Paul Pogba - Biography
Paul Labile Pogba is a French professional footballer who currently plays for Manchester United in the Premier League and for the France national team. He usually plays centre midfield, although he can also play left winger, offensive midfielder, defensive midfielder, and deep-lying playmaker.
Pogba began his career with Ligue 1 club Le Havre's youth squad in 2007, before joining Manchester United two years later in a lengthy move. After starting his professional career at Manchester United two years later, he left on a free transfer to join Juventus in 2012, where he helped the team win four consecutive Serie A championships, as well as two Coppa Italia and two Supercoppa Italiana trophies.
During his time in Italy, Pogba cemented his position as one of the world's most promising young players, earning the Golden Boy award in 2013 and the Bravo Award in 2014. After leading Juventus reach their first UEFA Champions League Final in 12 years, Pogba was selected to the 2015 UEFA Team of the Year as well as the 2015 FIFA FIFPro World XI.
Pogba's achievements at Juventus earned him a return to Manchester United in 2016 for a then-world record price of €105 million (£89.3 million). At the time, it was the biggest price ever paid by an English club. He won the League Cup as well as the Europa League in his first season back. He was selected to the PFA Team of the Year for the 2018–19 campaign.
Pogba led France to victory in the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup and was named the tournament's Best Player. A year later, he made his senior squad debut and played a key role in the 2014 FIFA World Cup, winning the Best Young Player Award for his efforts. He went on to represent his country in UEFA Euro 2016 on home soil, where he was runner-up, before winning the 2018 FIFA World Cup and scoring in the final.
Pogba is the son of Guinean parents and was born in Lagny-sur-Marne, Seine-et-Marne. He belongs to the Muslim faith. Florentin and Mathias, his twin elder brothers, were born in Guinea and are also players for the Guinean national team. Florentin now plays for FC Sochaux-Montbéliard as a defender, and Mathias for Tabor Seana as a striker. Pogba was an Arsenal supporter growing up.
Pogba is a devout Muslim who practises his faith. He has two children with his wife, Bolivian model Mara Zulay Salaues, whom he married in 2019. Pogba is also bilingual, speaking English, Italian, and Spanish in addition to his native French.
Pogba discussed the idea of openly homosexual Premier League players in August 2017. During a UEFA respect campaign in Monaco, Pogba said that prospective homosexual players should be treated as 'equal,' adding that 'what he does in his private life has nothing to do with the player' and that 'you simply have to respect him (because) We are all equal when we play football.'
Pogba started his football career at the age of six, when he joined US Roissy-en-Brie, a club located a few kilometres south of his home. He played for the club for seven seasons before moving on to US Torcy, where he was captain of the club's under-13 squad.
Pogba left Torcy after one season to join Le Havre, a professional team. Pogba led the club's under-16 squad to the final stage of its domestic competition, the Championnat National des 16 ans, in his second season with the club. In the final group phase, Le Havre finished second behind Lens, ahead of Lyon and Nancy. Pogba has also established himself as a national team young international for his country.
Pogba confirmed his departure from Le Havre to join Manchester United's development programme in England on July 31, 2009. The transfer shocked his parent club, who reportedly had a 'non-solicitation agreement' with Pogba signed in 2006 by both the player and his parents.
The arrangement, which lasted until the conclusion of the 2009–10 season, enabled Le Havre to sign Pogba to an aspirant (young) contract provided he fulfilled certain age and scholarship criteria. Le Havre issued an official statement on its website on August 1st, criticising Manchester United and the Pogba family. Le Havre has said that it intends to request an investigation into the issue by FIFA.
Pogba joined Manchester United on 7 October 2009 and made his debut with the club's under-18 squad on 10 October in a 2–1 loss to Crewe Alexandra. He scored seven goals in 21 appearances for the under-18 team in 2009–10. The team won their group but lost on penalties against Arsenal 5–3 in the play-off semi-finals.
Pogba was a member of the under-18 squad that successfully defended their championship in the Torneo Calcio Memorial Claudio Sassi-Sassuolo in Bologna, Italy, in April 2010. Pogba stayed with the club's youth squad in the Premier Academy League for the 2010–11 season and played with the team for the first three months of the season. He was called up to the club's reserve squad in November 2010 and made his debut on 2 November 2010 in a 3–1 victory against Bolton Wanderers.
