suarez) passed, he come he shook my hand, he say “you ok?”. I said “I’m ok”.
‘So no beef, but we’re definitely not going to go on holiday.’
Suarez refused to shake Evra’s hand when the two teams met at Old Trafford later that season
Asked if he’d forgiven Suarez, Evra replied: ‘Yes. It’s about education – no one is born a racist person.’
Evra, who now devotes much of his life to helping others and has set up shelters for children in Senegal, added: ‘I have one problem – I still like to fight. This is like from where I grew up. So sometimes my woman teaches me don’t use your fist.’
Evra told of his mental battle on the pitch to restrain himself from attacking Suarez after the insult in the 2011 game.
He said: ‘I was proud of myself because I was talking to myself – “should I punch him? But Patrice, this is Liverpool vs Manchester, all the kids are watching this game, people won’t understand”.
Evra revealed Sir Alex Ferguson (right) tore into referee Andre Marriner when he found out Evra had told the official what had happened, but he had done nothing about it
‘The second half, it was a process, I was like talking to myself “don’t do it”. You know when you have like a devil and an angel “don’t do it, do it, don’t do it, do it”. All the game. I wasn’t in the game.
‘After the game I just sat and Ferguson saw me and was like “Patrice what’s the matter? You had a good game”.
‘David de Gea say “Suarez called him a ne****o”.’
On hearing that, Ferguson immediately escorted Evra to the referee to report it.
Evra revealed on Monday for the first time that Fergie tore into referee Andre Marriner when he discovered Evra had told the official on the pitch what had happened, but he had done nothing about it.
Evra said: ‘Even on the pitch I said to the referee “did you hear what he just say, he call me with the n-world”,’ – but the ref replied “play, play, play, we’re going to deal with that later”.’
Evra continued of the meeting with Ferguson and the ref: ‘We went to the official, we tell him, and he said “yeah, yeah, Patrice told me about that”. So Ferguson like kill him: “so you were aware, why didn’t you send him off?”‘
After the story of Suarez’s abuse became public Evra had 24-hour security for three months as he suffered death threats and his family were left scared.
Jamie Carragher apologised to Evra after Liverpool stars wore t-shirts backing their team-mate
Suarez was banned and refused to shake Evra’s hand on his first game back, but Evra said the worst part of the episode was seeing Liverpool’s players come out at one match with a shirt showing support for Suarez – after he had been found guilty by the FA of misconduct for using insulting words.
Evra said it was a display that ex-Liverpool player Carragher personally apologised to him for in a TV studio last year.
He said: ‘I did a TV show with Jamie Carragher. We start talking and he said “Patrice, I just would like to apologise about what happened nine years ago, what we have done is wrong”.
‘I was in shock, I didn’t expect that.
‘I received letters from the owners of Liverpool, emails, saying you’re more than welcome here. It was so nice.’
Evra said after Suarez had also snubbed his handshake as he came back from his ban he thought “I’m going to kill him now” – but now he no longer retains any hate to Suarez.
He said: ‘I don’t have any hate. I can’t call Luis Suarez a racist because I don’t know him close enough to call him that way, but in that day he used some racist word.’