Exceptional guest of the show “Rothen ignites” this Thursday on RMC, on the occasion of the release of his autobiographical book “I love this game”, Patrice Evra returned to the complicated story between Yoann Gourcuff and The french team.
A wasted talent. Long promised a huge career, to the point of being considered by some as the natural successor to Zinédine Zidane, Yoann Gourcuff will not have had the influence announced and hoped for. Blame it on repeated injuries. And at a pressure perhaps sometimes too hard to bear. After having experienced the heights with the Girondins, with this fabulous hat-trick in 2009 (French championship, League Cup, Champions Trophy), the elegant playmaker has chained the galleys and dragged his spleen in club, at the OL, as in selection. His story with the Blues was particularly complicated. Many things have been said and told about his discomfort in the France team and his strained relationships with certain teammates.
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Exceptional guest of the show “Rothen ignites” this Thursday on RMC, on the occasion of the release of his autobiographical book “I love this game”, Patrice Evra wanted to give his truth on the Gourcuff case. With a focus on what happened in 2010 in Knysna. As a reminder, in the middle of the World Cup, Franck Ribéry had gone so far as to invite himself on the set of Téléfoot on TF1 to sweep away the rumors then evoking a fight with Gourcuff. “At that time, everyone wanted his skin. There were lots of lies. They said he was terrified by scum. I had gone to see Yo and told him that Ribéry had never spoken badly to him. I told him to talk,” Evra recalled. “We made a legend about Ribéry, who supposedly hit or threatened Gourcuff. It’s not true,” added Nicolas Anelka.
When Domenech “cut off the head” of Gourcuff
“The truth is that people told him to stay back: ‘It’s going to hit the scum, you’re the little Frenchman.’ It disappointed me because I defended him. He was losing balls because he was under too much pressure. I think it was Henry who said to him: “Yo, after your season in Ligue 1, Manchester City is interested in you, you should go to a big club.” He replied with a very soft voice: “No, I don’t have the level yet, I can’t.” The guys said to themselves that something was wrong”, detailed Evra on the antenna of RMC.
“The worst thing is that I went to see Raymond (Domenech) saying to him: ‘We have a problem, we have to play with two attackers because Nico (Anelka) needs support.’ Raymond said to me, ‘You want to cut off the lamb’s head? Don’t worry, I’ll cut off his head, he won’t play tomorrow.’ I said, ‘I didn’t come for that. It’s not my role. I wanted to talk about Nico.’ It was Raymond who cut off his head. Gourcuff was on the bus afterwards with Gignac laughing. I said to him: ‘Yo, do you realize that tomorrow you’re not playing when you’re a phenomenon? Do you think is that normal?’ He told me he was under too much pressure, that he preferred not to play, that he felt happier that way,” added the former Manchester United captain. Gourcuff’s last match for the France team was a friendly match in June 2013 against Uruguay. A 1-0 defeat for Didier Deschamps’ men.
If he never publicly announced his retirement, his father Christian took care of it for him last year. “In the head, he is good, I think he is happy, explained the former Nantes coach. You have to know how to turn the page. There was a lot of frustration at the end of his career, but he digested that well. You have to be reasonable, you don’t start like that after two years.” Gourcuff had left Dijon by mutual agreement in January 2019.