Manchester United and France defender Patrice Evra will be forced to explain comments in which he labelled French TV pundits, including Bixente Lizarazu, "tramps" on French TV programme Telefoot.
Per the Daily Mail's Declan Warrington, the French Football Federation will investigate the comments, in which Evra hit back at criticism of a talk he gave to teammates at half-time in a qualifying fixture against Belarus.
Evra fracas, French FA statement: http://t.co/TNJoUutJhb. The player will have to offer explanations for his outburst on Telefoot programme.— Philippe Auclair (@PhilippeAuclair) October 20, 2013
Evra said of Lizarazu and his fellow pundits:
There are some pundits with whom I will soon settle my differences with...they want to sell a lie to the French people that Evra is disliked. But that is not the case at all.
I do not know what Lizarazu has against me. I was twice voted best left-back in the world, four times the best left-back in the Premier League. Him, I don't even know if he was ever voted best left-back in the world.
I recall my first call-up to the national side, all the others shook my hand apart from him. Thierry Henry said to him, "Oh Liza, here is the opposition." And Lizarazu looked at me and said, "Why? Someone told you that I was already retired?."
People have a good impression of me, it won't be these tramps who dirty my image. They must stop lying to the French people.
The Red Devil has a chequered history with the French national side, having been seen as a leading figure in organising a players strike at the 2010 World Cup, per David Hytner of the The Guardian.
That incident earned then-captain Evra a five-match suspension, which former player Lilian Thuram insisted should have been a lifetime ban in quotes reported by the Press Association via the The Guardian.
Evra has since returned to the France setup, where he is once more one of the squad's most senior players. His outburst against Lizarazu, though, will see him need to defend himself once more.
Manchester City's Gael Clichy had started the encounter against Belarus, which the Eastern European side had led 1-0 at the break—when Evra's team talk allegedly occurred. For the most part the United player has been first-choice under Didier Deschamps throughout qualification.
Regardless of what Lizarazu and his peers may have made of his intervention against Belarus, Evra's former Monaco manager, Deschamps, was clearly not perturbed—with the defender starting both last week's fixtures against Australia and Finland.
Post-Euro 2012, Evra's career had appeared to be in decline with both club and country, having struggled for form over the course of the 2011-12 season while his reputation was still low in his homeland following the South Africa World Cup.
Over the past year, though, the 32-year-old has been in excellent form and has even added to his game with goals at club level. In spite of talk of a summer exit from Old Trafford this summer, his stock remains strong with the Red Devils.
So Evra was criticised because he gave a team-talk a number of players praised? He's entitled to have a go back, in that case.— Samuel Luckhurst (@samuelluckhurst) October 21, 2013
Dugarry also largely supportive. Said Evra went too far but pointed out even when Evra does something right he's public enemy number one— James Eastham (@james_eastham) October 20, 2013
He is an outspoken personality who is not afraid to speak his mind to the media—which does not always make for an easy life. How the FFF will respond to the left-back getting involved in another high-profile incident remains to be seen.
Deschamps has consistently shown faith in Evra thus far, but he will be hoping that the footballing authorities do not take too dim a view of his player's latest comments.