Play to win

From taking on the kids on the local pitch in Roissy-en-Brie to learning from sporting legends such as Tom Brady and Michael Jordan, Paul Pogba tells Ian Holyman what it takes to get to the top – and stay there

Interview
When legendary NFL quarterback Tom Brady said, “I really do just want to win,” Paul Pogba knows exactly what he means. Paul Pogba, you cry? The Manchester United superstar with the swagger and the style? The French World Cup winner whose winner’s medals shine almost as brightly as his smile? Come on, does he really care? Isn’t he more about haircuts than hunger? Not now. Not ever.

“What you see from the outside is that athletes earn a lot and that they’re famous and recognised all over the world, but what you usually don’t see is the work that they put in off the pitch, and that’s the most important aspect to me,” he tells us over Zoom. “You don’t see their family problems or their everyday problems either. Yet they still manage to be on the pitch, to perform well and to be the best; they manage to keep working and be the best for another two, three, even ten years, or throughout a whole career. That’s what mental strength is and that’s what all sportspeople can draw inspiration from.”

Pogba expands on his admiration for the man who became an NFL champion again last season, aged 43. “Tom Brady was just an example to really show people that, despite his age, he was still up to the challenge. He changed franchises but still won, which means that it’s possible to do so. I wanted to show people that you could still succeed after changing clubs. He never gives up.”

To stave off the setting sun during the Indian summer of his career, Brady has had to call on some considerable mental strength – and Pogba was doing the same at the dawn of his. An ambitious and feverishly sought-after teenage talent at Le Havre, he left the familiar cocoon of France for northwest England and the unforgiving environment of Manchester United. With first-team opportunities limited and his patience wearing thin, he took another leap of faith in his own abilities and joined Juventus aged 19, defying the wishes of United’s iconic boss, Sir Alex Ferguson. Consider what  sort of confidence that requires…

Pogba’s boldness paid dividends in the form of four Serie A titles – and that signature courage underpinned his return to United in 2016. He finished the following campaign with the Europa League trophy in his hand, a feat he came within a penalty kick of emulating in May. For an established senior international and one of the game’s biggest and best talents, it was not a question of coming full circle but, rather, of making the next move up.

Although a self-confessed fan of another American sporting great in the form of NBA icon Michael Jordan, Pogba’s United comeback was anything but the last dance. In fact he was only getting warmed up, with no intention of tweaking the single-minded modus operandi that had taken him that far.

“I think that most of us already know [Jordan’s] story, and his leadership and work ethic really have been an inspiration to me. You have to be at least a little bit selfish and think of yourself in order to be the best. That means that after a training session, if your friends call you to go out you need to think of yourself, refuse and go and train more instead.

“You want to take the last shots, like [Jordan] did, and you always want to win. That requires extraordinary mental strength. Muhammad Ali is also an inspiration for me. In his day he was one of the youngest heavyweights – just like Mike Tyson after him – to be crowned world champion. All of those people are inspirations because of their daily work ethic. They push themselves. They might fall or lose but they keep going, they come back stronger and they never give up. That’s important to me.”

Pogba is 28 now and wants to serve as an example to follow in the United dressing room. “You can be a leader both on and off the pitch; you can speak with the young players and the whole squad, and you can motivate them too. Motivating my team-mates motivates me in return. Whenever I see a team-mate of mine always training and working hard, that pushes me to train and reach my limits. That’s how you develop, as we want to win trophies together and you need everyone to be involved if you want to succeed. You can’t win alone.

"Football is first and foremost a sport that I love. I loved it then and I love it now. I had dreams which came true and those dreams became my job, so the love that I have for football will always be there. Whether I’m old, on TV or whatever, I won’t change my habits or the way that I am. You’ll always get to see the same person, the same Paul Pogba, be it on camera or not”
"I've been lucky enough to earn fame and be a role model, so i just want to be able to put a smile on those children's faces"

“Football is both one of the most collective and one of the most selfish sports. I mean selfish for strikers in particular, as they need to score and perform well. That’s their job: they have to prove themselves by scoring goals. It’s also a selfish sport because you have team-mates in your position who are sitting on the bench. So you need to think of yourself too and, in doing so, your team-mates will notice that and also give their best, as they also want to play.

“That’s what football is about: pushing yourself on a daily basis, not letting someone else take your place. And at the same time, if you’re not playing, doing everything that you can to take someone else’s place even though you’re both on the same team. If you see it in the right way, it pushes you to show the best version of yourself.”