Pogba scored a long-range goal, characterised as a 'piledriver,' in the team's 3–2 win against Portsmouth in the FA Youth Cup on 10 January 2011. The victory advanced the squad to the fourth round of the tournament. Pogba scored a similar goal in a 3–2 Academy League loss at West Bromwich Albion a month later.
Ferguson stated ahead of the start of the 2011–12 season that Pogba will play for the senior squad, saying, 'What will happen if we restrict Pogba's movement? He's getting ready to go. You know, when his contract expires in a couple of years. So we have to give him a chance to show what he can do with the first squad, because he has a lot of talent.'
Pogba was promoted to the club's reserve squad on a permanent basis for the 2011–12 season, making his debut on 15 August 2011 in the team's first Premier Reserve League match against Arsenal. Pogba scored the second goal in the team's second league encounter against Swansea City reserves on August 25 in a 6–0 thrashing.
On September 19, he was selected to the first team for the next day's Football League Cup match against Leeds United, with Ferguson declaring, 'I want to play him against Leeds United.' Pogba made his professional debut as a half-time replacement in Manchester United's 3–0 victory. On October 25, 2011, Pogba made his second League Cup appearance, this time against Aldershot Town in the Fourth Round.
Pogba made his Premier League debut against Stoke City on January 31, 2012, coming in in the 72nd minute to replace Javier Hernández. On March 11, he made another substitute appearance against West Bromwich Albion. He made his decision four days later.
Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson confirmed Pogba's departure on July 3, 2012, after he refused to sign a new contract with the club. Pogba, according to Ferguson, joined Juventus 'a long time ago as far as we're aware.'
Ferguson also accused Pogba of belittling Manchester United, saying, 'It's a bummer. To be honest, I don't believe he treated us with any respect. I'm relieved that if they continue in this manner, they'll be doing so far away from us.' On July 27, Juventus announced on their official website that Pogba had passed a medical at the club, and the transfer was completed on August 3rd, when he signed a four-year contract. On August 1, he made his Juventus debut as a 78th-minute substitute for Andrea Pirlo in a pre-season friendly against Benfica in Geneva.
Pogba made his first competitive appearance for Juventus on September 22, 2012, in a Serie A match against Chievo, playing the entire 90 minutes. Pogba made his UEFA Champions League debut on 2 October, drawing 1–1 at home against Shakhtar Donetsk, and scored his first goal for the club in a 2–0 victory over Napoli on 20 October. He made his debut against Bologna on October 31st, scoring the game-winning goal in a 2–1 victory.
Pogba was also involved in Fabio Quagliarella's opening goal. Several Italian media outlets, including la Repubblica, Il Messaggero, and La Gazzetta dello Sport, subsequently praised the midfielder for his performance in the match.
Pogba was a key player in Juventus' 4–0 win over Lazio on August 18, 2013, which gave Juventus the 2013 Italian Supercoppa title. Pogba came on in place of Claudio Marchisio during the game and scored the game's first goal, earning him Man of the Match honours. Pogba was named Europe's Golden Boy in December.
Pogba contributed to Juventus' away win against Milan on September 20, 2014, under new Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri, by assisting Carlos Tevez on the game's lone goal. Later that month, on October 18, Pogba saved Juventus from defeat against Sassuolo by scoring the game-winning equaliser; he was later named Man of the Match. Pogba's contract with Juventus was extended on October 24, tying him to the club until 2019.
Pogba scored Juventus' third goal against Olympiacos in the Champions League on November 4th, his 100th appearance with the club; it was his first Champions League goal. In a 3–0 victory over Lazio at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome on November 22, he scored his first brace of the season. Pogba was named one of the 23 shortlisted candidates for the 2014 Ballon d'Or on October 28th; he was the youngest on the list at 21 years old. Pogba received the Bravo Award from the Italian sports magazine Il Guerin Sportivo in 2014, which is given to the best under-23 player who competed in European competitions.
Pogba set up Juventus' first goal in the 2015 Coppa Italia Final, which Juventus won 2–1 over Lazio at the Stadio Olimpico. Pogba made his Juventus debut in the 2015 UEFA Champions League Final, which the club lost 3–1 to Barcelona at Berlin's Olympiastadion on 6 June 2015.
