Bitter Evra labels Lizarazu `parasite`

AFP| Updated: Oct 21, 2013, 08:30 AM IST

Paris: Controversial France and Manchester United defender Patrice Evra delivered a vicious tirade aimed at several pundits, among them France`s 1998 World Cup winner Bixente Lizarazu, on Sunday after they criticised him over a half-time talk he gave his team-mates.

Evra was criticised for speaking his mind during half-time of the World Cup qualifier with Belarus in September, in which he was only a substitute.

The French eventually won the game 4-2, ending a run of five games without a win or a goal, but still ended up having to contest a play-off to see whether they reach the finals or not.

Evra, notorious for his role in France`s strike-hit 2010 World Cup campaign and who was subjected to racist abuse by Luis Suarez in the Premier League match with Liverpool two seasons ago, did not take to the criticism at all.

He labelled Lizarazu, and three other pundits, as `tramps` and `parasites` on a French TV programme.

He was later ordered by French Football Federation president Noel Le Graet and France coach Didier Deschamps to come to Paris and explain himself over the remarks which he made following last Tuesday`s 3-0 win over Finland.

"There are some pundits with whom I will soon settle my differences... they want to sell a lie to the French people that Evra is disliked. But that is not the case at all," said the 32-year-old.

"I do not know what Lizarazu has against me. I was twice voted best left-back in the world, four times the best left-back in the Premier League."

"Him? I don`t even know if he was ever voted best left-back in the world."

"I recall my first call-up to the national side, all the others shook my hand apart from him. Thierry Henry said to him `Oh Liza, here is the opposition`. And Lizarazu looked at me and said `Why? Someone told you that I was already retired?`.

"People have a good impression of me, it won`t be these tramps who dirty my image. They must stop lying to the French people," said the Senegal-born defender, who then classed them as parasites.

Then-captain Evra led the mutiny during the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa when he instructed the squad not to get off the bus and train in protest at Nicolas Anelka being sent home for an outburst of his own.

Deschamps said he was sorry to hear the latest Evra controversy.

"I regret the remarks made by Patrice Evra. While I can understand the background that led him to do it, it is a people problem," said the coach.

"Today, the problem is that there is a multitude of media and this is not easy. There is a context, but it does not excuse the content of his remarks."

Lizarazu, who also won Euro 2000 with the last golden generation of French players, termed Evra`s comments `incomprehensible and appalling`.

"His first cap I was no longer even there and yes I was once voted best left back in the world," said the 43-year-old, who, along with Evra, was selected in an initial squad of 30 for Euro 2004 before Evra was dropped from the final group by Jacques Santini.

"He blames us for dirtying his image but he is doing a great job of it himself. As regards the timing, it sucks."