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A unique assist from Paul Pogba! My Story, his move - An anecdote

France v Croatia - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Final
France v Croatia - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Final
Balaji Iyer
Modified 23 Jul 2018

It was the biggest game of his career and he was sure of neither letting himself down nor letting anyone supporting France be disappointed. Next day, after the final game, there was also a video of the French dressing room doing rounds in the social media showing Paul Pogba giving a pep talk to his teammates to do well and win the World Cup Final to be remembered as the Les Bleus World Champion team for generations to come in France.

With so many talented and elite players around him playing for France, Paul Pogba had hardly put a wrong foot forward that day before squandering a couple of chances which would have got him his hat-trick. Nevertheless, by then France was leading the game by two goals and was well in control to finish as the World Champions which they eventually did.

Pogba was praised by many pundits around the world for his performance on the big day and also for playing reasonably well throughout the tournament. The consistency with which Pogba displayed the level of his game has not been evident while playing for Manchester United for the last couple seasons, which could be due to various reasons like allotted roles in the midfield, cover for defense, what the club manager demands, etc.

To be honest, I have not been a big fan of Paul Pogba for any particular reason apart from the fact that he is the mainstay at Manchester United. He also has been criticised by many (including me) for his glitz on and off the field. There also have been several instances where his performances for Manchester United have left me frustrated. But no matter what, I would personally be thankful to Paul Pogba for being one of the reasons behind the growth of my career. This is my story with Paul Labile Pogba playing his role in providing the assist.

It was before the start of 2009-10 season, during the period from May 2009 to August 2009, I was trying to catch up with all the speculations about the players whom Manchester United was planning to buy. While the acquisition of Paul Pogba was not a big news in world football as he was just 16 at that time, his move from Le Havre to Manchester United was in the news for a suit filed and case contested by the clubs. Eventually, Paul Pogba was acquired and started his first stint with Manchester United with the academy. He was in the news almost from the very beginning. His dominant display in the midfield while playing for the academy was mentioned more than a few times on the official club website which I used to visit regularly during those days. 

About eighteen months had passed since the acquisition of Paul Pogba and he was again in the news for his outstanding performances for the reserves. Around the same time during the month of January in 2011, I got a call from a tire manufacturing company who was looking to hire someone to fill in the vacancy for logistics in their system. Myself, being in the logistics industry since 2006, gleefully accepted their call and confirmed my attendance for the interview - I was anyways looking to make a switch from my current job then. The very next day, I reached the venue, met the HR guys and was introduced to my "Boss to be" with whom I got along very well from that very moment. He is a good friend of mine even today. 

We sat down for my interview and the Q&A session began with relevant questions. He then suddenly asked me if I am aware of the popular Sea Ports and Airports in the world. I backed my instincts and said yes for him to test me. He said he will name the ports and I had to tell him the name of the country. I was asked about Santos, Hamburg, Buenos Aires, Barcelona, Amsterdam, Antwerp.... Till this point, I got everything right because all were major locations which also had famous football clubs based there. Then I was asked about a few locations in Asia & Australia out of which, I got a couple of them wrong. Then he asked me a few ports in Europe which weren't that famous out which I got only Le Havre right. (Courtesy - Paul Labile Pogba).

I also made it a point to tell that gentleman that I knew most of the locations only because of my football following. I eventually got recruited and worked there for seven years and made steady progress at work. 

Paul Pogba left Manchester United to Join Juventus before the start of 2012 to be one of their best players for four seasons. He eventually made a comeback to Old Trafford in 2016 to be the most expensive footballer in terms of transfer in the history of the game. Manchester United won the Europa in 2016-17 and finished the consequent season without any silverware. After performing well in the World Cup and finishing as the World cup winner, all I hope is that he carries that momentum with him while performing at United and helps Manchester United win the league in the upcoming seasons. I also hope he proves himself truly as one of the best players in the world just for the fact that without him I would have never known about a place called Le Havre.

Published 22 Jul 2018, 21:51 IST
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