Pogba was named to the ten-man shortlist for the UEFA Best Player in Europe Award on July 15, 2015. Following the departure of Carlos Tevez, he was given the prestigious number-10 shirt, which had previously been worn by Alessandro Del Piero, Roberto Baggio, and Michel Platini, for the 2015–16 season. In the 2015 Supercoppa Italiana, he assisted a goal in Juventus' 2–0 victory over Lazio on August 8. On August 12, it was revealed that he finished tenth in the 2015 UEFA Best Player in Europe Award.
Pogba made his 100th Serie A appearance on October 31st, scoring Juventus' first goal from outside the area in a 2–1 home win over Torino in the Turin Derby. Pogba was nominated for the 2015 UEFA Team of the Year on November 24, and was later named to the squad on January 8, 2016. He was named to the FIFA FIFPro World XI three days later.
Pogba excelled in his team's new creative position, which gave him more time on the ball, and played a key role in Juventus' league title, scoring a joint personal best of 8 goals in Serie A, while also finishing the league season as the top assist provider in Serie A, with a personal record of 12 assists, alongside Miralem Pjani.
Phase II of Manchester United
On 8 August 2016, Pogba signed a five-year contract with his former club, Manchester United, for a then-record fee of €105 million (£89.3 million) plus bonuses of €5 million, breaking the previous record holder Gareth Bale. When Paul Pogba re-joined Manchester United, his agent, Mino Raiola, received a reported €27 million from Juventus; Juventus disclosed the fee as an auxiliary expense, totaling €26.154 million.
The Football Association announced that Pogba would be suspended for Manchester United's first Premier League match of the 2016–17 season against AFC Bournemouth due to two yellow cards he received while playing for Juventus in the Coppa Italia the previous season. He made his first appearance for the club since his return on August 19th, in a 2–0 home win over Southampton in the Premier League.
After the 2–1 loss at home in the first Manchester derby of the season on 10 September, pundit Jamie Carragher chastised Pogba for his lack of positioning discipline. Pogba, on the other hand, quickly returned to form, scoring his first Premier League goal for United with a header against defending champions Leicester City in a 4–1 home win on September 24. On 20 October, he scored twice in a Europa League match against Fenerbahçe, once from the penalty spot and once from distance. After the game, manager José Mourinho defended Pogba, criticising football's 'Einsteins' for being too quick to judge the player.
On the first weekend of the 2017–18 Premier League season, Pogba scored the fourth goal in a 4–0 win over West Ham United. Pogba tore his left hamstring in a 3–0 loss to Basel during the 2017–18 UEFA Champions League group stage and was expected to miss eight games. On November 18, he returned to action in a 4–1 win over Newcastle United, assisting Anthony Martial with a cross from the flank and scoring United's third goal.
Pogba assisted on both goals as Manchester United defeated Everton 2–0 in his first game of 2018. Throughout the next few months, Pogba was chastised for his lack of discipline and for failing to fulfil his defensive responsibilities. He was substituted for Scott McTominay in several pivotal games, including Manchester United's 2–1 victory over rivals Liverpool, and was only used as a late substitute when his side was eliminated from the Champions League in the round of 16 by Sevilla in March.
In the absence of team captain Antonio Valencia, Pogba assumed temporary captaincy of the club in the first two games of the 2018–19 season. Pogba had a strong start to the season, scoring four goals as the new designated penalty taker. However, after a string of poor results, Mourinho announced that Pogba would no longer captain the team. Despite Mourinho's claim that there was 'no problem' between the two, Pogba and Mourinho were filmed arguing during a training session in late September.
Despite this, Pogba remained in the starting lineup and scored in United's 2–1 win over Everton. However, after a period of poor form and a strained relationship with Mourinho, Pogba was benched and linked with a move away from Manchester United during the January transfer window. Continuing squabbles between Pogba and Mourinho resulted in the manager branding him a 'virus' who influenced United's poor form.
Pogba remained on the bench for the next few games, up until and including Manchester United's 3–1 loss to Liverpool. Mourinho was fired as Manchester United manager shortly after this game, and Ole Gunnar Solskjr was appointed as caretaker manager one day later.
Pogba's form improved under new manager Ole Gunnar Solskjr, as he scored twice in a row against Huddersfield Town and Bournemouth. Pogba assisted Marcus Rashford's game-winning goal against Tottenham Hotspur in January 2019, and followed that up with goals against Brighton & Hove Albion and Burnley. Pogba then scored a brace and was named man of the match in a 3–0 away win over Fulham; his two goals brought his season tally to a personal best of 11 league goals and 13 in all competitions.
