Goal of the Day: P is for... Pogba
Our A-Z Goal of the Day series reaches the 16th letter of the alphabet today, and it's time to celebrate the one and only Paul Pogba.
One of the undisputed stars of the world game, the towering French midfielder first came to prominence in our FA Youth Cup-winning outfit of 2011, alongside fellow first-team colleague Jesse Lingard.
He left to sign for Juventus in 2012 but rejoined in 2016, and a year later set us on the road to victory in the UEFA Europa League final against Ajax with today's Goal of the Day. You can watch that moment in full below...
Pogba first joined the club in autumn 2009, after departing French club Le Havre. He quickly built a big reputation in the Academy set-up through his technical dexterity and creativity and, alongside Ravel Morrison, Jesse Lingard and the Keane brothers, quickly became a big part of the side that would win the 2011 FA Youth Cup. Pogba re-signed for United again in 2016, following a successful four-year spell with Italian giants Juventus. He teamed up with Jose Mourinho and the squad after completing a then world-record transfer.
Despite his heroics in the 2017 Europa League final, Pogba's most outstanding game in Red undoubtedly came in a dramatic Manchester derby in spring 2018. At half-time, United were 2-0 down to Pep Guardiola's men, who would have clinched the title by collecting three points. But after a shambolic first 45, the Reds took to the field after the interval with renewed inspiration. Pogba was front and central to the recovery effort that followed. First he tapped home an ingenious, chested Ander Herrera assist, and then he started and finished a sweeping team move to level the score. Chris Smalling added the winner soon after, but it was Pogba who left the pitch at full-time as the game's dominant figure.
Our current no.6 made his first-team United debut at Elland Road in 2011, during a 3-0 victory over Leeds in the League Cup. But he'd make just six further appearances under Sir Alex Ferguson before his subsequent move to Italy. But since his return to M16, the midfielder has added 143 games to his initial seven – taking him to exactly 150 appearances – and claimed two major trophies (the 2017 EFL Cup and the 2017 Europa League). He top-scored last term, with 16 goals, but has suffered an injury-interrupted 2019/20 in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's first full campaign as permanent manager.
AWAY FROM UNITED
Pogba's four years in Juventus were hugely successful, bearing four consecutive Serie A titles and two Coppa Italias, along with a run to the 2015 Champions League final, where Juve were defeated 3-1 by Barcelona. Paul has also been successful at international level, as part of the French squad that reached the final of the 2016 Euros and then went on to triumph in the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
WHAT THEY SAID
"He’s a leader. You see the personality. He loves playing football. He’s a larger-than-life character. When the performances come as well, that marries together as a good leader, and you see what it meant to him winning the World Cup. He’s captain material." (Ole Gunnar Solskjaer)
"Time and time again, he provides opportunities for the team and that's what we want from him. If we can get him free as much as we can, he'll make these passes all day long. He'll find you." (Marcus Rashford)