That drive finds its source in Roissy-en-Brie, the eastern Parisian suburb where Paul and his brothers grew up. Two-and-a-half years younger than twins Mathias and Florentin, La Pioche – the joker – as Pogba is known to his family, fashioned both his physique and flair on the pitch in front of the family’s apartment block.

“It all started there. That’s where I grew up. That’s the first pitch that we played on and where we enjoyed playing football. That’s where I won my first games with my friends and that’s something that I’ll never forget for as long as I live. In terms of how we play on the pitch, like the way we protect the ball, it all started there, so the five-a-side pitch and Roissy-en-Brie will always be a part of me and a part of my game.”

It seems that for Pogba, the big boys’ playground was the making of a superstar. “First of all, my brothers are older than me so I always considered it a challenge. I always wanted to be with them, to play with them, to hang out with their friends. So sometimes we’d play football with older guys. It was always challenging, it was harder. That’s what built me up, it really did.

“I improved. I might have improved faster, actually. You have to improve because when you play with guys who are older than you, it’s more physical and more technical. They’d give me challenges: ‘Come and play with us; stop playing with your friends and come with us to play real football.’ That kind of thing. So, I went and played with them and I often lost, but I kept going and that built me up. That’s why I’m a really, really sore loser. I’m a winner, I like winning. That’s it.

“My brothers inspired me, especially on the mental side of things. I know that my brothers never gave up. I could see it in the way we grew up, what they experienced, how they started, going to the [Celta Vigo] football academy, leaving for Spain. I saw all of that. When I saw my brothers doing that it pushed me to want to join a football academy, to do well, to play, to turn professional. We all signed pro in the same year so it was a dream for all of us. It’s rare to have brothers who play football at a high level. Not everyone does that. We push each other all the time, we support each other all the time and we all want to do well.”

The trio remain tight knit, with Mathias and Florentin frequently spotted at their kid brother’s biggest games. But they have also united forces off it, setting up the Pogba Foundation in 2017 to, in Paul’s own words, “try to do our part to make this world a better place and hope to inspire others to do the same”.

Further individual initiatives have followed, with the United midfielder using the occasion of his birthday to back a charity. After his 26th birthday was dedicated to a project called Charity: Water, he pledged financial support to UNICEF to help children affected by the Covid-19 pandemic when he turned 27.

Seed – a charity seeking to provide clean water access in poverty-riven Niger – was the beneficiary on Pogba’s 28th. That west Africa’s largest country came to Pogba’s attention is no surprise given he is the very first member of the family, who hail from Guinea, to be born in Europe. “Here’s how I see things: I’ve been lucky enough to earn money and fame and to be a role model to so many people, so I just want to be able to put a smile on those children’s faces, on those people’s faces, but also to inspire them.

“It’s a pleasure for me. I really love doing it. I hope that it helps these children, that it’ll keep on helping them and that it’ll boost them in their future, because we’re lucky enough to have everything here.”

Pogba also took part in UEFA’s Sign for an Equal Game campaign this summer, urging fans to join the fight against discrimination. “I’m lucky to have so many things here in Europe, where I grew up. I have so much but in Africa, in Asia and all over the world, there are people in need. So, for me, helping them is normal because I think that my role is also to help people who are in need.”

Smiles feature heavily in Pogba’s life, to the point that there’s rarely an occasion when there isn’t one on his face. His joie de vivre spills over into his game regardless of the pressures of his profession and the stakes at play. However, that should never be mistaken for a carefree attitude to his job. “That’s actually something natural. I’m someone who likes to laugh and to be joyful. I’ve always been positive, as I grew up in a positive family, and that comes across a lot both on and off the pitch. Football is first and foremost a sport that I love. I loved it then and I love it now.

“I had dreams which came true and those dreams became my job, so the love that I have for football will always be there. Whether I’m old, on TV or whatever, I won’t change my habits or the way that I am. You’ll always get to see the same person, the same Paul Pogba, be it on camera or not.”

He’s also happy to get another member of his family on film, and embarrass her into the bargain: mum Yeo. She appeared on social media when she joined the ranks of those professional opponents who have suffered the ignominy of a Pogba nutmeg.

“That’s something that also started in the suburbs. Unfortunately for my mum, I had to do it. She opened her legs and I nutmegged her. That’s the kind of relationship we have. We like kidding around and laughing at each other, and that’s what I did. As we say, ‘Teasing is loving.’ I tease my mother quite a lot.”

