Former Manchester United defender Patrice Evra was sexually abused by a teacher when he was 13, the Frenchman has alleged.
The abuse is detailed in Evra’s upcoming autobiography, ‘I Love This Game’.
Evra, now 40, said that while it was difficult to speak about the abuse in the interview with The Times newspaper on Friday, it was even more challenging to break it to his mother, who was told about the incidents only two weeks ago.
“Of course, she was devastated. It was a tough moment for me. I have still to tell a few of my brothers and sisters and close friends,” said Evra, who was capped 81 times by France.
“I don’t want people to feel pity. It’s a difficult situation. A mother does not expect to hear this from their own child.”
“It was a big shock for her. A lot of anger. She said she was sorry. She said ‘you must not put it in your book, it’s private Patrice’, but that’s when I say ‘mum, it’s not about me, it’s about other kids’, then she says OK, she understands.”
Evra added that he hadn’t thought about formally pressing charges, but his mother had encouraged him to sue the perpetrator.
“The first thing my mum says is, ‘if you don’t sue him, I’ll sue him. If he’s still alive, I’m going to kill him.’ There is a lot of rage. I know my mum and people from my family will do research and see if they can sue. But I buried this thing so deep I didn’t think about [prosecution].”
At the age of 24 Evra was contacted by police, who was investigating the man, and asked if he had been abused. He insisted he had not.”
“Living with that was one of my biggest regrets,” added Evra, “because I could have helped so many people. I’ve had enough of this toxic masculinity. For my father, crying was weak, but crying is not being weak. I lost my brother and I lost friends, but I never cried. My mother would say: ‘One day you are going to explode’.
“I prefer to be an inspiration and example rather than a victim. I don’t want that role of victim even if the truth is I’ve been a victim.”
Evra joined United from Monaco in 2006, winning five Premier League titles and the Champions League. He later played for Juventus, Olympique de Marseille and West Ham United before retiring from the sport in July 2019.