Pogba Will End The Second United Spell
Paul Pogba will depart Manchester United at the end of June when his contract expires, the club can confirm.
The Frenchman has a lengthy history with United, having joined the club’s Academy at the age of 16 from Le Havre.
Pogba rose through the ranks fast, first impressing in the Under-18s and then soon advancing to the Reserves.
He originally gained notoriety as a member of the Youth Cup team that won the club’s historic 10th title in 2011, appearing in both legs of the final against Sheffield United.
In a 3-0 League Cup triumph away at Leeds United the following season, he made his first-team debut under Sir Alex Ferguson.
However, because to stiff competition for chances at Old Trafford, Pogba joined Italian heavyweights Juventus in the summer of 2012.
In Piedmont, he soon rose to prominence, assisting La Vecchia Signora to four consecutive Serie A crowns and two Coppa Italias.
However, he took the difficult decision to return to Old Trafford in 2016, hoping to continue the budding United career he had started in that breakthrough season of 2011/12.
He was thrust into the heart of Jose Mourinho’s new-look midfield almost immediately, and his first season back in M16 was a huge success.
Following a sensational ‘second’ debut against Southampton, in which he dazzled the audience with his all-round midfield prowess, Pogba started two cup finals in which the Reds would win both.
First, he shone in the 2017 League Cup final against Southampton, which ended in a 3-2 victory thanks to a thrilling late winner from Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The Swede scored twice, and Mourinho praised both Zlatan and Paul as United’s best players at the end of the game.
A few months later, United advanced to the UEFA Europa League final in Solna, Stockholm, where Pogba scored the first goal in a touching 2-0 triumph over Ajax, just days after the devastating Manchester Arena explosion.
The following 2017/18 season produced a promising second-place finish, as well as probably Paul’s best performance in a red shirt — in the chaotic and legendary Manchester derby of April 2018.
Rivals from across the street City went into the game at the Etihad knowing that a win would give them the title, and United would be forced to watch the crowing celebrations that would undoubtedly follow.
At halftime, we were down 2-0 against the Blues, who were on fire. A tense second half appeared to be in the cards, but Pogba struck twice in quick succession to tie the game and stun the City crowd. Chris Smalling put United ahead soon after, capping off one of the most incredible comebacks in rivalry history.
Pogba was important in leading France to a 4-2 victory over Croatia in the World Cup final in Moscow that summer, and he was a consistent presence throughout the tournament.
Pogba’s next season, 2018/19, would be the most productive of his United career, with 16 goals in 47 appearances, fueled by that career high. However, the team had a moment of insecurity following the departure of Mourinho, who was replaced by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Injuries limited Solskjaer to just 22 appearances across all competitions in 2019/20, but he led United to an encouraging third-place finish.
Pogba’s two famous stunners – at Turf Moor and Craven Cottage – pushed United to the top of the standings in January 2021, continuing the team’s upward trend.
Paul had an important role in Europe as well. He came in at halftime in the second leg of our Europa League round-of-16 tie against AC Milan, and scored a stunning solo goal in the San Siro to put United 2-1 up on aggregate and seal the tie.
He scored again in the semi-final against Roma, but the Reds were unable to avoid a heartbreaking 11-10 penalty shootout loss to Villarreal in the Gdansk final.
Pogba’s final season at the club started off brightly, with four assists in our 5-0 demolition of Leeds United on the opening day, but injury troubles would finally ruin his dreams.
Under Solskjaer and his replacement, interim manager Ralf Rangnick, Pogba made just 27 appearances, with the last of his 233 United outings ending in the 10th minute of a defeat at Anfield in April 2022, with Pogba forced to leave the field due to another terrible knock.
It was a low-key conclusion to a United career that had seen so many individual high points, so many stunning goals, assists, and talent displays.
But for a 16-year-old to make over 200 games for United and win the Youth Cup, as well as two big trophies – not to mention the World Cup on an international level – is something to be appreciated and celebrated.
Everyone at Manchester United would like to congratulate Paul on his long and successful career, as well as thank him for his services to the club.
We wish him the best of luck on the next leg of his incredible journey.