Pogba continued his scoring streak by scoring again in United's FA Cup fifth-round match against Chelsea, which United won 2–0, and assisting in a 3–1 victory over Crystal Palace. Pogba's form dipped towards the end of the season, when Manchester United won only two of their final 12 games before being knocked out of the FA Cup by Wolverhampton Wanderers. Pogba was also chastised for his performance in Manchester United's 4–0 aggregate loss to Barcelona in the Champions League quarterfinals.
Pogba did manage to score a brace in a 2–1 home win over West Ham during that poor run of games. Pogba started for Manchester United in their 2–0 loss to Cardiff City at Old Trafford on the final day of the Premier League season, and after the game, Pogba was seen talking to some fans who were hurling abuse at him. Despite a poor finish to the season, Pogba had the most productive season of his career, scoring 16 goals and assisting 11 times in all competitions and being named to the PFA team of the year despite his inconsistent form.
Pogba made his Premier League debut for Manchester United on August 11, 2019, providing two assists in the club's 4–0 home win over Chelsea. Pogba stated in a post-game interview that even though he was a Manchester United player, a 'question mark' remained about his future. Pogba received racist abuse on social media after missing a penalty in the following game, a 1–1 away draw against Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjr announced in May 2020 that Pogba would be fit to play following his return to football during the project restart. Pogba came on as a substitute in United's first game after the restart and won a penalty, which Bruno Fernandes converted, resulting in a 1–1 draw with Tottenham Hotspur. Pogba made his first start since September in a 3–0 thrashing of Sheffield United on June 24.
On 30 September 2020, Pogba scored his first goal of the 2020–21 season against Brighton & Hove Albion in the fourth round of the EFL Cup, scoring from a deflected free kick to give United a 3–0 win. He scored the game-winning goal in a 1–0 away win over Milan in the UEFA Europa League round of 16 on March 18, 2021, to help his team win 2–1 on aggregate and advance to the quarter-finals.
Pogba had four assists in Manchester United's 5–1 win over Leeds United in the Premier League opener on 14 August. In doing so, he became only the seventh player in Premier League history to record four assists in a single match, and the first Manchester United player to do so. He also surpassed his previous season's total assist tally of three.
Pogba began his international career with France's national youth team, earning caps at all levels for which he was eligible. Pogba was named captain of the under-16 team by coach Guy Ferrier prior to his international debut. On September 23, 2008, he made his youth international debut in the team's opening match of the season against Wales in Llanelli. The match was won by France 4–2.
Under Pogba's leadership, the team defeated Uruguay and Italy in the Tournoi de Val-de-Marne and defeated the Republic of Ireland by an aggregate score of 8–2 over two matches. In the 2009 Aegean Cup Final against Norway, he scored his first youth international goal on January 31, 2009. The goal gave France a 1–0 lead, and the team went on to win the tournament 2–1.
On September 6, 2011, Pogba made his debut for the under-19 team against Italy in the team's first match of the season. In the game, he assisted on two goals, one each by Jean-Christophe Bahebeck and Anthony Koura, as the team won 3–1. In a 2–1 loss to Spain on February 29, 2012, he scored his first goal for the team.
Pogba scored the fifth goal in the team's 6–0 rout of the Netherlands in Elite Round qualification for the 2012 UEFA European Under-19 Championship. France qualified for the competition as a result of their victory. Pogba was named to the squad for the tournament on June 11, 2012. He converted a penalty in the team's first group stage match against Serbia, which they won 3–0. France advanced to the semi-finals, where it faced Spain.
In the match, with France trailing 3–2 in extra time, Pogba equalised three minutes before the end of regulation time to send it to penalties. Despite Pogba's conversion of France's first penalty, Les Bleuets were defeated 4–2.
Pogba made his senior team debut on March 22, 2013, against Georgia in a 2014 World Cup qualifier. He played the entire 90-minute game in a 3–1 victory. On 10 September 2013, he scored his first international goal against Belarus in a 4–2 victory, and he did so again in a 2014 World Cup qualifier.
Pogba was named to France's squad for the 2014 FIFA World Cup on June 6, 2014. On 15 June, he started in central midfield in the team's first World Cup match, a 3–0 victory over Honduras, suffering a foul from Wilson Palacios that resulted in a red card for the Honduran and a penalty kick, which Karim Benzema converted to give France the lead. He came on as a substitute in the team's second match, assisting Benzema's goal in a 5–2 victory over Switzerland.