Insight
Score, dance, repeat

As well as forming a close relationship with his older (twin) brothers Mathias and Florentin through the joy of football, Paul Pogba has also bonded with them through the medium of dance; there are numerous videos of their choreographed capers to be found across social media. The youngest of the trio even broke out a few moves after his wonder goal against Switzerland at EURO 2020, showing himself to be a baller and danseur in one fell swoop. Look out for more rhythmic efforts in the Champions League this season.

“What you see from the outside is that athletes earn a lot and that they’re famous and recognised all over the world, but what you usually don’t see is the work that they put in off the pitch, and that’s the most important aspect to me,” he tells us over Zoom. “You don’t see their family problems or their everyday problems either. Yet they still manage to be on the pitch, to perform well and to be the best; they manage to keep working and be the best for another two, three, even ten years, or throughout a whole career. That’s what mental strength is and that’s what all sportspeople can draw inspiration from.”

Pogba expands on his admiration for the man who became an NFL champion again last season, aged 43. “Tom Brady was just an example to really show people that, despite his age, he was still up to the challenge. He changed franchises but still won, which means that it’s possible to do so. I wanted to show people that you could still succeed after changing clubs. He never gives up.”

To stave off the setting sun during the Indian summer of his career, Brady has had to call on some considerable mental strength – and Pogba was doing the same at the dawn of his. An ambitious and feverishly sought-after teenage talent at Le Havre, he left the familiar cocoon of France for northwest England and the unforgiving environment of Manchester United. With first-team opportunities limited and his patience wearing thin, he took another leap of faith in his own abilities and joined Juventus aged 19, defying the wishes of United’s iconic boss, Sir Alex Ferguson. Consider what  sort of confidence that requires…

Pogba’s boldness paid dividends in the form of four Serie A titles – and that signature courage underpinned his return to United in 2016. He finished the following campaign with the Europa League trophy in his hand, a feat he came within a penalty kick of emulating in May. For an established senior international and one of the game’s biggest and best talents, it was not a question of coming full circle but, rather, of making the next move up.

Although a self-confessed fan of another American sporting great in the form of NBA icon Michael Jordan, Pogba’s United comeback was anything but the last dance. In fact he was only getting warmed up, with no intention of tweaking the single-minded modus operandi that had taken him that far.

“I think that most of us already know [Jordan’s] story, and his leadership and work ethic really have been an inspiration to me. You have to be at least a little bit selfish and think of yourself in order to be the best. That means that after a training session, if your friends call you to go out you need to think of yourself, refuse and go and train more instead.

“You want to take the last shots, like [Jordan] did, and you always want to win. That requires extraordinary mental strength. Muhammad Ali is also an inspiration for me. In his day he was one of the youngest heavyweights – just like Mike Tyson after him – to be crowned world champion. All of those people are inspirations because of their daily work ethic. They push themselves. They might fall or lose but they keep going, they come back stronger and they never give up. That’s important to me.”

Pogba is 28 now and wants to serve as an example to follow in the United dressing room. “You can be a leader both on and off the pitch; you can speak with the young players and the whole squad, and you can motivate them too. Motivating my team-mates motivates me in return. Whenever I see a team-mate of mine always training and working hard, that pushes me to train and reach my limits. That’s how you develop, as we want to win trophies together and you need everyone to be involved if you want to succeed. You can’t win alone.

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"Football is first and foremost a sport that I love. I loved it then and I love it now. I had dreams which came true and those dreams became my job, so the love that I have for football will always be there. Whether I’m old, on TV or whatever, I won’t change my habits or the way that I am. You’ll always get to see the same person, the same Paul Pogba, be it on camera or not”
"I've been lucky enough to earn fame and be a role model, so i just want to be able to put a smile on those children's faces"

“Football is both one of the most collective and one of the most selfish sports. I mean selfish for strikers in particular, as they need to score and perform well. That’s their job: they have to prove themselves by scoring goals. It’s also a selfish sport because you have team-mates in your position who are sitting on the bench. So you need to think of yourself too and, in doing so, your team-mates will notice that and also give their best, as they also want to play.

“That’s what football is about: pushing yourself on a daily basis, not letting someone else take your place. And at the same time, if you’re not playing, doing everything that you can to take someone else’s place even though you’re both on the same team. If you see it in the right way, it pushes you to show the best version of yourself.”

That drive finds its source in Roissy-en-Brie, the eastern Parisian suburb where Paul and his brothers grew up. Two-and-a-half years younger than twins Mathias and Florentin, La Pioche – the joker – as Pogba is known to his family, fashioned both his physique and flair on the pitch in front of the family’s apartment block.

