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Patrice Evra on ageing gracefully at Juventus

Juventus left-back Patrice Evra is maturing "like a bottle of wine", the 35-year-old "playing every game like it's my last" as he aspires to winning the UEFA Champions League one more time.

Patrice Evra is a UEFA Champions League fan for life
Patrice Evra is a UEFA Champions League fan for life ©Getty Images

"I have been in five UEFA Champions League finals and I've only won one – with Manchester United in 2008. I've lost three finals against Barcelona. Without Barcelona I would have four Champions League winners' medals.

"The Champions League for me especially is the most beautiful competition. Whenever I have heard that anthem, it has felt special, and that's still the case now that I'm 35. I will love the Champions League for life.

"I was surprised to hear that Gianluigi Buffon had never won this competition. He deserves it. When I arrived here, I knew Gigi Buffon because I had watched him on TV, but when you train with him, when you play with him, you think: 'Whoah! What a player!' The older he gets, the better he gets. I think that he makes some saves now that he didn't make when he was 18.

"I feel very good too. I'm starting to see myself like a bottle of wine, you know? The older I get, the better the taste. I am a competitor and I want to play until my legs can't do it anymore. When I see that my level is dropping, I will just retire. I am honest with myself, but at the moment I am having fun. I love to run. I'm playing every game like it's my last.

"When you start to work out during your holidays, you know you've got the motivation. When I stop working hard during my holidays and getting excited before the beginning of the season, that's when I'll know it's time to call it quits. My examples are the likes of Paolo Maldini and Javier Zanetti – they played until they were 40. Ryan Giggs too.

2008 final highlights: Penalty glory for Manchester United

"I am calmer now. I see things much better – when you are 20 you run, run, run and put in a lot of crosses, but now you can maybe only put in five crosses per game, and so one of them has to be an assist. You also approach your positioning differently. When you are young, you might be in the wrong position but you know you are fast and so you can compensate with your speed. Now you have to make sure you're ready and in the right position.

"I remember Ryan Giggs telling me when he was 37 that it was one of his best years. I asked why. He said: 'It's like it's too easy.' After the games, he wasn't tired – and it's true. When I was 20, I played a lot of games and I was really tired afterwards. But now, because you play more with your head, after the game you feel good, even though we work very hard with Juventus.

"I can only hope that 37 will be one of my best years too. It's going to be in two years. It'll come round quickly! But I just want to enjoy it. I want to enjoy myself – like I always say, I love this game."