In the round of 16, Pogba scored the opening goal in the 79th minute and was named FIFA's man of the match as Les Bleus defeated Nigeria 2–0 in Brasilia. France were eliminated from the competition in the quarter-finals after a 1–0 defeat to eventual champions Germany on July 4, with Pogba giving away the free kick from which the Germans eventually scored. Pogba was named the tournament's Best Young Player on July 13, 2014.
Pogba was able to regain his form in the quarter-final match against Iceland on 3 July 2016, at the Stade de France, putting on a dominant performance in his new midfield role, scoring his nation's second goal of the night from a header following Antoine Griezmann's corner, which he had previously helped to obtain; he later started the play which led to Griezmann's goal, as the host nation Pogba was again started in a deep-lying midfield role alongside Blaise Matuidi in a 4–2–3–1 formation in the semi-final match against Germany four days later;
following N'Golo Kanté's introduction in the second half, he was shifted to a more advanced role, which gave him more tactical freedom, and he subsequently helped to create Griezmann's second goal of the match, as the hosts defeated th
Pogba was named to France's squad for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia on May 17, 2018. On 16 June 2018, he took the shot that deflected off Aziz Behich and resulted in France's 2–1 victory over Australia in the tournament's opening match. The goal was initially given to Pogba, but FIFA re-awarded it to Behich the next day as an own goal.
Pogba extended France's lead over Croatia to 3–1 in the 59th minute of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Final with a strike from the edge of the penalty area after his initial shot was blocked. France went on to win the World Cup with a score of 4–2.
Pogba assisted Karim Benzema's second goal in France's 2–2 draw with Portugal in the final group match of UEFA Euro 2020 on June 23, 2021. He later scored a bending 25-yard strike in the round-of-16 match against Switzerland, in which France was eliminated from the tournament on penalties following a 3–3 draw.
Pogba is primarily a central midfielder, but he can also play on the left flank, in a holding role, as a deep-lying playmaker, in a box-to-box role, or even as an attacking midfielder. His club Manchester United describes him as a 'powerful, skilful, and creative' player with 'an eye for goal and a penchant for the spectacular.' He can also play as an offensive–minded central midfielder, often drifting out wide, a position known as the 'mezzala' in Italy.
During his time in Italy, he was known as Il Polpo Paul ('Paul the Octopus') because of his long legs that resemble tentacles when tackling or running, and 'Pogboom' because of his explosive playing style and energy on the field. He excels in the air and is also known for his stamina, as well as his powerful and accurate striking ability from distance; he has also drawn praise for his finesse, technique, flair, and dribbling skills, as well as his ability to hold up the ball.
In his youth, his characteristics and role in midfield led to comparisons to former France international Patrick Vieira.
During his final season with Juventus, Pogba was deployed in a more advanced and creative midfield role rather than his usual box-to-box role, where he excelled as the team's main playmaker due to his vision and passing range; his performances in this role saw him develop from a promising youngster into one of the best and most complete midfielders in the league.
Upon Pogba's departure from Juventus in 2016, his former teammate Gianluigi Buffon compared him to French former playmakers Michel Platini and Zinedine Zidane, as well as praising his ability, leadership, work-rate, and attitude, both on and off the field, stating that he was 'amazing.' '...is a great warrior on the field, but he also has a lot of talent. His ball control and ability to quickly switch from defence to attack are exceptional.' Pogba can also take free kicks and penalties.
Pogba is sponsored by sportswear and equipment manufacturer Adidas. He appeared in an Adidas 2018 World Cup commercial alongside other Adidas players such as David Beckham, Lionel Messi, and Mohamed Salah, as well as American singer Pharrell Williams.
Pogba's goal celebration, dubbed 'the Dab,' first appeared in EA Sports' FIFA video game series in FIFA 17. Pogba attended the 2017 MTV Europe Music Awards in London with his brothers Florentin and Mathias, where Paul and English actress Natalie Dormer presented the 'Best Song' award to Canadian singer Shawn Mendes.
Honours & Awards
2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup Golden Ball
2013's Golden Boy
Team of the Year in Serie A: 2013–14, 2014–15, 2015–16
2014 Bravo Award
2016–17 UEFA Europa League Player of the Season
2018 Knight of the Legion of Honour