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Evra: You can't hurt me with monkey noises or bananas, but something has to change

3:18 PM GMT+8 05/08/2019
Patrice Evra
The former Manchester United and Juventus defender retired from football last week, and says he has seen too much to be affected by racist abuse

Patrice Evra says racism has to be stubbed out like a ‘bad habit’, but that he has gone through too much in his life to be affected by racist abuse.

The former Manchester United, Juventus and Monaco left-back announced his retirement from football last week, and has been reflecting on his 20-year professional career.

The Frenchman suffered from racist abuse throughout his career, though he says he doesn’t hate Barcelona forward Luis Suarez despite the Uruguayan being found guilty of misconduct after calling Evra a “negro” during a Premier League match in 2011.

“I have played in Italy, too, and they have thrown bananas and made monkey noises,” Evra told the Daily Mail.

“When you are strong inside, these things don't touch you. They make you stronger.

“What I hate is when I know someone is weaker than me and it will affect them. In my life, I go through many things and you can't hurt me with monkey noises or bananas.

“It's when you talk about my family.”

Over the weekend, Championship side Fulham launched an investigation into their own away support after defender Ryan Christie accused a couple of assaulting and racially abusing his sister after the Cottagers’ 1-0 defeat at Barnsley.

Racism has been on the increase in English football. Despite the deterrent of clubs like Chelsea last week banning a fan for life for racially abusing Raheem Sterling, anti-discrimination charity Kick It Out reported an increase of 43 per cent in reports of racist abuse last season compared to the previous year.

Evra has spoken of his dislike for what he sees as ‘fake’ campaigns like Say No To Racism, but he believes progress has to be made somehow.

“I'm here because it is not fair to do that to someone,” he continued. “We are living in 2019.

“It will start to be like a habit and that is really bad. We can talk about terrorism and when a bomb is somewhere, we just say, "Oh, another one".

“We won't be in shock because of the society we live in. Everything is a habit.

“But I worry that something really big will happen and that is why we have to stop it.”