Patrice Evra has opened up on his departure from Manchester United, as the Juventus defender prepares to contest the fifth Champions League final of his illustrious career against Barcelona in Berlin.
The experienced left-back, initially brought to the Premier League from AS Monaco by Sir Alex Ferguson back in 2006, finally departed Old Trafford for Turin in July 2014 ahead of Louis van Gaal's arrival in a deal worth an initial £1.2m ($1.8m).
While Manchester United had already completed the high-profile capture of budding England international Luke Shaw by the time Evra moved to Serie A, his contract had only been extended two months before a rather abrupt exit from English football.
The 34-year-old has continually cited personal reasons as the key motive behind such a decision, one that he still regards as difficult despite now standing on the brink of a possible treble in just his first season with Juventus.
"It was really difficult for me to leave Manchester United," he told Sky Sports. "I left for a personal choice.
"It doesn't matter if you go somewhere and you're still winning – it's always the wrong decision to leave a club like Manchester United. It was a shock at the beginning because, to be fair, I did not expect the way Juventus Football Club were working. They work really hard."
One of the more intriguing subplots ahead of Juventus' first Champions League showpiece since a penalty shootout defeat to domestic rivals AC Milan in 2003 concerns a reunion between Evra and Barcelona's Luis Suarez.
The controversial former Liverpool striker was handed an eight-match suspension by the Football Association (FA) in December 2011 after being found guilty of racially abusing Evra and the relationship between the two deteriorated even further later that season when Suarez snubbed an attempt at a traditional pre-match handshake.
"I will shake his hand – I am a professional," Evra confirmed.
"Like I've said many times, I'm proud of my colour and it doesn't matter. I'm playing against Barcelona, I'm not playing just against Luis Suarez. Every player in the team, they will feel me, because I will play a really important game."
Suarez has been spared a similar meeting with Giorgio Chiellini, the player he was adjudged to have bitten during Uruguay's 2014 World Cup Group D clash with Italy in an incident that led to a four-month ban from all football, as the veteran central defender has been ruled out of the clash at Olympiastadion with a calf injury.