Patrice Evra joins Juventus: Manchester United confirm Evra has joined Italian league champions for £2.5m eight weeks after signing contract extension
Evra had agreed a one-year contract extension but was informed that he could leave the club
Manchester United have confirmed that Patrice Evra has left the club after agreeing to join Italian league champions Juventus.
Evra had only signed a one-year contract extension in May with his old deal set to expire this summer, but upon the arrival of new manager Louis van Gaal and the £30m-plus acquisition of Luke Shaw, vice-captain Evra was informed that he could leave the club.
In a statement released on the club website, United confirmed his exit, and thanked him for his eight years of loyal service.
"Patrice Evra is leaving Manchester United and has agreed to join Juventus after eight-and-a-half years at Old Trafford, the club has confirmed," read the statement.
Evra said that he would always hold the club close to his heart in a goodbye message to fans that have cheered him on over the years at the Theatre of Dreams.
"After a great deal of thought I have decided the time is right for me to leave Manchester United. It is the biggest decision of my career as this club is, and will always remain, in my heart," Evra told the club's website.
"Joining and playing for Manchester United has been a privilege, a dream come true and my time here has been so memorable.
"This club is steeped in history and I feel privileged to have become a part of that. I would like to thank everyone at the club - team-mates, coaches and in particular all the staff who made every single day in Carrington or at Old Trafford a special day.
"An immense thank you to Sir Alex Ferguson for making it all possible, for giving me the privilege to be a captain, to be inspired by the legend of Manchester United and to understand that nobody is bigger than the club.
"My biggest thanks go to the fans. We have had some fantastic times together, we lifted all of those trophies together and that night in Moscow will live with us all forever. Every single time I stepped out in that shirt I knew I was playing for the badge and for a very special club.
"My passion for this club will live on and I know you guys will go on to enjoy more success in the coming seasons."
Having been linked with a return to the continent, Evra entered talks with the Serie A champions following France’s World Cup campaign, and the left-back did not go on United’s pre-season tour to the United States – although this was due to being given extra holiday following the World Cup as well as negotiating a move to Italy.
Evra joined United from French side Monaco in 2006, and was part of the side that clinched the Champions League in 2008 via the penalty shootout victory over Chelsea at the Luzhniki Stadium in Russia.
Patrice Evra has left #mufc to join Juventus. Everyone at the club would like to thank him for his many years of excellent service.; Manchester United (@ManUtd) July 21, 2014
He ends a hugely successful time with the Manchester club, winning five Premier League titles in his eight-year spell at Old Trafford, as well as three League Cups and the Club World Cup, and he was named in the Uefa and FifPro Team of the Year in 2009 when United got to the Champions League final for the second straight year – only to lose to Barcelona at Wembley.
Perhaps the highest profile incident during Evra’s United career was the racial abuse he suffered from former Liverpool striker Luis Suarez during the 1-1 draw with the Reds on October 15, 2011. Suarez was subsequently banned for eight matches, and when Evra attempted to shake the striker’s hand when the two met again later that season, Suarez chose to ignore him prompting Evra to react furiously during the pre-match handshakes.
Evra saw his influence and responsibility within the first team grow by the year, and he skippered the side regularly last season as Nemanja Vidic struggled with injury.
With David Moyes being sacked in April in just his first season in charge, many feel that United’s core of experience has been wrenched out of the club, given that Vidic has joined Inter Milan on a free transfer and Rio Ferdinand has moved to QPR after his contract expired, while veteran midfielder Ryan Giggs finally hung up his boots for good in order to become Van Gaal’s assistant manager.
Evra's departure to Juventus means that he is likely to end up facing Vidic next season when they Old Lady face Inter in Serie A. Juventus will be looking to add to their three consecutive Italian league titles, as well as mount a serious attempt to win the Champions League, and the signing of Evra adds a wealth of experience available to new manager Massimo Allegri.
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