Published On: Sat, Aug 20th, 2016

Pogba: 'Part of my heart' was still at United

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Ahead of a return to Manchester United football Friday against Southampton, the world’s most expensive footballer opened up about the high-profile move and his connection to the English footballing giant.

After a decorated four-year spell with Juventus, Paul Pogba will again sport the trademark red strip Friday at Old Trafford on the heels of a record-breaking £89.3-million transfer fee.

“This comeback shows I left United but a part of my heart was still here,” Pogba told Sky Sports’ Thierry Henry ahead of Friday’s tilt with the Saints.

It’s no mere coincidence that Henry – a Les Bleus standout who had something to prove upon his Premier League arrival when he made the switch from Juventus to Arsenal – would interview a player following a similar career arc.

(Courtesy: Sky Sports)

Henry left the Old Lady to find his place as an emerging star, and Pogba acknowledged the same reasons motivated his departure from United in 2012 after just three first-team appearances.

“I left here because I wanted to play and I wanted to show the world, to show United, that I was ready to play and I was motivated to play,” Pogba said.

He added, “This comeback shows I left United but a part of my heart was still here.”

With both a relatively underwhelming Premier League season and Louis van Gaal’s tenure in the rearview, United is hoping that a quartet of marquee additions and the arrival of Jose Mourinho can again thrust the perennial challengers into the title hunt.

While a record-smashing fee didn’t hurt, Pogba admits that having Mourinho on the touchline helped persuade him to make the move.

“You see a big coach like him, who has done a lot and has won everything, and when he comes here, takes the players and wants to go back to winning,” he said.

“I played four years in Italy. If he’d come two years after I’d left (United), maybe I wouldn’t have come, I would have stayed at Juve. I think it was the right time for him to come, and for me to come back.”

When pressed about what he wants to accomplish at United, Pogba put the club’s goals first.

“Win the league, the perfect thing, win the cup, and win the Europa League too. That would be perfect,” the angular 23-year-old said. “I think we are trying to go back to basics at United, and to win the league. After that we would go back into the Champions League.”

While he relishes the prospect of helping United return to its former behemoth status, Pogba can’t help but consider some rather lofty individual ambitions as well.

“I’ve always dreamed about winning the Ballon d’Or. … What’s kept me going like this is objectives. I’d rather dream like crazy and say crazy things because it’s a dream. I want to dream big things. Maybe it will happen and maybe not, but I will dream it.”

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