Manchester United legend, Patrice Evra has opened up on his harrowing experience of dealing drugs, begging on the streets, and also being sexually abused by his school teacher.
Evra, 40, made the brave decision to speak out while writing his autobiography.
The former defender, who is now taking part in a new BBC One Series, Freeze the Fear, hosted by Holly Willoughby and Lee Mack – and, on the latest episode, delved into his dark past.
While playing two truths and a lie with celebrities, he explained he resorted to eating cold Big Macs out of bins, sent off course after his dad left when he was aged just 13.
‘I did like three things before playing football,’ he said.
Tamzin Outhwaite replied: ‘Put them in any order you want, don’t include football.’
He then said: ‘Selling drugs. Begging in front of the shop, for money, and working in a TV shop. One is not true.’
The guests attempted to guess what the false claim was, and he went on to reveal: ‘I didn’t sell TVs. The other two are true. I was like 13.’
A visibly shocked Gabby Logan was reacted by saying: ’13 when both of those happened? So you got involved with a bad bunch.’
Evra admitted that begging became ‘normal’ for him, adding: ‘Sometimes even at midnight, when they throw away the cold Big Macs, we were going into the bin.
‘I think when my dad left it was like chaos.’
Quizzed on how he left the turmoil behind, he said: ‘The football saved me.
‘When I was 17, I travelled to Italy. I remember when we arrived and we were sitting all the time and they were serving us food. I got into my room.
‘I wore a tracksuit and I called my Mum and said, “Mum, here is like heaven, people are serving us food, it’s like two forks in one side, two knives in one side.”
‘That’s my best memory.’
Evra also said being sexually abused at a young age heavily impacted his life.
He said: ‘Being sexually abused at the age of 13 had a massive impact on my life. You just feel shame about yourself.
‘When you don’t trust the authority, because it was my head teacher, you just don’t trust anybody else.’
Evra played almost 400 matches, winning five Premier League trophies and the Champions League in 2008. With France, he earned 81 caps and was voted into the FIFA FIFPro World XI in 2009.