The Paul Pogba drama has returned.
On Thursday, whilst taking part in a press conference for the French national team, the Manchester United midfielder was asked about Zinedine Zidane and the possibility of playing under the manager for Real Madrid.
There aren’t many footballers as experienced and adept at dealing with the media as Pogba, so he could have dodged the question with professional ease, instead he spat out what he really thinks: “Zidane? We all heard it, things were said. My reply? Yes, every football player would like to play at Real Madrid. It may be a dream. It’s a dream for me, why not one day. As I said, I’m in Manchester and I love my club. I’m performing in Manchester, I’m enjoying myself and I want to do everything to put the club back where it deserves to be. I’ll give my all, just like my teammates.”
Pogba spoke about ‘fighting’ for his current club, and the ‘love’ he has for it, which is good of him, yet, as he’ll have been well aware would be the case, when the usual footballer comments are put aside, it’s the Real Madrid dream which will remain.
Inevitably, this has been picked up a little in the Spanish sport media, although it’s fair to say it’s not really a big story at this stage.
AS have a column which probably doesn’t say what the Manchester United player wants to hear. Pogba is accused of ‘throwing a tantrum’, aware that the ‘train’ to pick him up for Real Madrid has likely passed: ‘And it is a train, as they say, that only happens once in a lifetime.’
The Spanish newspaper say that in 2019, when Pogba went public about a new challenge, it was too late for Madrid president Florentino Perez, AS then add: ‘It still is.’
Whilst Zidane’s desire for Pogba has been reported down the years by the Madrid media, over recent windows it’s been made clear Perez hasn’t been convinced.
Some fans have blamed United, Jose Mourinho, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, teammates, and anything other than Pogba for his failure to consistently shine at Old Trafford, but it’s clear that hasn’t been Perez’s thinking.
Indeed, these days when there’s talk of Real Madrid signing a French midfielder it’s likelier to be 17-year-old Eduardo Camavinga. And next to the Pogba comments, he gets a full page which labels him a ‘priority’ signing.
So what would the tantrum be for? AS aren’t clear, although the suggestion would be it’s either to try and shake Madrid into paying attention, or to panic his current club into renewal talks.