Patrice Evra faces his disciplinary destiny on Friday when he could be sacked by Marseille and heavily sanctioned by UEFA for aiming a karate kick at one of his own supporters.
The fiery 36-year-old former Manchester United and Juventus defender was red-carded for his violent reaction to being taunted by Marseille fans during the pre-match warm-up at last week’s Europa League game against Vitoria Guimaraes in Portugal.
Marseille and UEFA have both scheduled decisions for Friday with many observers believing that Evra will at least suffer the same punishment handed out to French compatriot Eric Cantona for his flying kick in 1995.
Cantona, playing for Manchester United at Crystal Palace, was banned for eight months by the English FA.
Evra has already been suspended by Marseille while the club’s fanatical supporters insist they do not want the French international to represent them again.
“This Game is Over” said a banner unfurled at the club’s Stade Velodrome home at last weekend’s 5-0 win over Caen.
Another banner read: “We don’t want you in our colours anymore. Evra get lost.”
Evra has attempted damage limitation.
“Great result tonight well done guys I’m really proud of you. Thanks to all real Olympique Marseille fans… I’m receiving so much support from them,” Evra wrote on his Instagram account.
Marseille’s American owner Frank McCourt has said that Evra’s moment of madness was “unacceptable” but he also pointed the finger at the fans involved.
“This was unacceptable behaviour, from both the player and the supporters,” McCourt told La Provence newspaper.
“It’s not something that we can tolerate at Marseille, it’s as simple as that.
“It’s a very regrettable incident and it is really a pity to see a great player like Patrice pushed to a point where he behaves like that,” McCourt said.
Hardline Marseille fans insist that Evra is no longer welcome at the club.
“It’s not possible for him to play again at the ‘Vel’,” Michel Tonini, the head of Yankees Virage Nord supporters group and who was at the game in Portugal, told AFP.
“It was insulting, but at Marseille, I have seen players like Rudi Voeller getting stoned — and we were on the way to becoming European champions.
“I have known days when players hid in the boots of cars to escape fans. It’s always been like this at Marseille.”
“It was he who crossed the barriers and said ‘come tell me face to face’. With a gesture like that, you will find someone who will do it.”
Another group, Les Fanatics, said in a statement that Evra must bear all responsibility.
“The only person who committed an act of violence was the one wearing the blue and white shirt,” they said.
“To suggest that fans travelled for 40 hours by bus just to insult one player is as stupid as it is unfounded.”-Agence France-Presse