Paul Pogba has opened up about how he kept his late father in mind throughout a triumphant World Cup campaign with France in the summer.
The 25-year-old’s father, Fassou Antonine Pogba, passed away on 14 May 2017, just ten days prior to Manchester United’s 2-0 win over Ajax in the Europa League final, during which Pogba scored the opener and produced a ‘Man of the Match’ performance.
A year later, following a season without trophies under Jose Mourinho, Pogba scored in the World Cup final against Croatia to secure France’s second ever triumph on the biggest of all stages.
The celebrations were cathartic, truly emotional, full of giddy joy and comradery. But as Pogba notes, beneath all of that lay a yearning to share this moment with his father, who would have no doubt guided him through the tournament.
In the same interview, it was revealed that Pogba wore shin-pads bearing a photo of Fassou during the 4-2 win over Croatia in Moscow, which also had on them a message which read:
“Oh Lord, don’t chastise me for what they say, forgive me for what they don’t know and make me better then what they think of me.”
There will be many who never shake the idea that Pogba is some dressing room insurgent hellbent on subverting his manager’s influence.
But to me, Pogba comes across as a genuinely good, pious individual who merely wants the best for himself, his family, his teammates and, of course, his boyhood club.