Paul Pogba has insisted that it is ‘not a mystery’ that his disastrous second spell at Manchester United did not pan out the way he expected after he won just two trophies in six years at Old Trafford.
The World Cup-winning Frenchman brought the curtain down on his time at United in the summer after he rejected the club’s ‘derisory’ £300,000-per-week contract offer to extend his stay in the north west.
Having returned to Juventus in July, Pogba has taken time to reflect on his second stint at United which initially saw him return with a bang after completing a then-world record £89million move from his current club.
Paul Pogba has admitted his disastrous second spell at Manchester United didn’t go to plan
After winning the Europa League and Carabao Cup in 2016-17 – his first season back at United – Pogba would fail to add any more silverware to his collection while in red with his last three seasons at the club plagued by injury.
And the 29-year-old has admitted that he had higher expectations with the Premier League side.
‘I like to think and say that it is my heart that made the choice to come back to Juventus. It was also maybe the right time to come back here,’ Pogba told GQ Italia.
‘The last three years in Manchester, also conditioned by injuries, did not go the way I wanted, it’s not a mystery.
‘Juventus came from two years in which they did not win the Scudetto. It was a good challenge for both of us, and maybe it was the right time to get together and try to take back our rightful place: me and Juventus.
Pogba won the Europa League (left) and Carabao Cup in his first season back at United
However, the Frenchman failed to add any more silverware to his collection while in red
‘Inside of me I know that this jersey is very special. It brings out my best. We built a good history with this team, which I never forgot even when I left.
‘Coming back here for me is always a reason to push even harder, to stimulate myself to do well. I never had any doubt that this is were I belong.’
Pogba is still yet to play for Juventus on his return after he picked up another injury, which saw him initially try to avoid surgery before having an operation on his knee earlier this month.
He was not expected to return until November, a matter of days before the World Cup in Qatar gets underway, but he now wants to get back for Juventus’ Champions League match against Benfica on October 25, as reported by Tuttosport earlier this week.
Pogba has largely been working in the swimming pool and gym during the early stages of his rehabilitation, but is expected to move to on-pitch exercises shortly.
It is understood that the next 10 days will be crucial in determining whether the midfielder can realistically meet his target of playing in October.
The Frenchman’s last three seasons at Old Trafford were plagued by several injuries
The game against Benfica could potentially be a crucial one as Juventus look to somehow get into the knockout rounds of the Champions League.
The Old Lady have lost their opening two group games, leaving them six points adrift of PSG and Benfica, but wins in their double-header against Maccabi Haifa could set up a mouth-watering clash with the Portuguese side.
Meanwhile, Pogba’s World Cup hopes looked to be hanging by a thread when he first picked up the serious injury, and Didier Deschamps recently claimed that he would not include the former Manchester United star in his squad if he was not fully fit.
‘He will not come just because he is a “framework”, Deschamps told reporters. ‘If he has not played before and is not in top form, it is useless. He himself does not want it.’
Pogba may now get an extra couple of weeks to prove his fitness, which could be enough to book his ticket on the plane as Les Bleus look to defend their crown after beating Croatia in the final four years ago.
The 29-year-old insists it was ‘the right time’ to return to Juventus after leaving United in July
Pogba’s last few months at United were also marred by an extraordinary incident off the pitch where Pogba claims he was the victim of an alleged extortion attempt which saw him held at gunpoint.
The incident is believed to have taken place on March 19 in the suburbs of Paris, and it has been reported that Pogba paid £85,000 to the extortionists, despite them demanding £11m from him.
Pogba’s brother, Mathias, has subsequently been charged for his alleged involvement in the extortion plot, and is currently being held in police custody.
Four other men, who are thought to be his accomplices, have also been placed under formal investigation for extortion and criminal association.