Transfer news

Paul Pogba happy at Juventus

January 3, 2014
By Ben Gladwell, Italy Correspondent

Paul Pogba admits he used to dream about playing for Arsenal or Barcelona, but now he only has eyes for becoming a Juventus legend.

Paul Pogba
GettyImagesPaul Pogba wants to reach the top with Juventus.

Pogba is no stranger to English football, having spent his formative years at Manchester United, where he learnt his trade under one of the masters of the game, Sir Alex Ferguson.

In an interview with Italy's La Repubblica newspaper, playing in the Premier League was one of his childhood dreams, albeit not for the Red Devils.

• Horncastle: Juve vs. Roma preview

"I won't hide that when I was a child, I dreamed of playing for Arsenal or Barcelona," the 20-year-old said. "Now, my dream is to play in the national team, against my brothers."

The France midfielder, whose brothers Florentin and Mathias have opted to represent Guinea, learnt a lot from his time in Manchester, but if there is one piece of advice he did not adhere to, it was not to move to Italy.

"Ferguson told me there's too much racism and I'd not be happy here, but I disagreed," Pogba said. "Also because I'd had lots of difficulty settling in there with the language, which I didn't know. It was six months of hell trying to learn English and if you don't already know it and you've got to learn it, it's not like they are very nice to you in Great Britain.

"As far as racism goes, I told him that it's everywhere -- nobody's immune, less so England as you could see with John Terry and Luis Suarez, who called [Patrice] Evra a negro seven times. Even our fans don't realise that, when they insult an opponent for the colour of his skin, they are also hurting me."

Pogba said he had gained plenty by the time he left Manchester for Turin in 2012, adding: "Alex Ferguson is unique in the way he listens to his players and he knows what they don't yet know about themselves.

"Ferguson saw things deep down -- he had that intuition for the progression and development which was not yet there. Many owe their success to him because he believed in them before anybody else, even in me, and even if I wasn't playing regularly."

The France international has moved on from the Premier League, but he does not regret leaving for a second. Although Italian football may not be what it was in the 1990s, Pogba believes it deserves more credit, and winning Serie A remains one of the most difficult challenges in football.

"Italian football is very tactical," he said. "Italian football is very tactical compared to English football, which is more physical, and French football, which is more technical. And then there's one gesture, one action that gets talked about all week -- you can never catch your breath -- but it's precisely this exaggerated attention that makes Italian football unique, different and difficult. In the end, it also makes it extraordinary."

Pogba says he wants to help restore Serie A to its former glories, when Juve were one of the most admired clubs in the world.

"For me, Juve is all about [Zinedine] Zidane, [David] Trezeguet, [Pavel] Nedved -- talent, class, discipline and teamwork," he said. "I know that, for me, promises are not enough. I need to keep them.

"I know there is a long way to go, but I want to make it. I still have to make it to the top. I'm happy at Juve."

Comments

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.