Paul Pogba: Where Did It Go Wrong

The Rise and Fall of Paul Pogba

French international Paul Pogba just got suspended for doping. He will be missing for the next four years. Where did it all go wrong for Pogba? It looked like the sky was the limit for him. 

Who is Paul Pogba

He had a profile that we had never seen before. Pogba is six foot three inches tall but moves like he was five foot seven. He had the complete package as a midfielder. He could play as an attacking mid, box-to-box, or as a six. While playing, he glided past opponents. He carried the ball from one side of the pitch to another in a blink of an eye. Pogba could beat any player in a one-on-one because he was so skillful. He even sometimes played as a winger because of how he was able to beat his man.

His ball-striking technique was unmatched. Pogba could ping a pass from any distance, play a quick one-two, and break the line with a fantastic through ball. He had such an intelligent mind and did passes that would make the fans’ jaw drop. Pogba could hit the ball with any foot and it had tremendous power behind it. 

Where it All Started

He started playing in the Manchester United youth academy, where he won the Youth FA Cup. When his contract was nearing its end, Sir Alex Ferguson who was manager at the time decided to let him go for free. Pogba decided to go to Juventus which turned out to be the greatest move of his life. 

Pogba became a key part of the Juventus dynasty and the main man in the midfield. A midfield containing other greats like Pirlo, Marchisio, and Arturo Vidal. The midfield was so balanced that it got the best out of Pogba. He was able to show his creativity in the team because the others were doing more of the dirty work. Pogba was able to play as an eight on the team which is his best position. One of the things he did best was run to the edge of the box to find a goal or an assist for his team. 

He had 34 goals and 41 assists for the Italian giants. Along the way, he won the Golden Boy award for the best youngster of the year. Pogba also helped Juventus win four straight Serie A titles, two Coppa Italias and two Supercopas. He also managed to make it onto the FIFAS best 11.

The Return to Old Trafford

In 2016 Pogba finally got his big summer move. The biggest clubs in the world were fighting for his signature and at the end he decided to go back where it all started. He became the most expensive player to ever play in the Premier League and Manchester United’s record breaking signing. 

His first year was very successful. Pogba won the Europa League and the EFL Cup and was an integral part of both games. After the first seasons it looked like everything was finally going to change in Manchester and Pogba was going to be the main focal point of the team. 

Jose Mourinho, who was manager at the time, got most of the players that he wanted in the summer. The first matches of the 17/18 were a dream start, in many of the matches United scored at least four goals. 

The Fall of Pogba

Then his career became a nightmare real fast. The media began to criticize him for his inconsistent performances. A player of his price tag should slot into the team and help them win matches. The media was questioning his determination and body language. They believed he didn’t try hard enough for the team. It got from bad to worse when Jose started to have problems with Pogba. They didn’t see eye to eye on anything, Jose even benched him in must win games for worse players.

Mourinho got sacked a few seasons later and Ole Gunnar Solskjær took his spot as manager. It looked like he was finally going to flourish especially after Ole’s first season. While Ole was interim manager, Pogba became United’s player of the season and was part of the Premier League best XI.

 It looked like the critics were going to ease up, but they started to question Pogba even more because he wasn’t a kid in his early twenties anymore. As a man, and player in his prime, he was expected to be carrying Manchester United to trophies. Pogba had trouble elevating his club because he didn’t have the same quality of players as he was. Being a midfielder with players not at your level there is only so much you can do. 

Then when United looked like they finally found his partner in the midfield and brought more players of his quality, Pogba’s injury problems began. In his final three years Pogba missed 82 games for both club and country. So out of three years he was only available for half of that. 

After United, his injuries got worse. Pogba returned to Juventus as a free agent and from the day he signed until now he has played a total of 160 minutes. That’s not even two whole games. In the two years at Juventus he has spent 430 days injured, which is sad for a player of his caliber. 

Pogba’s Legacy

Now that he is banned for four years, his career seems to be wasted. Pogba had the potential to become the greatest midfielder of all time. Returning to Manchester United was his downfall. 

The club didn’t try to protect him against pundits and people all over social media criticizing, they never bought players of his caliber until he left, and he over played and played through injuries which caused him to become injury prone. It is not the first time that United has done that. There have been multiple players of his caliber that they have ruined since the post Fergie era.

His career isn’t bad, and there are many players who would dream of having Pogba’s career. He won multiple titles with Juventus and United. Pogba helped France win the World Cup where he was their best player in the tournament and scored in the final. He has 195 goal contributions and multiple individual awards. 

There will never be a player like Pogba again, his playstyle was so unique. He will still have a big legacy and won’t be forgotten. It’s just sad to see a player of his ability leaving in a bad way.
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