Speaking ahead of the weekend’s Manchester derby, United left-back Evra has promised to join fans in booing his friend Carlos Tevez, should the Argentinian play. The French defender, who is fast becoming many United fans favourite player, hopes that the City striker will recover from the knee injury he suffered on international duty.
Evra has not only produced two outstanding seasons in a row – cementing his place as first-on-the-teamsheet – but is increasingly amusing in the media. A real fans’ player.
“I have had a message from him saying they are going to win. I am not so sure,” said Evra on Tevez.
“I just hope he plays. It’ll be special to play against him as he’s such a good friend but he is a City player now and we cannot let him beat United.
“When we have played them before they have never been in the top four. This year it is a big mission of City’s to play in the Champions League. They have not lost yet, so they will come to Old Trafford with a lot of confidence. It will be an amazing game and it is a big challenge. I hope we are ready.
“I have been joking with him about the reception he will get. I don’t know if the fans will boo him or clap him. He did a great job at Manchester United. He respected the shirt and the fans understand that. But if they boo him I will join in,” he added.
Sadly, Tevez is unlikely to make the derby, short of a miraculous recovery from injury over the coming 48 hours. The striker was unable to complete Argentina’s 3 – 1 defeat to Brazil last week.
In May Evra mocked Rafael Benitez’ “game over” gesture in United’s 2-1 away victory at Wigan Athletic. The Benitez row was one of the iconic moments of the season and Evra – being Evra – managed to deconstruct in an instant. Brilliant stuff.
Then, after last season’s Champions League semi-final win against Arsenal, Evra summed up the match as “11 boys against 11 men.” It was a declaration that incited a predictably angry reaction from the Arsenal team but capture the completely dominant victory.
Not that Evra is all about winding up the opposition – he successfully manages that with his own team-mates – by hogging the stereo.
“Before every match I sit down in my room and work out a playlist,” Evra claimed.
“I have to change it every time – you don’t know these guys, they’re like dogs! They’re hungry for new songs and get angry if it’s the same stuff as the last game. So I need to mix it up and make sure everybody’s happy – I put on some English music, some r’n’b, some dance, some Brazilian… now it’s part of the ritual before games.
“Sometimes other people come in and try and put their own music on – I don’t want to name names – but usually my team-mates will say: ‘Hey, come on, respect the iPod of Evra!’. So I say: ‘No problem,’ and just turn theirs off.”
The fun is unlikely to end when Evra, 28, retires from the game. He plans not on moving into coaching or media pundity but becoming a comedy double-act with Park Ji-Sung or somewhat randomly, a babysitter.
Until then, Evra will continue to weave his way into United folklore.