PATRICE Evra has left Marseille by mutual consent and been banned from Uefa competition for the rest of the season for kicking one of his own fans.
The former Monaco, Manchester United and Juventus full-back, 36, is banned by Uefa until June 2018, the same month his Marseille deal would have ended.
Having played in the Europa League group stage, Evra would not have been able to play for another side in Europe this season even without his ban.
He was fined 10,000 euros (£8,829).
Evra aimed a kick at a fan next to the pitch before a Europa League game with Vitoria Guimaraes on 2 November.
The France defender joined Marseille in January 2017 from Juventus, where he had spent three seasons following his departure from Old Trafford.
“By mutual agreement, Marseille and Evra have decided to put an end to their partnership,” said a club statement. “The player’s contract is officially terminated with immediate effect.”
French newspaper L’Equipe reported that Marseille supporters had been jeering Evra for about half an hour while the players prepared for the game with Vitoria Guimaraes, which the Ligue 1 side lost 1-0.
The player had gone over to the fans to talk to them, but the situation escalated.
Evra, who was named as a substitute for the game, was dismissed before kick-off so Marseille were able to begin the match with 11 players.
During their Ligue 1 win over Caen on 5 November, some Marseille fans unfurled a banner that read: “You thought you were above the institution OM and its supporters. We don’t want you wearing our colours. Evra get out.”
What has been Marseille’s reaction?
Marseille president Jacques-Henri Eyraud in a statement on the club’s website:
Today there is great sadness at the club, above all for Patrice Evra, who well understands the consequences of his actions and is no longer able to undertake his passion at Olympic Marseille, and for the Olympic Marseille supporters, who have been stigmatised by the irresponsible behaviour of a handful of fans.
Despite this incident, we are determined more than ever to demonstrate on and off the field that we are driven by the highest individual and collective standards.
How it happened
- Named as a substitute, Evra begins warming up with his team-mates before the game
- The former Manchester United left-back appears to be the target of songs and abuse from the crowd for about 30 minutes
- Evra approaches the Marseille fans, about 500 of whom had travelled to Guimaraes
- He volleys a ball towards the crowd, but some of his team-mates come over and look to calm the defender down
- Evra climbs over the billboards and looks to confront spectators who have come towards the front of the stand
- The 36-year-old returns to the pitch, but a group of fans approach the billboards and Evra appears to kick one of them
- Evra is led away to the substitutes’ bench, but is sent off by the referee and watches the game from the stands
Julien Laurens, French football expert speaking on the BBC’s Euro Leagues Podcast
The original problem was when he went to Guimaraes for the match, 500 Marseille ultras were the first ones into the ground. You could hear everything they were saying, and they started chanting about him, saying he was rubbish, ‘we don’t want you at the club’, because he has been poor recently.
He lost his place in the team and he took it badly as a former captain. Then they started to wind him up, saying ‘stick to your Instagram videos’ etc. There were no racist chants at all, a bit of abuse, but then Evra thought it was a good idea to kick a ball at the Ultras, which wound them up further.
You don’t do 28 hours on a coach to Portugal to insult a former captain, it was stupid. But it was also stupid for him to respond in the way he did. He has been insulted throughout his whole career. For him to respond in the way he did was quite stupid even if you understand the anger and frustration.