Paul Labile Pogba (born 15 March 1993) is a French professional footballer who plays for Italian club Juventus in Serie A. He operates primarily as a central midfielder and is comfortable at playing both in attack and defence.
Pogba was described by his former club Manchester United as a "powerful, skilful, and creative" player who has "an eye for goal and a penchant for the spectacular". In Italy, he gained the nicknames Il Polpo Paul ("Paul the Octopus") for his long legs that look like tentacles during tackling or running and "Pogboom" for his explosive style and energy on the pitch. These characteristics have led him to be compared with former France international Patrick Vieira. He received the Golden Boyaward for 2013, given to the best under-21 player in Europe, followed by the Bravo Award in 2014, awarded to the best under-23 player who has participated in European competitions.
Pogba played internationally for France with the national youth football team, representing his nation at all levels for which he was eligible. With the under-16 team, he captained his nation to victories at the Aegean Cup and the Tournoi du Val-de-Marne and, at under-17 level, played at the 2010 UEFA European Under-17 Football Championship. At under-20 level, he captained his nation to victory at the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup and took home the Best Player award for his performances during the tournament. He made his debut for the senior French national team on 22 March 2013 in a 3–1 win against Georgia, and scored his first World Cup goal on 30 June 2014 against Nigeria; he was awarded the Best Young Player Award for his performances at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, after reaching the quarter-final.
In January 2014, Pogba was named by The Guardian as one of the ten most promising young players in Europe.
Early life and career
Pogba was born in Lagny-sur-Marne, Seine-et-Marne, to Guinean parents. He has two older twin brothers who are also footballers. Florentin, the eldest, currently plays for French club AS Saint-Étienne, while Mathias plays for English clubCrawley Town.
Pogba began his football career at the age of six playing for US Roissy-en-Brie, a few miles south of his hometown. He spent seven seasons at the club before joining US Torcy, where he served as captain of the club's under-13 team. After one season with Torcy, Pogba joined professional club Le Havre. In his second season at the club, Pogba captained its under-16 team to the final phase of its domestic league, the Championnat National des 16 ans. Le Havre finished second to Lens in the final group phase, finishing ahead of the likes of Lyon andNancy. Pogba also established himself as a youth international for his country. His performances domestically and internationally led to interest from English club Arsenal as well as Italian club Juventus.
Departure to Manchester United
See also: 2009 English football tapping up controversy
On 31 July 2009, Pogba announced that he was departing Le Havre to join the youth academy of Manchester United in England. The move stunned his parent club, as it allegedly had a "non-solicitation agreement" with Pogba, which was agreed to by not only the player but also his parents in 2006. The agreement, which was in place until the end of the2009–10 season, allowed Le Havre to sign Pogba to an aspirant (youth) contract once the player met specific age and scholarship requirements. On 1 August, Le Havre released an official statement on its website criticising Manchester United and the Pogba family. Le Havre also announced its intent to ask FIFA to probe the situation.
In response to Le Havre's accusations, Manchester United threatened to sue the club, while Pogba denied he was leaving Le Havre for monetary reasons, which Le Havre president Jean-Pierre Louvel had alleged to be £87,000 and a house. Le Havre was also accused by Pogba's former club Torcy of using the same tactics it purported Manchester United to have used when the club acquired Pogba from its youth academy. On the same day of Pogba's announcement to depart for England, Torcy released a press release on its official website criticising Le Havre's accusations, stating, "We will not use the term 'steal,' but the recruiters of Le Havre acted the same way with the club in Torcy." The club cited Le Havre's acceptance of allowing Pogba to sign an amateur license with the club without notifying Torcy as its primary reason why. On 7 October, Manchester United were cleared of wrongdoing by a judge appointed by FIFA, with the declaration that Pogba was not contractually linked to Le Havre. Despite having the option to appeal, on 18 June 2010, Le Havre officials confirmed that the club had reached an agreement with Manchester United for the transfer of Pogba. The terms of the agreement were confidential.
Pogba completed his transfer to Manchester United on 7 October 2009 and made his debut with the club's under-18 team on 10 October against Crewe Alexandra in a 2–1 defeat. He finished the 2009–10 under-18 campaign with seven goals in 21 appearances. The team finished first in their group, but lost to Arsenal 5–3 on penalties in the play-off semi-finals. In April 2010, Pogba was a part of the under-18 team that successfully defended their title at the Torneo Calcio Memorial Claudio Sassi-Sassuolo inBologna, Italy. In the 2010–11 season, Pogba remained on the club's academy team in the Premier Academy League and played with the team during the first three months of the season. In November 2010, he was called up to the club's reserve team and made his debut on 2 November 2010 in a 3–1 win over Bolton Wanderers. On 10 January 2011, in the FA Youth Cup, Pogba scored a long-range goal, described as a "piledriver", in the team's 3–2 victory over Portsmouth. The win allowed the team to progress to the fourth round of the competition. A month later, Pogba scored a similar goal in a 3–2 defeat to West Bromwich Albion in the Academy League.
