Patrice Evra says he agonised over his decision to leave Manchester United for Juventus last year and came close to changing his mind.
The French full-back brought a successful eight-year stay at Old Trafford to a close when he signed for the Italian giants in July 2014, winning Serie A and reaching the final of the Champions League in his first season in Turin.
The former Monaco man came close to staying though, with his wife’s desire to leave England and Juve’s determined pursuit of his services ultimately swaying him.
“The only person who takes the full responsibility why I leave Man United is myself,” he told the Sunday Times. “I am the one to make the choice.
“Juventus had already talked to me. The challenge was so exciting. [Former coach Antonio] Conte had called me a lot during the World Cup. It was not difficult to go to Juventus, because it is such a big, historic club. But it was difficult to leave Manchester United.”
According to Evra, both former United manager David Moyes, as well as his successor Louis van Gaal and club chief executive Ed Woodward sought to convince the France international to reject the advances of the Italian champions.
“The president of Juventus, Andrea Agnelli called me and said ‘Look, we didn’t put your contract to the Italian league [yet], you can change your mind, but we really want you here.’
“And I feel somebody really wants me strongly, with a lot of respect.
“After that … I call Ed Woodward to say, ‘I am sorry, I already gave my word to Juventus, I can’t go back [on it].'”
Opting to reject Juventus could have prompted a role change for Evra at United.
The 34-year-old claimed Van Gaal offered him a position as a central defender in the 3-5-2 formation employed – with indifferent results – by the Dutchman early in his reign last season.