In the run-up to the 2016/17 season, Paul Pogba hit the headlines, thanks his £89 million transfer from Juventus to Manchester United. The deal meant that Pogba is now the most expensive player in the world. So how has he reached this position at the age of just 23?
Paul Pogba – His Route to Top Flight Football
Born to Guinean parents in the Parisian commune of Lagny-sur-Marne, Paul and his family lived La Residence la Renardiere, an estate in Roissy-en-Brie, when he was young. His father, Fassau Antoine Pogba, a former footballer, encouraged his three sons to take up the sport.
“I played at a level that was lower than the one I wanted to play at. I wanted my boys to play at the highest possible level. I was really hard on them when they were kids and that meant that they learned quickly,” he told The Telegraph.
At the age of six, Paul joined US Roissy, a local club for which his older twin brothers, Florentin and Mathias, also played. He stayed there for seven seasons and, according to the coach of U19 team, Brahim Tlili, he showed promise from the start.
“We always could see Paul was special,” he told The Telegraph. “He was amazing on the pitch”.
After leaving US Roissy, Paul spent a season at nearby US Torcy, and captained the U13 team. He moved to Le Havre, in Normandy, and became the captain of the U16 team in his second season there. The team finished second in the “Championnat National des 16 ans” that year.
In 2008, he also made his international debut, as captain of the U16 team. He scored his first international goal, against Norway, in the final of the Aegean Cup, in January 2009, helping France to win the sought-after football trophy.
Pogba’s First Move to Manchester United – and His Departure for Italy
Six months later, Paul Pogba caused controversy when, despite having signed a “non-solicitation agreement” when he joined Le Havre, he announced that he was joining Manchester United’s youth academy. The move resulted in a legal battle between the clubs, although the matter was resolved out of court. The transfer was completed on October 7 2009 and Pogba debuted for the Reds’ U18s just three days later.
In 2010, Paul was temporarily promoted to the reserve team and, thanks to some impressive performances, was named as a squad member for the club’s tie against Crawley Town in the fifth round of the 2011 FA Cup. He continued playing for the U18s for the rest of the season, helping them to win the FA Youth Cup.
The following season, Pogba earned a permanent place in the senior reserves and, on 19 September 2011, he was given his first opportunity to play for the first team, coming on as a substitute in a League Cup match against Leeds. In January 2012, he made his first Premier League apperance, as a substitute in the Reds’ tie with Stoke City. In March 2012, he played his first European match for Manchester United, coming on as a substitute against Athletic Bilbao in the UEFA Europa League.
In July 2012, however, Sir Alex Ferguson made a statement stating that the player, who was out of contract, had signed for Juventus some time before, without the club’s knowledge.
“It’s disappointing. I don’t think he showed us any respect at all,” he said.
Success in Italy – and The Return to the Reds
It was at Juventus, however, that Paul Pogba really began to shine. He played regular first team football, and contributed to the club’s successful campaigns for a host of coveted football trophies, including four Serie A, two Coppa Italia, two SuperCoppa Italiana titles and one UEFA Champions league title. He won many individual accolades too.
Pogba has also been a key part of the French senior national team since 2013, and scored goals for his country in the FIFA 2014 World Cup and Euro 2016 tournaments.
When he returned to Old Trafford earlier this year, not everyone believed that he was worth the money the Reds paid from him, and critics have claimed that his initial performances for the team were disappointing. However, Pogba scored his first goal since rejoining the club last weekend – and fans of the player would argue that the best may be yet to come.
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