On 19 February 2011, Pogba was one of four academy players promoted to the first-team squad by manager Alex Ferguson ahead of Manchester United's FA Cup fifth round match against Crawley Town, for which he was assigned the number 42 shirt. He continued in the under-18s for the rest of the season, helping the team to a lengthy run in the FA Youth Cup; in the semi-final encounter against Chelsea in the competition, Pogba converted a goal in the first leg, a 3–2 defeat, and provided the assist for the opening goal of the second leg, a 4–0 win. In the final, Manchester United defeated Sheffield United 6–3 on aggregate to win their 10th Youth Cup title; Pogba started and played the entire match in both legs.
Ahead of the start of the 2011–12 season, Ferguson confirmed that Pogba would feature with the senior team during the season, stating: "I mean if we hold Pogba back, what's going to happen? He's going to leave. You know, in a couple of years' time when his contract is going to finish. So we have to give him the opportunity to see how he can do in the first-team and he's got great ability". Pogba was promoted to the club's reserve team permanently for the 2011–12 season and made his first appearance of the season on 15 August 2011 in the team's opening Premier Reserve League match against Arsenal. On 25 August, in the team's second league match against Swansea City reserves, Pogba scored the second goal in a 6–0 rout. On 19 September, he was named to the first team to participate in their Football League Cup tie against Leeds United the following day, with Ferguson proclaiming: "I intend to play him [Pogba] against Leeds United". Pogba appeared as a half-time substitute to make his professional debut as Manchester United won the match 3–0. Pogba made his second appearance against Aldershot Town in the Fourth Round of the League Cup on 25 October 2011.
Pogba made his Premier League debut against Stoke City on 31 January 2012, replacing Javier Hernández in the 72nd minute. He made another substitute appearance against West Bromwich Albion on 11 March. Four days later, he made his European debut in the second leg of the team's UEFA Europa League round of 16 tie against Spanish club Athletic Bilbao; he appeared as a substitute in the 2–1 away defeat, coming on for Michael Carrick in the 63rd minute as Manchester United lost the tie 5–3 on aggregate.
On 3 July 2012, Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson confirmed that Pogba had left the club after not signing a new contract.Ferguson stated that Pogba had signed for Italian club Juventus "a long time ago as far as we're aware." Ferguson also accused Pogba of disrespecting Manchester United, saying "It is disappointing. I don't think he showed us any respect at all, to be honest. I'm quite happy that if they [footballers] carry on that way, they're probably better doing it away from us." On 27 July, Juventus confirmed on their official website that Pogba had undergone a medical at the club, and the transfer was completed on 3 August, when he signed a four-year contract. He made his first appearance for Juventus in a pre-season friendly against Benfica in Geneva on 1 August, coming on as a 78th-minute substitute forAndrea Pirlo.
Pogba's first competitive appearance with Juventus came in the Serie A match against Chievo on 22 September 2012, where he played the full 90 minutes. On 2 October, Pogba made his first appearance in the UEFA Champions League in a 1-1 home draw against Shakhtar Donetsk,and on 20 October, Pogba scored his first goal for the club in a 2–0 win over Napoli. On 31 October, he started against Bologna and scored the game-winning goal in a 2–1 victory. Pogba also contributed to the opening goal scored by Fabio Quagliarella. The midfielder was subsequently praised for his performance in the match by several Italian media outlets such as la Repubblica, Il Messaggero, and La Gazzetta dello Sport.
On 19 January 2013, Pogba scored two goals against Udinese. Both goals were scored from outside the box, with one of them being a spectacular 40-yard goal. On 5 May 2013, Pogba was sent off in Juventus' Scudetto clinching game for spitting towards an opponent after being slapped in the face.
On 18 August 2013, Pogba was a key protagonist of Juventus' 4–0 win over Lazio, the match that won Juventus the 2013 Italian Supercoppa. During the match, Pogba replacedClaudio Marchisio and scored the first goal of the game; he was elected "Man of the Match". In December, Pogba was named 2013's Golden Boy for the best young player in Europe.