“It all started there. That’s where I grew up. That’s the first pitch that we played on and where we enjoyed playing football. That’s where I won my first games with my friends and that’s something that I’ll never forget for as long as I live. In terms of how we play on the pitch, like the way we protect the ball, it all started there, so the five-a-side pitch and Roissy-en-Brie will always be a part of me and a part of my game.”

It seems that for Pogba, the big boys’ playground was the making of a superstar. “First of all, my brothers are older than me so I always considered it a challenge. I always wanted to be with them, to play with them, to hang out with their friends. So sometimes we’d play football with older guys. It was always challenging, it was harder. That’s what built me up, it really did.

“I improved. I might have improved faster, actually. You have to improve because when you play with guys who are older than you, it’s more physical and more technical. They’d give me challenges: ‘Come and play with us; stop playing with your friends and come with us to play real football.’ That kind of thing. So, I went and played with them and I often lost, but I kept going and that built me up. That’s why I’m a really, really sore loser. I’m a winner, I like winning. That’s it.

“My brothers inspired me, especially on the mental side of things. I know that my brothers never gave up. I could see it in the way we grew up, what they experienced, how they started, going to the [Celta Vigo] football academy, leaving for Spain. I saw all of that. When I saw my brothers doing that it pushed me to want to join a football academy, to do well, to play, to turn professional. We all signed pro in the same year so it was a dream for all of us. It’s rare to have brothers who play football at a high level. Not everyone does that. We push each other all the time, we support each other all the time and we all want to do well.”

The trio remain tight knit, with Mathias and Florentin frequently spotted at their kid brother’s biggest games. But they have also united forces off it, setting up the Pogba Foundation in 2017 to, in Paul’s own words, “try to do our part to make this world a better place and hope to inspire others to do the same”.

Further individual initiatives have followed, with the United midfielder using the occasion of his birthday to back a charity. After his 26th birthday was dedicated to a project called Charity: Water, he pledged financial support to UNICEF to help children affected by the Covid-19 pandemic when he turned 27.

Seed – a charity seeking to provide clean water access in poverty-riven Niger – was the beneficiary on Pogba’s 28th. That west Africa’s largest country came to Pogba’s attention is no surprise given he is the very first member of the family, who hail from Guinea, to be born in Europe. “Here’s how I see things: I’ve been lucky enough to earn money and fame and to be a role model to so many people, so I just want to be able to put a smile on those children’s faces, on those people’s faces, but also to inspire them.

“It’s a pleasure for me. I really love doing it. I hope that it helps these children, that it’ll keep on helping them and that it’ll boost them in their future, because we’re lucky enough to have everything here.”

Pogba also took part in UEFA’s Sign for an Equal Game campaign this summer, urging fans to join the fight against discrimination. “I’m lucky to have so many things here in Europe, where I grew up. I have so much but in Africa, in Asia and all over the world, there are people in need. So, for me, helping them is normal because I think that my role is also to help people who are in need.”

Smiles feature heavily in Pogba’s life, to the point that there’s rarely an occasion when there isn’t one on his face. His joie de vivre spills over into his game regardless of the pressures of his profession and the stakes at play. However, that should never be mistaken for a carefree attitude to his job. “That’s actually something natural. I’m someone who likes to laugh and to be joyful. I’ve always been positive, as I grew up in a positive family, and that comes across a lot both on and off the pitch. Football is first and foremost a sport that I love. I loved it then and I love it now.

“I had dreams which came true and those dreams became my job, so the love that I have for football will always be there. Whether I’m old, on TV or whatever, I won’t change my habits or the way that I am. You’ll always get to see the same person, the same Paul Pogba, be it on camera or not.”

He’s also happy to get another member of his family on film, and embarrass her into the bargain: mum Yeo. She appeared on social media when she joined the ranks of those professional opponents who have suffered the ignominy of a Pogba nutmeg.

“That’s something that also started in the suburbs. Unfortunately for my mum, I had to do it. She opened her legs and I nutmegged her. That’s the kind of relationship we have. We like kidding around and laughing at each other, and that’s what I did. As we say, ‘Teasing is loving.’ I tease my mother quite a lot.”

Insight
Score, dance, repeat

As well as forming a close relationship with his older (twin) brothers Mathias and Florentin through the joy of football, Paul Pogba has also bonded with them through the medium of dance; there are numerous videos of their choreographed capers to be found across social media. The youngest of the trio even broke out a few moves after his wonder goal against Switzerland at EURO 2020, showing himself to be a baller and danseur in one fell swoop. Look out for more rhythmic efforts in the Champions League this season.

