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Lucas Digne aims veiled dig at Rafa Benitez in emotional farewell to Everton fans

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Lucas Digne has aimed a parting shot at Everton boss Rafa Benitez after the Aston Villa-bound defender posted an emotional farewell message to Toffees fans ahead of his move to the West Midlands.

The French full back, 28, is on the verge if joining Steven Gerrard’s Villans in a £25million deal after falling down the pecking order at Goodison Park following reports of a rift with Benitez.

Digne’s last appearance for the Toffees was during the club’s 4-1 Merseyside Derby defeat by Liverpool and has since been frozen out by Benitez amid rumours of a dispute between the pair.

A January exit has long been on the cards, as a result, and Digne has taken to Instagram to post a farewell tribute to the Everton masses, which included a parting shot, appearing to be aimed at Benitez.

The lengthy message finished with the statement: ‘Sometimes it only takes one person from outside to destroy a beautiful love affair.’

He wrote: ‘Thank you for 3 1/2 years in Blue. From Day One the Evertonians have received me with a lot of warm feelings, and I am forever thankful for that.

‘I have loved to be a part of the Everton family. I have always worked hard to give back to the fans on and off the pitch. I have loved the unity of fans and players. Not only Goodison on a match day but also in everyday life.

‘Only one year ago I signed a new contract with the ambition of staying in this club for a long time, giving everything for my club, for the development and project, that I believed in – and for the passionate fans.

‘My dream was helping the club back where it belongs. Wearing the captain’s armband in some matches always made me proud.

‘Everything must come to an end. I just did not expect it to end this way. What has happened and some things that was said about me in the last month has made me very sad.

‘But I will not enter a war on words with anyone. The club don’t deserve that, the fans don’t deserve that – and to be honest, I don’t feel that I deserve that.

‘There are so many good and decent people in and around Everton who want to the best for this club and not only for themself [sic] – and to them i can only say from my heart: I wish you the best!

‘Thank you, to all you wonderful, proud and passionate true Evertonians. It has been a an honour and a true pleasure to play for you, the fans, the people – because a club do not belong to a player or a manager, but to the fans. I will always carry you with me in my heart wherever I go.

‘Sometimes it only takes one person from outside to destroy a beautiful love affair.

‘All the best to @everton and Evertonians’.

Benitez was critical of Digne’s attitude, saying: ‘We are paid big money to do our job and if someone is happy or not happy it is (still) up to you to perform in your job.

‘You have to put your interests behind the interests of the club. If you are not thinking about that the priority is you and not the team.’

Digne has attracted interest from a whole host of potential suitors including Chelsea, Newcastle, Napoli and Inter Milan, but Villa appear set to win the race for the France international.

Gerrard’s side have already landed Philippe Coutinho on loan from Barcelona and Digne is on the verge of being the next star through the door at Villa Park in a very fruitful window thus far for the club.

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