Paul Pogba allayed talk of a Manchester United exit ahead of his return to Juventus, with the midfielder insisting he does not regret rejoining the Old Trafford giants and remains happy working for Jose Mourinho.
Since returning from Russia as a World Cup winner, the 25-year-old has been the subject of intense speculation about his future and happiness.
Barcelona have been strongly linked with a move for Pogba, who has previously done little to quell such talk at a time when his relationship with Mourinho has been heavily scrutinised.
Asked Paul Pogba if he is happy at #MUFC. "Why? Do I look sad?" he responded with a smile. "I'm really happy, I'm happy to wear this shirt. It's a big club & at a big club there is always talk"— Simon Peach (@SimonPeach) November 6, 2018
Talk of a rift between the pair intensified when footage emerged of a tense training ground exchange just days after the France midfielder was stripped of the vice-captaincy.
Odds tumbled on the club-record signing leaving Old Trafford, but Pogba insisted he remains happy at United ahead of facing Juventus in the Champions League on his old stomping ground.
“Do I look sad? Obviously, yes, I’m happy,” Pogba said with a smile. “Like I said again, I am really happy to come back (to United).
“I was really happy to come back to Manchester United, wearing this shirt, playing for this team because it is a big club. Obviously when you are playing in a big club like that there is always talk about this club and we know anything can go on.
Some people make polemic even from “good morning” to create drama 🙄 Big Pogoodmorning everyone hope u get it twisted 😂— Paul Pogba (@paulpogba) September 24, 2018
“But on the pitch, always happy, always with a smile, fighting for my team-mates, fighting for my team, fighting for my club, fighting for the fans.
“That’s all I do and, yes, I am really happy to do that.”
That response was a far cry from the one Pogba gave after the season-opening win against Leicester, when he said he would be fined if he opened up on his happiness.
Disillusionment would be somewhat understandable, having won the World Cup and seen former club Juventus flourish since his 2016 departure, with the way the Italians ran rings around United last month offering another sobering moment.
“I made my choice and I don’t regret it at all,” he said. “I know Manchester in the last few years have not been at the top, but I came back just to help the team try to come back at the top, so we are on the way.
“A lot of players came and we have a lot of goals, so for me it’s not strange. It’s a choice and I don’t regret it all.
“I’m very happy to come back to Manchester United, to play, to wear the shirt and everything and I’m sure we will come back to the best.”
The mood around Old Trafford has certainly improved recently, so too it appears the one between players and manager.
Pogba and Mourinho said before Wednesday’s Group H match that they have a healthy player-coach relationship, while the 25-year-old insists even being stripped off the vice-captaincy did not cause ructions.
“I just want to play, perform – that’s my job – and give my best for my team and for everybody, for the fans, for the club and that’s it,” Pogba said. “It didn’t really touch me, it didn’t affect me. Nothing changed, really.”
- Press Association