“What you see from the outside is that athletes earn a lot and that they’re famous and recognised all over the world, but what you usually don’t see is the work that they put in off the pitch, and that’s the most important aspect to me,” he tells us over Zoom. “You don’t see their family problems or their everyday problems either. Yet they still manage to be on the pitch, to perform well and to be the best; they manage to keep working and be the best for another two, three, even ten years, or throughout a whole career. That’s what mental strength is and that’s what all sportspeople can draw inspiration from.”

Pogba expands on his admiration for the man who became an NFL champion again last season, aged 43. “Tom Brady was just an example to really show people that, despite his age, he was still up to the challenge. He changed franchises but still won, which means that it’s possible to do so. I wanted to show people that you could still succeed after changing clubs. He never gives up.”

To stave off the setting sun during the Indian summer of his career, Brady has had to call on some considerable mental strength – and Pogba was doing the same at the dawn of his. An ambitious and feverishly sought-after teenage talent at Le Havre, he left the familiar cocoon of France for northwest England and the unforgiving environment of Manchester United. With first-team opportunities limited and his patience wearing thin, he took another leap of faith in his own abilities and joined Juventus aged 19, defying the wishes of United’s iconic boss, Sir Alex Ferguson. Consider what  sort of confidence that requires…

Pogba’s boldness paid dividends in the form of four Serie A titles – and that signature courage underpinned his return to United in 2016. He finished the following campaign with the Europa League trophy in his hand, a feat he came within a penalty kick of emulating in May. For an established senior international and one of the game’s biggest and best talents, it was not a question of coming full circle but, rather, of making the next move up.

Although a self-confessed fan of another American sporting great in the form of NBA icon Michael Jordan, Pogba’s United comeback was anything but the last dance. In fact he was only getting warmed up, with no intention of tweaking the single-minded modus operandi that had taken him that far.

“I think that most of us already know [Jordan’s] story, and his leadership and work ethic really have been an inspiration to me. You have to be at least a little bit selfish and think of yourself in order to be the best. That means that after a training session, if your friends call you to go out you need to think of yourself, refuse and go and train more instead.

“You want to take the last shots, like [Jordan] did, and you always want to win. That requires extraordinary mental strength. Muhammad Ali is also an inspiration for me. In his day he was one of the youngest heavyweights – just like Mike Tyson after him – to be crowned world champion. All of those people are inspirations because of their daily work ethic. They push themselves. They might fall or lose but they keep going, they come back stronger and they never give up. That’s important to me.”

Pogba is 28 now and wants to serve as an example to follow in the United dressing room. “You can be a leader both on and off the pitch; you can speak with the young players and the whole squad, and you can motivate them too. Motivating my team-mates motivates me in return. Whenever I see a team-mate of mine always training and working hard, that pushes me to train and reach my limits. That’s how you develop, as we want to win trophies together and you need everyone to be involved if you want to succeed. You can’t win alone.

"Football is first and foremost a sport that I love. I loved it then and I love it now. I had dreams which came true and those dreams became my job, so the love that I have for football will always be there. Whether I’m old, on TV or whatever, I won’t change my habits or the way that I am. You’ll always get to see the same person, the same Paul Pogba, be it on camera or not”
"I've been lucky enough to earn fame and be a role model, so i just want to be able to put a smile on those children's faces"

“Football is both one of the most collective and one of the most selfish sports. I mean selfish for strikers in particular, as they need to score and perform well. That’s their job: they have to prove themselves by scoring goals. It’s also a selfish sport because you have team-mates in your position who are sitting on the bench. So you need to think of yourself too and, in doing so, your team-mates will notice that and also give their best, as they also want to play.

“That’s what football is about: pushing yourself on a daily basis, not letting someone else take your place. And at the same time, if you’re not playing, doing everything that you can to take someone else’s place even though you’re both on the same team. If you see it in the right way, it pushes you to show the best version of yourself.”

That drive finds its source in Roissy-en-Brie, the eastern Parisian suburb where Paul and his brothers grew up. Two-and-a-half years younger than twins Mathias and Florentin, La Pioche – the joker – as Pogba is known to his family, fashioned both his physique and flair on the pitch in front of the family’s apartment block.

