The French defender had sustained an injury in an international fixture, but then-manager Didier Deschamps needed him to play through the pain and club doctors suggested that putting chicken into his boot would help.
Evra’s chicken-assisted performances were so impressive that Manchester United eventually came calling and brought him from the Ligue 1 side to the Premier League, where he won five league titles, three League Cups and a Champions League.
“People talk about when we made the Champions League final in 2004, but the craziest part [of my career] at Monaco came after I had played a game for the French U21 team,” Evra told The Players’ Tribune.
“An opponent had stamped on my foot and damaged it badly. In hospital I told the Monaco coach, Didier Deschamps, ‘It’s too painful. I can’t play. I can’t even walk!’
“But the team needed me, so the doctors tried everything to take away the pain. Nothing worked. Then someone from the club staff said, ‘Why don’t you just go old school?’
“Everyone said, ‘What do you mean?’
“He said, ‘Just slide a chicken down his boot.’
“It sounded crazy but, you know me, I’m open minded. So I went to my local butcher. The butcher said, ‘What do you want?’
“I said, ‘A piece of chicken. But just a tiny one.’
“He said, ‘A tiny one? How come?’
“I said, ‘I’m gonna put it in my boot.’
“He just laughed. I went home with the chicken. I ordered new boots: one in size 42.5, the other in size 44. I passed the ball. [It] felt okay. Painful, but okay. So I ended up playing with chicken in my boot for four months. I didn’t train with it — my mother would never have forgiven me for wasting food — but before every game I would visit the butcher. ‘Morning, Patrice. The usual, yeah?’
“The chicken enabled me to play so well that, in January 2006, I was signed by Manchester United.”