Paul Pogba has shaken off criticism of Manchester United’s 2016-17 campaign by stating winning trophies is “all that matters”.
Jose Mourinho’s first year at Old Trafford resulted in three additions to the Old Trafford trophy cabinet in the form of the Europa League, League Cup and Community Shield.
However, having spent a world-record fee on Pogba, which could be worth up to €110million, and acquired Zlatan Ibrahimovic in his first transfer window, Mourinho’s side were expected to fare better than their eventual sixth-placed Premier League finish.
Pogba truly a Mourinho disciple: 'We won three trophies. You can play great football and win zero trophies. Who remembers them?' #mufc— Samuel Luckhurst (@samuelluckhurst) June 30, 2017
Their style was also scrutinised, with Bournemouth scoring more league goals, yet Pogba has responded by insisting silverware is the only measure of any team’s success.
In an interview with Esquire magazine, the 24-year-old Frenchman said: “I accept that we didn’t play well, we didn’t do this, we didn’t do that. I know what we did – we won three trophies. That’s all I know.
“And that’s all that matters. Because you can be the best team in the world, you can play great football and you win zero trophies. And who remembers them? No one. Right?”
Paul Pogba interview in Esquire talking about Fergie, trophies, that price tag and being the worst player in the world pic.twitter.com/w20V2mSUaF— James (@writtenoff_mufc) June 30, 2017
Earlier in the season Pogba had said his status as the world’s most expensive player had created unrealistic expectations of what his role at Old Trafford should be.
Yet he insisted that the price tag was not something he had personally contemplated since he swapped Juventus for Manchester last summer.
“After one week, I forgot,” he claimed.
“It’s people that reminded me. Because at the end of the day, when you die, the most expensive and the less expensive, they go in the same grave. So I don’t even think about it.”
In a wide-ranging interview, Pogba spoke about his upbringing and the impact of the death of his father Fassou Antoine earlier this year.
He was also asked if, as a Muslim living in the city, he had a message for the people of Manchester following the terrorist attack at Ariana Grande’s Manchester Arena concert, which occurred less than 48 hours before the Europa League final kicked off.
Pogba, who scored in that win over Ajax, had dedicated the victory to the 22 people who were killed by the suicide bomber when speaking after the game.
“It’s a very difficult moment but you cannot give up,” he said.
“We can’t let them get in our heads, we have to fight for it. Sad things happen in life but you cannot stop living.
“You cannot kill a human being. To kill a human being…it’s something crazy, so I don’t want to put religion on it. This is not Islam and everybody knows that. I won’t be the only one saying that.”
Provided by Press Association Sport
Football and showbiz stars gathered in Argentina for Latin America’s celebrity wedding bash of the decade as Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi prepared to marry his childhood sweetheart Antonella Roccuzzo on Friday.
Pop star Shakira and her husband, Messi’s teammate Gerard Pique, were expected among the 260 guests, according to media and locals close to the event.
They will join old friends of the couple and footballers, including his Barcelona strike partners Neymar and Luis Suarez, in Messi’s northern hometown, Rosario.
Suarez and other soccer stars were watched by curious locals as they stepped off private jets on Thursday at Rosario’s airport.
The party will be a respite for Messi from his legal woes. A Spanish court last month rejected his appeal against a conviction for tax fraud.
Brunette bride Roccuzzo, 29, will wear a dress by Rosa Clara — a Spanish designer who has dressed actress Eva Longoria and Spain’s Queen Letizia.
From 2200 GMT the guests will pack into the Hotel City-Center Casino, which stands right next to a crime-ridden slum run by drug gangs.
This city of 1.2 million people is also a cradle of footballing talent, however.
“Rosario lives and breathes football. That is another reason Lionel feels so comfortable here,” the city’s mayor, Monica Fein, told AFP.
“I think he is excited that through his wedding his friends (from abroad) will be able to get to know the city he loves so much.”
Portugal’s superstar captain Cristiano Ronaldo revealed Thursday he will not play in the Confederations Cup third-place match this weekend as he will finally meet his newborn twin boys.
Hours after Wednesday’s 3-0 defeat to Chile in a penalty shoot-out in Kazan, Ronaldo said he had been given permission to miss the play-off in Moscow, against either Germany or Mexico, to meet his new arrivals.
Ronaldo, 32, is believed to have fathered the twins with a surrogate mother in the United States and already has a seven-year-old son, Cristiano Ronaldo Jnr, from a previous relationship.
The Real Madrid forward says he gave his “body and soul” for Portugal in the semi-final, which finished goalless after extra time, “even though my two sons were born”.
“The President of the Portuguese Football Federation and the national coach have an attitude that has touched me and I will not forget,” the four-time world player of the year wrote on his official Facebook page.
“I’m very happy to finally be with my children for the first time.”
Having won man-of-the-match awards in each of Portugal’s three Confederations Cup group stage games, Ronaldo did not have his best match against Chile, whose defence managed to subdue the Real star.
As well as meeting his newborn babies, Ronaldo faces an uncertain future having threatened to quit Spain as he faces allegations of tax evasion in a court in Madrid next month.