Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Paul Pogba reveals he 'really loved' Arsenal's 2000 team of French stars

Paul Pogba has admitted he was an Arsenal fan as a kid - because Arsene Wenger's squad was jam-packed with French talent. 

The Manchester United midfielder, who lifted the World Cup with France last summer, learned his trade playing on the streets of his home town, Lagny-sur-Marne.

But despite being inspired by Zinedine Zidane and Ronaldinho, it was the Gunners - rather than Real Madrid or Barcelona - that he followed as a seven-year-old. 

'I was an Arsenal fan,' he told The Times' new Life Times podcast.

'Arsenal and the French national team. I really loved the 1999-2000 team. You know with Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira, (Sylvain) Wiltord, (Robert) Pires.'

Henry and Vieira were both Arsenal players in 1999, with Wenger adding Wiltord and Pires to his French contingent the following year.

They went on to win a Premier League and FA Cup double in 2001-02, with Henry winning back-to-back PFA Player of the Year awards in 2003 and 2004.

'I loved Thierry Henry,' Pogba added. 'Ronaldo, Henry, Djibril Cisse… (Gabriel) Batistuta I used to watch. 

'I was a really selfish player (laughs). At the time I was a striker, No 9. Then I went back and back and finished in the middle. The pitch was hard, cement. You better not fall!'

Asked if he idolised Henry or Vieira while supporting Arsenal, Pogba said: 'I was No 10 at the time. I was playing free so still watching Zidane, Ronaldinho. 

'I was more into them, you know? I loved to dribble, I was very selfish. I was a very selfsh player – I’m glad I changed! 

'Now they (my friends) can’t believe that I pass the ball! I was a very bad loser and I wanted to score goals. I still am. 

'I used to cry a lot as a kid. When I’d lose, I used to cry a lot. I wouldn’t talk for two days, depending on how much I lose (by) and if I played good or bad.'


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