Juventus left-back Patrice Evra has revealed that Sir Alex Ferguson was powerless to prevent Paul Pogba from leaving Manchester United, despite enlisting the Frenchman’s help.
Pogba, 21, has since established himself as one of the top performers in Europe following his controversial free transfer from United to Juve in the summer of 2012, helping the club to back-to-back Serie A titles, while recording 14 goals and 17 assists in 93 total appearances.
Having joined the Italian giants himself this summer after eight-and-a-half seasons at Old Trafford, Evra is delighted to have teamed up with his compatriot once again but stresses that Ferguson was well aware of the midfielder’s qualities, despite giving him just four senior outings during his time at the club.
‘”La Pioche” [Pogba] is like a son to me,’ he told La Reppublica. ‘Sir Alex Ferguson sent me to his house to convince him to stay [at Manchester United].
‘He wept, he did not sleep, because he knew that he could become better than Vieira, but he had decided.
‘Ferguson knew that Pogba would become very strong, but also that he could not force the issue.’
Arriving from Monaco in 2006 for £5.5 million, Evra made 379 appearances at United, winning the Champions League in 2008, five Premier League titles, three League Cups and a Club World Cup under Ferguson.
However, the 62-times capped international claims that the atmosphere at the club was not the same following the Scot’s retirement, and isn’t sure whether the current squad has the character to make up for his departure.
‘Ferguson was at the heart of everything, he made sure that United was a family with a culture, a philosophy – we won for this, not because we were the most talented,’ he said.
‘I also say this of the Glazers – it takes a family, one that respects the history of the club, who feels the pressure of the past.
‘I have suffered a lot for David Moyes, a great person, but even with Ryan Giggs [as caretaker at the end of last season] things were different.
‘Now there are so many strong players, but I do not know if they are for Manchester – for this club you have to sacrifice everything. That is the culture that I had rediscovered at Juve.’