Ex-France and Manchester United star, Patrice Evra has lifted the lid on the events leading up to the expulsion of Nicholas Anelka from the French squad in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
According to Evra who was captain of the team, a comment from Anelka towards French coach, Raymond Domenech, during a half-time break in the 2-0 loss to Mexico set off a chain of events that eventually involved the French President, Nicolas Sarzoky.
Speaking in an interview with French outlet, RMC Sport, Evra said; “Domenech waited a good ten minutes before speaking and then turned to Anelka, ‘Nico what did I tell you, stop going down to look for the ball,'” Evra confirmed in an interview with RMC Sport.
“Anelka is tying his shoelaces, not looking, then he says, ‘f*ck your team. If that’s the problem, then I’m not playing.’
“Domenech didn’t even hear it, it was his assistant. I intervened saying we could still qualify, I told Nico to put his boots back on; they kicked him out like a piece of sh*t.”
The matter had implications within the camp, which Evra had to deal with as captain, making attempts to bring peace to the squad.
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“I wanted to convince Nico to apologise, but he wouldn’t do it in public,” he continued.
“I said to Domenech that he was going to destroy the group, he told me that if Anelka apologised then it would be fine.
“I went to convince Nico and told the coach that he was ready to apologise. Domenech was laughing, he told me that it was too late, it was over and that the French president was upstairs. This is a political story, we can’t lie to each other.”
What followed was a reported revolt from the France squad, although much of the blame for this is placed on the former Manchester United defender’s shoulders.
“I told the boys that we were going to have a meeting to say goodbye to Nico,” Evra added.
“It really hurt, we started talking amongst ourselves, we wondered what we should do; we saw Nico dressed in the street with his bag, he was treated like a piece of sh*t.
“One young man in the group said, ‘we are not playing the last game’, but we couldn’t do that. Playing in a World Cup is a dream. We decided that we wouldn’t train, we didn’t need to train, but we just wanted to protest.“