French midfielder Paul Pogba will be carrying Les Bleus’s hopes in a mouth-watering last-16 World Cup clash against Argentina on Saturday – and his fans may be hoping he turns it into “POGtime”.
Criticised for his ever-changing hair-cuts and colours, his huge transfer tag and his self-references – his house is the “POGhouse”, his aquarium the “POGtank”, and so on – Pogba has been feeling the pressure this season.
But he seems to have recovered his joie de vivre since he escaped from the daily routine of Manchester United and Jose Mourinho.
After joining the French camp for the World Cup, Pogba looked light-hearted and chatty in his first appearance at a national team news conference.
His undyed, clean-cut hair prompted French federation president Noel Le Graet to say: “I saw this nice boy and I wondered, who is he?”
It was Pogba. Relaxed, smiling.
“I love you so much, I missed you. Really happy to see you all here,” he joked as he got the news conference going.
“I’m with my family here,” he added referring to the French squad.
Pogba had a difficult season at United, amidst rumours that his relationship with manager Jose Mourinho was far from ideal.
“There were little things,” Pogba said.
There were moments when his talent showed through, none more so than his two-goal performance in a comeback derby win over Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium.
But often Pogba looked frustrated, uncomfortable in the role given to him in Mourinho’s conservative system and often the brunt of his manager’s nagging.