Patrice Evra has revealed that he "begged for money in front of shops" when he was homeless as a youngster in Paris, but insists he "wouldn't change anything about his upbringing" because it helped him to develop a strong character.
Evra enjoyed a hugely successful playing career spanning 20 years, with spells taken in at Monaco, Manchester United and Juventus.
The pacey defender spent his prime years at Old Trafford, helping the club win 15 trophies in total, including five Premier League titles and the Champions League.
He was widely regarded as one of the best left-backs of his generation, and also won 81 caps for France at international level.
However, Evra grew up in poverty before beginning his journey into professional football, and has now opened up on the extreme lengths he had to go to in order to avoid starving on the streets of the French capital.
“I’ll be honest with you, it was a tough childhood because I’ve got many brothers and sisters, so it wasn’t easy living in the street,” the 38-year-old told United's official podcast. “I was in Paris but living in the streets and sometimes I wasn’t even able to have some food.
“I remember my brother Dominique was working at a McDonalds and so I was going there and on his lunch break he was giving me his own food.
“I’m not scared to say that I’ve begged for money in front of shops. I’ve been in front of shops and when I’ve seen some people I’ve said, ‘Can I have a Euro?’ and sometimes they were giving me the money and sometimes not, just because I wanted to buy a sandwich.
“It was a tough time, but a happy time. I was always happy and always felt lucky, I wouldn’t change anything, I would keep it that way because it built the man I am.
“Some people, when you succeed they just see the end [result], they just see on the TV the superstar, but actually, on the streets, I learned so much and it helped me to be strong.
“Especially after the World Cup when I was the captain and a lot of people were blaming me but I was still strong because I know on the streets I had tougher times than then, with the press talking about you.”
Evra went on to stress that he does not want any sympathy for his struggles, and simply hopes that his story will inspire “kids to never give up”.
He said: “I’m not a victim, I’m not feeling sad. I don’t want any people to give me much love, because I’m telling those things. I’m just telling my true story.
“I just want to motivate more kids to never give up no matter what will happen. If you believe you’re going to become someone, if you walk out, if you believe in yourself, you’re going to do it. That’s it.”