Paul Pogba has been at it again. The Manchester United midfielder, fresh from being taken to school by Palace, Brighton and Spurs, talked once more about his ‘dream’ to play for Real Madrid. Though Real might prefer a midfielder who has made even a single key pass this season.
This is a recurring theme around Pogba and his agent Mino Raiola. Here are just a few of the statements the pair have made about Pogba looking to leave United…
May 2018 – Pogba
It was towards the end of Pogba’s second season at United and the cracks in his relationship with Jose Mourinho were expanding week on week. Mourinho had left Pogba out of the side and sometimes hooked him on the occasions he did start. Scott McTominay was much more up Jose’s street.
Pogba was asked by Canal+ about whether he would be staying at United…
“We are never sure of anything but contractually it’s sure, yes.
“I can never look far into the future. It also depends how it goes with the club, how things work out.”
August 2018 – Pogba
Pogba put himself in the shop window with a fine display in the World Cup final – his performances earlier in the tournament were much more like the laboured displays we had become used to at Old Trafford – and United chose to pander to their biggest star.
He returned from Russia amid links with Barcelona but Mourinho tried to get Pogba on board by offering him the captain’s armband. After his first match as skipper, he set out to cause a stir while United refused to entertain what interest there was from abroad…
“There are things and there are things I cannot say otherwise I will get fined.”
“I always give my best for the fans, for the team-mates and for the people that trust me. With the players that we have, of course we’re Manchester United, we have to look at the top of the league.
“That’s obvious. I mean, Manchester United, we have to show on the pitch, we have to play well, we have to be focused and we need people to trust us.”
After his second match with the armband – a miserable 3-2 defeat to Brighton – Pogba admitted his attitude was ‘not right’.
September 2018 – Pogba
With the summer transfer window closed, and Pogba subsequently stripped of the vice-captaincy, the midfielder turned his attention to January…
“There was a lot of talk, but it was just like that, I am under contract in Manchester,
“My future is currently in Manchester, I still have a contract, I am playing there at the moment, but who knows what will happen in the next few months.”
Pogba and Mourinho’s relationship became irreparable and the player got his wish when Mourinho was axed in December 2018. Upon Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s appointment, Pogba magically rediscovered his motivation and put together a string of fine performances… before the wheels came off again towards the end of the season.
March 2019 – Pogba
The international break in March was when United lost their momentum, which just so happens to be when Pogba started talking about his Real Madrid dreams again.
“Like I’ve always said, Real Madrid is a dream for anyone. It’s one of the biggest clubs in the world.
“There is also Zinedine Zidane as a coach and it’s a dream for anybody who likes football.
“For now, I’m at Manchester. We don’t know what the future holds. I’m at Manchester and I’m happy.”
After this break, United won two of their last eight matches and none of their last five. The season culminated in a 2-0 home defeat to already-relegated Cardiff when Pogba was abused by a section of the United support.
June 2019 – Pogba
Pogba spent some of his summer on a personal promotional tour of the Far East where it was inevitable that he would again flutter his eyelashes at Real and Juve.
“There is a lot of thinking. I have been three years in Manchester and have been doing great – some good moments and some bad moments, like everybody, like everywhere else.
“After this season and everything that happened, with my season being my best season … it could be a good time to have a new challenge somewhere else.”
Real wanted Pogba but not badly enough to make a serious offer – certainly not one that Woodward would entertain since he was looking for around double the £89million he paid Juventus in 2016.
January 2020 – Raiola
Now, with Raiola seemingly no closer to the fat commission he would earn from moving Pogba again, the agent took the initiative in trying to force the issue. After United refused to meet his demands over Erling Haaland, Raiola spoke out. Several times…
“Today I would no longer bring anyone there. They would also ruin [Diego] Maradona, Pele and [Paolo] Maldini.
“For Pogba I fought with [Sir Alex] Ferguson. Paul was the only one to say no to him, he never digested this and he took it out on me.
“But now Pogba’s problem is Manchester – it’s a club out of reality, without a sports project.
“Paul needs a team and a club, one like the first Juve.”
At this point, Pogba had been sidelined for all but eight games of the season with a couple of ankle injuries. The feeling among some United fans was that Pogba was protecting himself to return just before the end of the season so as to earn his place in the France squad for Euro 2020 where he could put himself in the shop window.
February 2020 – Raiola
With Real looking unlikely to meet United’s demands anytime soon, especially with Covid on the horizon, Raiola and Pogba switched their focus to a return to Juventus.
“Pogba feels at home in Italy; Italy is like his second home or family, same feeling as Zlatan Ibrahimovic. That’s why Paul would like to come back to Juventus.
“But we’ll go to speak about that just after the Euro 2020. Pogba wants to play at the best levels always…but he can’t escape Manchester United now, in this moment where the club is not having a good period.”
Paul is not mine and for sure not Solskjaer’s property, Paul is Paul Pogba’s. pic.twitter.com/CvBHW8mj8U
— Mino Raiola (@MinoRaiola) February 17, 2020
Raiola was on one. The following day, the agent said his client was committed to United only until after Euro 2020. Which never took place. And Pogba’s contract had another year in addition to the option that United hold to extend it to 2022.
“I’ve never said he is mine, but that doesn’t mean if I’m being asked something I cannot answer. The question was ‘would he like Italy?’―what has that got to do with being Manchester United’s player. And saying that you are Manchester United’s player – are you owned by the club?
“I have been asked if he likes Italy, and I am answering as Mino Raiola; am I not allowed to do that?
“United fans should read the whole interview. He is only committed to Manchester United until after the European Championship. The only focus there is to get back as soon as possible into the team to help the team, and to make a good end of the season for Manchester United. That is what I said in Italy and that is what I am saying here.”
March 2020 – Raiola
A certain amount of reading between lines required here…
“My relations with Real Madrid are very good. I want to take a great footballer there and I will try this summer.
“It would be a pride for me and my footballers because Real Madrid is a great club.
“I am in contact with [general director] Jose Angel Sanchez and I love discussing football and FIFA issues with him because his opinion interests me.
“I have great hope that one day he will be able to lead a great footballer to Real Madrid.
“Paul is going through a difficult time, but let it be clear because in England they are very sensitive, Pogba is focused on making a great end to the season with Manchester United.”
Raiola failed in his mission because Covid meant that Real signed no one. And Juventus had no interest in a deal on United’s terms. Which brings us to the present day…
😳 Paul Pogba is yet to register a single key pass in three appearances in the Premier League this season
👀 Goalkeepers Jordan Pickford, Aaron Ramsdale and Illan Meslier have all managed one each… pic.twitter.com/vKPqJQ9VHC
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) October 9, 2020
October 2020 – Pogba
Pogba has started the season in woeful form, like many of his team-mates. But Pogba was substituted in the opening two matches while leaving him on last weekend against Spurs seemed more of a punishment than a show of faith. On and off the pitch, his timing has been awful…
While away with France, Pogba was asked about the possibility of a contract extension and the diminishing hopes of ever working with Zidane. The midfielder served up a classic sh*t sandwich for United fans…
“No-one has told me anything. I have not spoken to Ed Woodward. We haven’t spoken about a new deal.
“At the moment, I am in Manchester and I am concentrating about getting back to my best form. I think there will be a moment when the club will come and talk to me and maybe offer me something, or not.”
“All football players would love to play for Real Madrid. It is a dream for me, why not one day?
“I am in Manchester and I love my club. I am playing in Manchester, I’m having fun and I want to do everything to put the club where it deserves.
“I will give everything to the max, like my team-mates.”