Well, it's been coming for a while, so hopefully you're all braced for the blow. Patrice Evra, left-back and hero, has officially left Manchester United. He will join Italian champions Juventus for a fee of around £1.2m.
In a statement to the club website, Evra thanked Alex Ferguson, his teammates and coaches, the Old Trafford staff and, of course, the fans:
My biggest thanks go to the fans. We have had some fantastic times together, we lifted all of those trophies together and that night in Moscow will live with us all forever. Every single time I stepped out in that shirt I knew I was playing for the badge and for a very special club.
My passion for this club will live on and I know you guys will go on to enjoy more success in the coming seasons.
Evra has been at Old Trafford for eight-and-a-half seasons, and lifted five league titles in that time. He also won the Champions League in 2008 and the League Cup on three occasions. He made a total of 379 appearances in that time, was named to the Premier League team of the year on three occasions, and scored ten goals, including this rather special effort against Bayern Munich:
More than that, though, he got it. Where modern footballers can often seem distant from the club they represent, there was never any doubt that Evra understood what playing for Manchester United means, how it matters, what the club should and should not be. There was never any doubt, to anybody watching him, that he gave as much of a toss as you did, and that, more than any clean sheet, is what we should demand from our players. And that, along with invaluable experience, is what the club has lost today. Godspeed, Patrice, and good luck.