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Patrice Evra, the former Manchester United defender, details in a new book how he was sexually abused by a teacher when he was 13.
Ahead of the release of his upcoming autobiography, I Love This Game, the 40-year-old described his turmoil at telling his mother only a fortnight ago.
Evra, capped 81 times by France, said he had not thought about formally pressing charges, but she has since encouraged him to sue the perpetrator.
"Of course, she (his mother) was devastated," she told The Times newspaper in an interview promoting the book. "It was a tough moment for me. I have still to tell a few of my brothers and sisters and close friends."
Evra's new book also details life in the changing room at United, who he joined in 2006, winning five Premier League titles and the Champions League. He says he is aware that detailing his abuse by a teacher "will mean people will change their view of me, but I am more than happy to talk with people". "I am a better version of myself," he added. "My friends will say, ‘oh the world will react, think of the pressure,’ but the biggest pressure is to say it to my mum. Even thinking about it now, it’s hard.
“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].”
Prior to speaking to relatives, Evra had told Margaux Alexandra, his fiancée, who he credits with making him "emotionally... more open". "I’ll be honest with you, when I first did the book, I didn’t tell the whole story because I was still ashamed and scared about what people will think and now I want to say it because I don’t want kids to be in my situation and they are ashamed of themselves, thinking they are not brave, because it’s not about being brave, it’s about being mentally ready to talk about it," he tells The Times.
"So I just want to make sure kids out there have the courage and do not blame themselves, because I always blamed myself."
Evra also played for Juventus, Marseille and West Ham United before retiring two years ago.