Paul Pogba fulfils ‘destiny’ in return to Man United

Paul Pogba is targeting the Premier League, Champions League, and Ballon d’Or following his world-record switch back to Manchester United.

Months of speculation and negotiation finally came to an end in the early hours of Tuesday when United made the official announcement that they had re-signed Pogba from Juventus.

Four years on from departing Old Trafford for Juve without making a first-team start, the France midfielder has signed a five-year contract with the option of a sixth after United agreed to pay a world-record fee of €105m (£89m).

On Sunday, with Pogba given permission to undergo a medical, manager Jose Mourinho said he felt the 23-year-old was coming to the “perfect” place for him to become the best player in the world.

In an interview with MUTV following the completion of the deal, Pogba made it clear he has that, along with helping the club win the biggest trophies on offer, very much in his sights — a “dream” he feels Mourinho can only boost his chances of realising.

Asked about the Portuguese, Pogba said: “I spoke with a lot of players when he was at (Real) Madrid — I spoke with (Alvaro) Morata, (Raphael) Varane — and they all told me he is a coach for me, he will make me improve a lot because he makes you work harder. I feel this. I spoke with him a few times and he gave me energy and positivity. So I was thinking, why not?

“I’m sure he can make me improve and make me a better player and a better person.”

Asked what he felt he could achieve in his career, Pogba said: “I want to win the league for the first time with United, because I hadn’t won the league when I left. The Champions League of course. And, personally, one of my dreams is to win the Ballon d’Or.

“That will come with time, hopefully, but first I want to win the Premier League, which I have never done.”

Since leaving United in 2012, Pogba has helped Juventus win four Serie A titles and the Coppa Italia twice, and reach the 2014-15 Champions League final. He was also part of the France side who finished runners-up at Euro 2016.

He feels it was his “destiny” to return and is not focusing on the fact he is the world’s most expensive footballer.

“I just came back to Carrington. It was like I just came back home. I just went for a holiday,” Pogba said.

“It’s just a great feeling, to be honest. I think it’s destiny, I would say it’s destiny.

“First my mum told me I would come back here and I told her, ‘You never know, we’ll see’.

“I just didn’t finish what I started here so I think I came here to finish it. The thing with me is I only think about the pitch. I want to do great, I want to be one of the best.

“I want to win titles, I want to achieve things and that’s all — that’s why I came here, just to do this, to become one of the best and to win titles because I know this club has to win titles.

“This club is created to win titles, to win things, to win big things. That’s why. I am focused about this and that’s it. I’m just ready to go and work on that and just kill it.”

Mourinho said after the Pogba deal was announced: “Paul is one of the best players in the world and will be a key part of the United team I want to build here for the future.

“He is quick, strong, scores goals, and reads the game better than many players much older than he is. At 23, he has the chance to make that position his own here over many years.

“He is young and will continue to improve — he has the chance to be at the heart of this club for the next decade and beyond.”

However, Mourinho stressed that it may take time before the 23-year-old is fully firing and has vowed to “protect” him if needed.

“What he has to learn now is how to play with us because I always say that in football you can be a super player, like he is, but a team is a team and you need to learn how to play in the team, and the team needs to learn how to play with you.

“We need to get the best out of him and this will be a process. So if he needs protection, I am here to protect.”

United have confirmed Pogba will wear the number six shirt this season.

Meanwhile, Mourinho has had another dig at Arsene Wenger and Jurgen Klopp, suggesting they are not at clubs big enough to make a signing like Pogba.

Last Friday United manager Mourinho branded his Arsenal counterpart Wenger and Liverpool boss Klopp “not ethical” after they questioned the fee the Red Devils were set to splash out on bringing Pogba back.

Following the deal being done, Mourinho said: “I know the discussion, I understand that, sometimes in football, things happen and the club breaks the record, but this is only possible at clubs like Man United.

“When I heard some of the comments and heard some of the managers criticising that, I don’t think they ever have this problem because, to have this problem, you need to be at one of the top clubs in the world. So at Man United it can happen.”


Lifestyle

My sister Gabriella always says that during sibling whispers all I ever wanted was to be on stage.This Much I Know: Man of many talents Mike Hanrahan

Columnist and trained counsellor Fiona Caine offers guidance to a woman whose husband is controlling and belittling her.Ask a counsellor: ‘My husband is so controlling – what do I do?’

Peter Dowdall branches out to take a look at the mountain ash or rowan.Rowan berries show us how nature is stocking its larder for winter

Friends and Young Offenders actors Shane Casey and Dominic MacHale speak to Pat Fitzpatrick about struggling to make it but why they are not seeking out fame.‘I was down to a euro’ - Watch The Young Offenders actors tell of struggle to make it in acting

More From The Irish Examiner