One-on-one with Manchester United star Patrice Evra

One-on-one with Manchester United star Patrice Evra

The French left-back flies to Shanghai for the China leg of Manchester United's "Champions Trophy Tour" of Asia
Patrice Evra
Patrice Evra (left) and Luis Nani (right) of Manchester United hold up a blow-up trophy after winning the Barclays Premier League match with Blackburn Rovers on May 14.

Manchester United won the Barclays Premier League for the 19th time last month. 

As part of a 12-day "Champions Trophy Tour" of Asia, the Red Devils held a cocktail party in Shanghai on June 29 at their official sponsor Hublot's downtown boutique.

Although surprised not to see an actual trophy on display for the "trophy tour," Shanghai fans were thrilled to see Manchester United's star Patrice Evra.  

The 30-year-old, who was born in Senegal and grew up in Europe, spoke with CNNGo about his views on Asian travel, fans, football and family.

CNNGo: Have you suffered culture shock traveling from Britain to Shanghai?

Patrice Evra: Yeah, a little bit. I feel like a rock star, but it is nice. They [the fans] love you so much.

In the United Kingdom, the fans love you, but not like this. In Asia, it's crazier. They are so enthusiastic. It is a nice feeling, a very nice feeling.

In the United Kingdom, the fans love you, but not like this. In Asia, it's crazier. They are so enthusiastic. It is a nice feeling, a very nice feeling.— Patrice Evra

CNNGo: You were a striker, now a defender. Why the switch?

Evra: It’s simple: the coach.

When I was playing for Nice in France, the left-back was injured. He [my coach] asked me to fill in. I did it for the last 15 minutes of the game.

The next game, he said: 'You want to play left-back again?' I said: 'No, I am a striker." He said: 'OK, then don’t play.'

I said: 'Give me the shirt, I'm gonna play left-back.' 

After that, I played every game as left-back, and I won every game as a left-back in the second league. But I was still not accepting to play as a defender.

The only time I accepted playing a left-back defender is when I played for Manchester.

CNNGo: What do you like about traveling?

Evra: I don’t like traveling (laughs). 

No … I just like to arrive in the city, but I don’t like the planes.

CNNGo: How do you beat jet lag?

Evra: I don’t know, but it's difficult. For example, I slept at midnight and I woke up at 4 a.m. in the morning.

But when you arrive and you see the people, and you see they are waiting for you, you forget everything.

CNNGo: We heard fans are collecting different Manchester United-themed Hublot watches. They are so expensive. As a footballer, do you get a free one every time? 

Evra: No.

(Talking to Hublot staff) Hey boss, why didn’t Hublot give watches to the players?

(Back to CNNGo) Because there are a lot of crocodiles in their pockets. The brand gave one limited-edition watch to everyone with their name on it. That's it.

I want to learn [Korean] so I can speak to the fans. I have been to Korea four times, and they love me so much. But I can’t communicate with them.— Patrice Evra

CNNGo: How many siblings do you have?

Evra: 24 siblings. My dad doesn’t like TV. He doesn’t watch much TV. (Laughs)

It was a very competitive family to grow up in. We can make two football teams.

CNNGo: Can you really speak five languages?

Evra: Yeah, maybe. English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, and I tried Korean, but it’s too difficult.

CNNGo:
Is that so you can talk to Park Ji-Sung?

Evra:
No. Ji speaks very good English, but I want to learn [Korean] so I can speak to the fans.

I have been to Korea four times, and they love me so much. But I can’t communicate with them.

CNNGo: Manchester United has won the Premier League 19 times.
Does it lose its excitement after winning so often?

Evra: No, that is the curse of Manchester United. It is never enough to win the trophies.

That’s why Manchester United is a big club, and we want to stay on the top. And next year, we are going to have the same hunger to win every game.

If you don’t have the hunger, you [will] get the hairdryer from [manager] Ferguson.

Jane Leung is a Hong Kong-born Canadian who has dabbled in the mixed media bag of film and television production, the professional sports industry and magazine publishing. 

Read more about Jane Leung

Tracy You is a bilingual journalist based in Shanghai and has worked for several publications including as Editor for CNN Travel. She's a fan of history, British TV and Wii Guitar Hero.

Read more about Tracy You
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