Star man Paul Pogba explains 'biting' incident

Wednesday 16 June 2021 11:35

Paul Pogba has opened up on a controversial incident with Antonio Rudiger during France's 1-0 win over Germany at Euro 2020.

Les Bleus got their tournament off to a perfect start in Munich, in a match that was decided by an unfortunate own goal by Mats Hummels.
And Pogba was named Star of the Match by UEFA come full-time, due to an influential individual performance which included an incisive crossfield pass in the build-up to France's first-half winner.
But the Frenchman was also involved in a bizarre entanglement with Chelsea's Antonio Rudiger in the opening 45 minutes, with some commentators suggesting that the Germany defender took a bite of Pogba's back.


After the match, Paul attempted to play down the grappling with the combative centre-back.
“In terms of Toni, we’re friends. There was nothing big,” he began.
“I think you saw the television pictures, this is all over, this belongs to the past. I’m not crying for yellow or red cards because of such actions.
“He nibbled, I think, a little bit on me, but we’ve known each other for a long time.
“I felt it. I told the referee, he takes the decisions and he took a decision. It’s over, I just want to play football.
“He hasn’t received any card, I think it’s better like this. It was a great match for us, for the fans, for the spectators. I don’t want him to be suspended because of such a situation. At the end of the match, we hugged each other and that’s it.”
Legendary ex-United midfielder and captain Roy Keane also felt the incident had been given undue attention, saying: “I think it was more of a nibble than a bite. It wasn’t a proper bite but a silly thing to do.”
That aside, the focus was squarely on Pogba's strong display at the heart of France's midfield, alongside the irrepressible N'Golo Kante.
Our no.6 was given the 'Star of the Match' award, while UEFA's Technical Observer Steffen Freud – formerly of Borrussia Dortmund and Tottenham Hotspur – opined: “Outstanding with the ball, involved in the goal with a great pass behind Germany's defence. Always an option and kept the ball. Most important player in central midfield. Always going forward and coming back to help Kante. A really good performance - with and without the ball.”

Indeed, Pogba was arguably the catalyst in France's solitary goal. His sublime, chipped pass to Lucas Hernandez enabled the full-back to power in the cross which forced Hummels to fire into his own net.
And in the second period, as the world champions searched for a second, Pogba was so nearly the instigator of a goal for Karim Benzema.
Controlling the ball in midfield, the tall midfielder swept an immaculate through ball to Kylian Mbappe, who squared for the veteran Real Madrid striker to tap into an empty net.
The celebrations began, only for VAR to rule Mbappe offside in the build-up. Nevertheless, France still won to get their Euros bid up and running.