On 22 December, Paul Pogba scored a goal and contributed to Juventus's 1–4 away win against Atalanta. In January 2014, Pogba was named by The Guardian as one of the ten most promising young players in Europe. On 18 January 2014, Pogba was decisive in Juventus's 4-2 victory over Sampdoria, as he scored and assisted for the team. Three weeks later, Pogba assisted a goal as Juventus drew 2-2 against Verona. On 20 February, Pogba scored his first goal in UEFA club competitions as Juventus defeatedTrabzonspor 2-0 at home in the first leg of the round of 32 of the 2013-14 UEFA Europa League. On 14 April, Pogba produced a beautiful assist in Juventus's 2–0 win overUdinese, the same team that Pogba scored two magnificent goals against in the previous season. Later that week, Pogba scored the only goal in Juventus's 1–0 win overBologna. Pogba was also named the man of the match for his performance. Pogba would finish the season as a key player for the club, breaking into the starting line-up,winning his second consecutive Serie A title under manager Antonio Conte, and reaching the semi-finals of the Europa League.
On 20 September, under new Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri, Pogba contributed to Juventus's win against Milan by providing the assist for the only goal of the game, scored by Carlos Tevez. Later that month, on 18 October, Pogba saved Juventus from a defeat against Sassuolo by scoring a decisive equaliser; he was later named man of the match. On 24 October, Pogba renewed his contract with Juventus, tying him to the club until 2019. On 4 November, on his 100th appearance with the club, Pogba scored Juventus's third goal against Olympiacos in the Champions League, helping them to win the match; this was his first ever Champions League goal. On 22 November, he scored his first brace of the season, in a 3-0 win against Lazio at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome. On 28 October, Pogba was named as one of the 23 shortlisted candidates for the 2014 Ballon d'Or; at 21, he was the youngest on the list. In 2014, Pogba was awarded the Bravo Award, by the Italian sports magazine Il Guerin Sportivo, which is awarded to the best under-23 player who has participated in European competitions.
On 11 January 2015, Pogba helped Juventus secure their first win against Napoli at the Stadio San Paolo in 14 years as he scored a stunning volley that helped Juventus beat Napoli 3-1. On 15 January, he scored his first goal in the Coppa Italia as Juventus defeated Verona 6-1 in the round of 16 of the tournament. On March 9, Pogba scored the only goal in a 1-0 victory against Sassuolo to put Juventus 11 points clear of Roma at the top of the table. In the second leg of Juventus's round of 16 match-up against Borussia Dortmund, Pogba was taken off during the first half after injuring his hamstring, and was later ruled out for two months. He returned to the starting line-up on 9 May, scoring in a 1-1 home draw against Cagliari, as Juventus celebrated winning their fourth consecutive Serie A title since 2012. On 13 May, Pogba set up Alvaro Morata's equaliser against Real Madrid, in the second leg of the Champions League semi-final; the goal allowed Juventus win the tie 3-2 on aggregate to advance to the Champions League Final for the first time in 12 years. On 20 May, Pogba set up Juventus's first goal as they defeated Lazio 2–1 at the Stadio Olimpico in the 2015 Coppa Italia Final.
On 6 June 2015, Pogba started for Juventus in the 2015 UEFA Champions League Final as La Vecchia Signora was defeated 3–1 by FC Barcelona at Berlin's Olympiastadion.
On 15 July 2015, Pogba was named to the 10-man shortlist for the 2015 UEFA Best Player in Europe Award.
Pogba began his international career for France with the national youth football team and earned caps at all levels for which he was eligible. Prior to his international debut, Pogba was named captain of the under-16 team by coach Guy Ferrier. He made his youth international debut on 23 September 2008 in the team's opening match of the campaign against Wales in Llanelli. France won the match 4–2. Under Pogba's leadership, the team recorded impressive victories over Uruguay and Italy in the Tournoi du Val-de-Marne, and defeated the Republic of Ireland by a combined score of 8–2 over the course of two matches. On 31 January 2009, he scored his first youth international goal in the 2009 Aegean Cup Final against Norway. The goal gave France a 1–0 lead and the team won the match 2–1 to win the tournament. Pogba finished the under-16 campaign with 17 appearances and one goal.
For his role in allegedly breaking his contractual agreement with Le Havre, Pogba was suspended from international duty by the French Football Federation for six months. As a result, Pogba was stripped of the captaincy and made his debut with the under-17 team late in the campaign on 13 February 2010 against England at the Algarve Cup. He was a part of the team that played at the 2010 UEFA European Under-17 Football Championship scoring both of his goals with the team at the tournament. He scored the only goal in the team's 1–0 victory over Portugalin the group stage and netted his second in the team's 2–1 loss to England in the semi-finals. Following the departure of Ferrier as the team's youth international coach, Pogba was re-instated as captain at his age level by new coach Pierre Mankowski. Mankowski had previously been the assistant manager of the senior national team under the reign of Raymond Domenech. Pogba made his under-18 debut on 27 October 2010 at the Tournio de Limoges against Greece in a 4–1 victory. On 24 March 2011, Pogba scored his first goal with the team netting the game-winning goal in a 2–1 win over Germany. The goal was scored from over 30 metres (33 yd) out.