“It all started there. That’s where I grew up. That’s the first pitch that we played on and where we enjoyed playing football. That’s where I won my first games with my friends and that’s something that I’ll never forget for as long as I live. In terms of how we play on the pitch, like the way we protect the ball, it all started there, so the five-a-side pitch and Roissy-en-Brie will always be a part of me and a part of my game.”

It seems that for Pogba, the big boys’ playground was the making of a superstar. “First of all, my brothers are older than me so I always considered it a challenge. I always wanted to be with them, to play with them, to hang out with their friends. So sometimes we’d play football with older guys. It was always challenging, it was harder. That’s what built me up, it really did.

“I improved. I might have improved faster, actually. You have to improve because when you play with guys who are older than you, it’s more physical and more technical. They’d give me challenges: ‘Come and play with us; stop playing with your friends and come with us to play real football.’ That kind of thing. So, I went and played with them and I often lost, but I kept going and that built me up. That’s why I’m a really, really sore loser. I’m a winner, I like winning. That’s it.

“My brothers inspired me, especially on the mental side of things. I know that my brothers never gave up. I could see it in the way we grew up, what they experienced, how they started, going to the [Celta Vigo] football academy, leaving for Spain. I saw all of that. When I saw my brothers doing that it pushed me to want to join a football academy, to do well, to play, to turn professional. We all signed pro in the same year so it was a dream for all of us. It’s rare to have brothers who play football at a high level. Not everyone does that. We push each other all the time, we support each other all the time and we all want to do well.”

The trio remain tight knit, with Mathias and Florentin frequently spotted at their kid brother’s biggest games. But they have also united forces off it, setting up the Pogba Foundation in 2017 to, in Paul’s own words, “try to do our part to make this world a better place and hope to inspire others to do the same”.

Further individual initiatives have followed, with the United midfielder using the occasion of his birthday to back a charity. After his 26th birthday was dedicated to a project called Charity: Water, he pledged financial support to UNICEF to help children affected by the Covid-19 pandemic when he turned 27.

Seed – a charity seeking to provide clean water access in poverty-riven Niger – was the beneficiary on Pogba’s 28th. That west Africa’s largest country came to Pogba’s attention is no surprise given he is the very first member of the family, who hail from Guinea, to be born in Europe. “Here’s how I see things: I’ve been lucky enough to earn money and fame and to be a role model to so many people, so I just want to be able to put a smile on those children’s faces, on those people’s faces, but also to inspire them.

“It’s a pleasure for me. I really love doing it. I hope that it helps these children, that it’ll keep on helping them and that it’ll boost them in their future, because we’re lucky enough to have everything here.”

Pogba also took part in UEFA’s Sign for an Equal Game campaign this summer, urging fans to join the fight against discrimination. “I’m lucky to have so many things here in Europe, where I grew up. I have so much but in Africa, in Asia and all over the world, there are people in need. So, for me, helping them is normal because I think that my role is also to help people who are in need.”

Smiles feature heavily in Pogba’s life, to the point that there’s rarely an occasion when there isn’t one on his face. His joie de vivre spills over into his game regardless of the pressures of his profession and the stakes at play. However, that should never be mistaken for a carefree attitude to his job. “That’s actually something natural. I’m someone who likes to laugh and to be joyful. I’ve always been positive, as I grew up in a positive family, and that comes across a lot both on and off the pitch. Football is first and foremost a sport that I love. I loved it then and I love it now.

“I had dreams which came true and those dreams became my job, so the love that I have for football will always be there. Whether I’m old, on TV or whatever, I won’t change my habits or the way that I am. You’ll always get to see the same person, the same Paul Pogba, be it on camera or not.”

He’s also happy to get another member of his family on film, and embarrass her into the bargain: mum Yeo. She appeared on social media when she joined the ranks of those professional opponents who have suffered the ignominy of a Pogba nutmeg.

“That’s something that also started in the suburbs. Unfortunately for my mum, I had to do it. She opened her legs and I nutmegged her. That’s the kind of relationship we have. We like kidding around and laughing at each other, and that’s what I did. As we say, ‘Teasing is loving.’ I tease my mother quite a lot.”

Insight
Score, dance, repeat

As well as forming a close relationship with his older (twin) brothers Mathias and Florentin through the joy of football, Paul Pogba has also bonded with them through the medium of dance; there are numerous videos of their choreographed capers to be found across social media. The youngest of the trio even broke out a few moves after his wonder goal against Switzerland at EURO 2020, showing himself to be a baller and danseur in one fell swoop. Look out for more rhythmic efforts in the Champions League this season.

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