The former Manchester United defender has opened up about what he had to endure following the incident in October 2011
Patrice Evra has revealed he received death threats in the wake of his racism row with Luis Suarez eight years ago, but insists he holds no ill feeling towards the former Liverpool striker.
The former France international, who announced his retirement from football earlier this week, accused Suarez of calling him a “negro” during a Premier League game between Liverpool and Manchester United at Anfield in October 2011.
Suarez later admitted using the word but denied it was with racist intent. However, The Football Association found him guilty of misconduct and issued an eight-match ban as well as a £40,000 fine.
The row continued when the two sides faced each over in the reverse meeting at Old Trafford later that season, with Evra refusing to shake Suarez’s hand before the game.
The 38-year-old has now revealed what he and his family had to endure as the fallout from the incident continued through the season.
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“I received a lot of letters of death,” he told the Daily Mail. “For months, I had a security car parked outside my house in Alderley Edge 24 hours a day.
“It wasn’t easy for my family but I grew up on tough streets in Les Ulis so for me it was like something normal. But maybe for another person, it was crazy. Even my brother was saying: ‘Be careful’ when we were out in the car.”
Despite what happened Evra insists he doesn’t hate Suarez or bear any ill-feeling over what happened.
“I don’t know if Suarez is a racist,” he added. “I don’t know his family. I don’t know his background. But racism is so big for so many years and that day, there was racist abuse.
“So when we went to the hearing, they listened to me because I said I didn’t want them to punish him and I don’t know him close enough to say he is racist but he used that racist word.
“I don’t hate him. I never hated him. I wanted to punch him at the time but for me to hate someone is impossible. I don’t have hate in my heart. I can react but hate is a strong word for me. When I was asked to pick a team of my best players, I named Suarez as one of my XI. He was the best striker at that time.
“Why should I not recognise his talent even if he isn’t a good person? I don’t even know if he is a good person. We had one episode. At that time, I wouldn’t have gone on holiday with him but I can’t hate him.”