Pogba made his debut with the under-19 team in its first match of the season against Italy on 6 September 2011. In the match, he assisted on two goals, scored by Jean-Christophe Bahebeck and Anthony Koura, in a 3–1 victory. On 29 February 2012, he scored his first goal for the team in a 2–1 defeat to Spain. In Elite Round qualificationfor the 2012 UEFA European Under-19 Football Championship, Pogba scored the fifth goal in the team's 6–0 rout of the Netherlands. The victory qualified France for the competition. On 11 June 2012, Pogba was named to the squad to participate in the tournament. In the team's opening group stage match against Serbia, he converted a penalty in a 3–0 win. France reached the semi-finals where the team faced Spain. In the match, with France trailing 3–2 in extra time, Pogba scored the equalizing goal three minutes prior to the match's completion to send it to penalties. However, despite Pogba converting the opening penalty for France, Les Bleuets were defeated 4–2.
Due to the under-19 team's semi-final appearance in the 2012 UEFA European Under-19 Football Championship, the nation qualified for the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup, which merited under-20 team appearances for Pogba. Similar to the previous two seasons, Pogba was installed as captain by Mankowski and made his under-20 debut in a 0–0 draw against China. In the team's next match against North Korea, Pogba scored the team's second goal in a 3–1 win. Pogba was the captain of the team that won France's first ever FIFA U-20 World Cup. In that tournament held in Turkey, he played every minute of all of France's matches except for the final group match against Spain, in which he was an unused substitute. He was named the best player of the tournament.
On 22 March 2013, Pogba made his debut for the French senior team in a 2014 World Cup qualifier against Georgia. He played the full 90 minutes in a 3–1 win. Pogba then earned his second cap four days later in another 2014 World Cup qualifier against Spain. Pogba started this match against the world champions, but picked up a yellow card in the 76th minute for unsporting behaviour, before then being sent off two minutes later for a second bookable offence. He scored his first international goal against Belarus on 10 September 2013, once again during a 2014 World Cup qualifier.
On 6 June 2014, Pogba was named in France's squad for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. On 15 June, he started in central midfield in the team's first World Cup fixture – a 3–0 victory over Honduras – suffering a foul from Wilson Palacios which led to a red card for the Honduran and a penalty kick, which was converted by Karim Benzema to give France the lead. He appeared as a substitute in the team's second match, assisting a goal for Benzema in a 5–2 victory of Switzerland. In the round of 16, Pogba scored a 79th minute opening goal and was named man of the match by FIFA as Les Bleus defeated Nigeria 2–0 in Brasília.
On 13 July, Pogba was named the tournament's Best Young Player.
- As of 22 June 2015
|Club||Season||League||Cup[nb 1]||League Cup||Europe||Other||Total|
- All appearances in Europa League
- Appearances in UEFA Champions League a
- Six appearances in UEFA Champions League and 8 appearances and one goal in UEFA Europa League
- Appearances in Italian Super Cup a
- As of match played on 16 June 2015. 
|France national team|
- Scores and results list France's goal tally first.
|1.||10 September 2013||Central Stadium, Gomel, Belarus||Belarus||4–2||4–2||2014 FIFA World Cup qualification|
|2.||27 May 2014||Stade de France, Saint-Denis, France||Norway||1–0||4–0||Friendly|
|3.||30 June 2014||Estádio Nacional Mané Garrincha, Brasília, Brazil||Nigeria||1–0||2–0||2014 FIFA World Cup|
|4.||7 September 2014||Partizan Stadium, Belgrade, Serbia||Serbia||1–0||1–1||Friendly|
|5.||11 October 2014||Stade de France, Saint-Denis, France||Portugal||2–0||2–1||Friendly|
- Serie A: 2012–13, 2013–14, 2014–15
- Coppa Italia: 2014–15
- Supercoppa Italiana: 2012, 2013
- UEFA Champions League Runners-up: 2014–15
- FIFA U-20 World Cup: 2013
- 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup Golden Ball
- Golden Boy: 2013
- Serie A Team of the Year: 2013–14
- FIFA World Cup Best Young Player: 2014
- Bravo Award: 2014
- Includes cup competitions such as FA Cup and Coppa Italia