Jose Mourinho claims Paul Pogba 'lost a sense of who he is' after winning the 2018 World Cup – before giving his view on the former Man United star's FOUR-YEAR ban for doping after their fiery clashes
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Jose Mourinho claims Paul Pogba 'lost a sense of who he is' after winning the 2018 World Cup – before giving his view on the former Man United star's FOUR-YEAR ban for doping after their fiery clashes

May 2, 2024

Jose Mourinho believes Paul Pogba winning the World Cup with France in 2018 caused him to lose his way when he returned to Manchester United.

Pogba became the world’s most expensive footballer when he re-signed for United in an £89m deal in 2016 in the same summer that Mourinho joined the club. 

The pair enjoyed a promising start together, winning the League Cup and Europa League in their first season, but things turned sour between them prior to Mourinho being sacked in December 2018.

Mourinho and Pogba famously clashed in training in the early stages of the 2018-19 season after the former was unhappy that the Frenchman had been posting on Instagram during a United match that he was unavailable for. Reflecting on the breakdown in their relationship, Mourinho claimed Pogba changed following his World Cup triumph.

‘The only thing I say is that it happens with almost everybody in some moments of your career: you lose a little bit the sense of who you are and what you have to be,’ Mourinho told The Telegraph.

Paul Pogba played a starring role when France won the World Cup in 2018

Paul Pogba played a starring role when France won the World Cup in 2018

This came just a year after he won the League Cup and Europa League with Jose Mourinho at Man United

This came just a year after he won the League Cup and Europa League with Jose Mourinho at Man United

Pogba and Mourinho famously clashed in training shortly before the latter was sacked, and Mourinho believes Pogba lost his way after winning the World Cup

Pogba and Mourinho famously clashed in training shortly before the latter was sacked, and Mourinho believes Pogba lost his way after winning the World Cup

‘The season after France won the [2018] World Cup, I think Paul came back different. 

‘The World Cup brought him into a dimension where football was not the most important thing for him. Sharing the philosophy of everyone; everyone with the same level of responsibilities.’

Pogba did not start any of Mourinho’s last three games in charge, with a power struggle developing between the duo that left fans and players divided.

Mourinho hinted that he did not receive the full support of the United board after making the bold call to drop Pogba, which left him feeling undermined in front of the rest of the squad.

‘When you are supported by the power, by the hierarchy, the message that passes through is very positive in the group,’ Mourinho continued. 

‘When you are not supported… because the player is more important or what the player represents is more important – then you are in a fragile situation. Even if you are a coach with so much experience as was my case.’

Pogba went on to stay at Old Trafford for another four years after Mourinho left before agreeing to return to former club Juventus on a free transfer for the second time.

But his move back to Italy proved disastrous as he missed the majority of the 2022-23 season, including the World Cup, due to injury.

Pogba then failed a drugs test after Juventus’ opening game of this season at Udinese, and was subsequently handed a four-year ban from football.

The midfielder was left ‘sad, shocked and heartbroken’ by the lengthy suspension, and confirmed he will appeal the decision.

But for now he faces an uncertain future in the sport, with his ban not set to expire until shortly before his 35th birthday.

Mourinho and Pogba saw each other before matches between Roma and Juventus when the former was in charge of Roma prior to his sacking in January.

And Mourinho has insisted he takes no pleasure in Pogba’s downfall, despite the pair’s disagreements over the years.

‘I am not enjoying Paul’s situation at all,’ Mourinho said.

Paul Pogba is currently serving a four-year ban for doping, and Mourinho has insisted he is not happy to see his former player going through a tough time despite their previous clashes

Paul Pogba is currently serving a four-year ban for doping, and Mourinho has insisted he is not happy to see his former player going through a tough time despite their previous clashes

Mourinho is also away from football at the moment, but is relishing the opportunity to get back on the touchline.

He has been linked with several jobs in recent months, and the 61-year-old is adamant that he will only have one demand when taking his next role.

‘The only thing I want is that the targets and the objectives have to be established by everyone in a fair way,’ he explained.

‘I cannot go to a club where, because of my history, the objective is to win the title.

‘I don’t want to say realistic, but [at least] semi-realistic. Because when I went to Roma nobody was dreaming about European Cup finals and we did it. It’s not possible I go to a club almost relegated and the objective is to win the Champions League. It’s good but it is not fair.’

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