World Cup Hero

Full Name: Paul Labile Pogba

Birthdate: March 15, 1993

Place of Birth: France

Football Club (Currently): Manchester United

Position(s): Midfielder

Playing Years: 2011 to present

Formative Years:

Before blossoming into a world-class midfielder, Paul Pogba humbly started his football career at the age of six, playing for US Roissy-en-Brie. He spent the majority of his youth career at the club before he transferred to US Torcy, serving as the skipper of the club’s under-13 team. Pogba stayed with Torcy for one season before joining professional French club Le Havre. He captained the club’s under-16 team to the final rounds of its local league, the Championnat National des 16 ans, while also establishing himself as a youth international for France.

Football Career:

Manchester United

In 2009, Paul Pogba joined the youth academy of Manchester United in England, making his debut with the club’s under-18 team in a 2-1 loss against Crewe Alexandra.  He ended his first season with the club, scoring seven goals in 21 games. Manchester United finished first in their group; however, they were overpowered by Arsenal in a 5-3 penalty during the play-off semi-finals. In April 2010, Pogba was among the under-18 team that successfully secured the titular victory at the Torneo Calcio Memorial Claudio Sassi-Sassuolo.

In November during the following season, he was called up to the club’s reserve team and made his debut during a 3-1 victory against the Bolton Wanderers. In the FA Youth Cup, Paul Pogba striked a long-range goal described as a ‘piledriver’ in the team’s 3-2 victory against Portsmouth, allowing the team to advance to the fourth round of the competition.  

In February 2011, Pogba was among the four academy players who were promoted to the first-team squad by then manager Alex Ferguson for Manchester United’s FA Cup fifth round fixture with Crawley Town. He continued in the under-18s throughout the season, assisting the team to a drawn-out run in the FA Youth Cup. In the semi-final encounter against Chelsea, Pogba scored in the first of a 3-2 defeat and provided the assist for the opening goal in the second leg. In the final match, Manchester United came out victorious in a 6-3 win against Sheffield United, securing the team’s tenth Youth Cup title.

Prior to the start of the 2011-12 campaign, it was confirmed that Pogba would be included in the senior team for the 11/12 season. He played his first match of the season in August 2011 during Manchester United’s opening Premier Reserve League match against Arsenal. The next month, he was included in the first-team to take part in their Football League Cup tie alongside Leeds United. Pogba played as a half-time substitute to make his professional debut, also helping secure the 3-0 victory for Manchester United. He made his Premier League debut in a match against Stoke City in January 2012, substituting for Javier Hernandez during the 72nd minute. Pogba made his European debut during the second leg of the team’s UEFA Europa League 16th round against Athletic Bilbao.

Juventus

In August 2012, the French midfielder signed a four-year contract with Italian club Juventus. He played a full 90 minutes in his first competitive appearance in a match against Chievo in September 2012 in a Serie A competition. He made his first appearance in the UEFA Champions League during a 1-1 home draw alongside Shakhtar Donetsk. In October, he netted his first goal for Juventus in a 2-0 victory against Napoli. The following week later, he was among the players who started against Bologna, and went on to score the match-winning goal in a 2-1 win.

Paul Pogba was successively applauded for his outstanding performances by numerous Italian media outfits. He spent his first season with Juventus helping secure victories for the club. He was also a key player during Juventus’ 4-0 win against Lazio, a match that won the club the 2013 Italian Supercoppa. By December, he was awarded the 2013 Golden Boy for being the best young player in all of Europe.

In his second season with Juventus, he was regarded as one of the ten most promising young players in Europe. He netted his first goal in the UEFA club competitions where Juventus overpowered Trabzonspor in a 2-0 home match in the first leg of the 32nd round of the 2013-14 UEFA Europa League. He scored the only goal that secured Juventus’ victory during a match against Bologna, becoming the Man of the Match for his impressive display. He broke into the starting line-ups for the season, making 51 appearances goals for the club than any other player throughout the season’s competitions. He ended his second season with Juventus by bagging his second Serie A title, also helping the club reach the semi-finals of the Europa League.

Pogba spent the entire season securing victories for the club. He made his 100th Serie A appearance during a 2-1 home victory against Torino. By the end of the campaign, he was in the 10th place in the 2015 UEFA Best Player in Europe. He was also among the players who played a role in securing Juventus to its league title before he came back to former club, Manchester United, on a five-year contract in August 2016.

International

Paul Pogba started his international career in the France national youth football team. He was elected captain in the under-16 team by coach Guy Ferrier. He made his international youth debut in September 2008 during the team’s opening fixture of the season against Wales. He was included in the team that played at the 2010 UEFA European Under-17 Championship, scoring 2 goals. He was also awarded the Best Player of the Tournament during the FIFA Under-20 World Cup.

Pogba was also included in France’s roster for both the 2014 and 2018 FIFA World Cup. He played a vital role in France’s victory against Croatia during the 2018 World Cup Finals, prolonging France’s lead over Croatia to 3-1 in the 59th minute with a stunning strike from the edge of the penalty range after his first strike has been blocked. With his eye for goal and explosive playing style, he developed from a promising youngster into one of the best midfielders in the world of football.

By @EliaasMJ

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