Pogba Makes Fund-Raising Pledge To Tackle Coronavirus Pandemic

Manchester United and France midfielder Paul Pogba gives a press conference after a gala football match between All Star France and Guinea at the Vallee du Cher Stadium in Tours, central France, on December 29, 2019, as part of the “48h for Guinea” charity event. GUILLAUME SOUVANT / AFP

 

Manchester United star Paul Pogba has promised to financially support the fight to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Pogba has organised a fundraising page on Facebook and the France midfielder will double the amount raised if the target of £27,000 is reached.

World Cup winner Pogba, who had his 27th birthday on Sunday, wrote: “It’s my birthday and I’m always grateful that me, my family and friends are healthy. Nonetheless, not everybody is in good health right now.

“The Coronavirus pandemic is affecting the health and lives of many, including children. The impact of a large-scale outbreak, especially on poor and vulnerable children, can be immense.

“UNICEF is helping prevent the spread of Coronavirus by supplying vital medical supplies, consulting with communities and implementing prevention campaigns.

“It is a priority to stop the spread of this new virus, and the misinformation that’s spreading alongside it.

READ ALSO: Apple Shuts All Stores Outside China Over Coronavirus

“At times like this we need to come together. With your help, I am hoping today to raise £27,000 to help fight this war and I will double the amount if we reach the goal.

“If we manage to reach our target, it will be enough to provide 333,332 pairs of disposable gloves for health workers, 2,777 surgical masks to help prevent the disease spreading further and 9,615 sets of vented goggles.

“Any amount will be welcome to help fight this war against COVID19. Thank you for all the support. Stay safe.”

Pogba’s appeal had raised over £2,000 within hours of being launched.

AFP

Pogba’s Agent Hints At Potential Manchester United Exit

Manchester United and France midfielder Paul Pogba gives a press conference after a gala football match between All-Star France and Guinea at the Vallee du Cher Stadium in Tours, central France, on December 29, 2019, as part of the “48h for Guinea” charity event. GUILLAUME SOUVANT / AFP

 

Paul Pogba’s agent Mino Raiola has hinted the Manchester United star could leave Old Trafford if he is unhappy at the end of the season.

Pogba has made just eight appearances for United during the current campaign after battling a nagging ankle injury and rumours have swirled about the France midfielder’s future during his absence.

Pogba made a comeback with two substitute appearances against Watford and Newcastle in December, but suffered a fresh ankle problem, with speculation mounting that he wants to end his second spell with United.

Raiola added to the drama surrounding Pogba on Wednesday when he said his client was not guaranteed to remain with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s stuttering side if he is not happy.

“I expect my players to be happy and I expect the clubs to be happy. That is my work. I do not want to work in front of what might be happening in the summer,” Raiola told Sky Sports News.

“For now he (Pogba) needs to be getting fit and then it is my job to get both parties if possible, happy. If one of those parties is not happy then there are other ways to resolve that.

“But that is not today the way to talk or to speculate. I don’t say anything for sure. There’s only one thing for sure in life and that is that one day you die.”

 ‘Elephant in the room’ 

Raiola was quoted last month suggesting that he would stop bringing his players to Old Trafford as speculation over Pogba’s future rumbled on.

The 52-year-old has now questioned United’s “project” and whether Pogba still wants to be part of the club’s plans as they battle to qualify for the Champions League via a top-four finish in the Premier League.

“The quotes were a little bit strong but I think what I meant is that Manchester United needs to get their project right, otherwise there is no sense. I said what I said,” Raiola said.

“Everybody knows the ambition from both parts has not been met the last few years. Let’s be honest, let’s talk about the elephant in the room.

“So we need to see in the summer if Paul is still in the plans of Manchester United and if Manchester United is still in the plans of Paul.”

The uncertainty over Pogba’s future is one reason United have been so keen to sign Portugal midfielder Bruno Fernandes from Sporting Lisbon.

United are reported to be haggling with Sporting over a price for Fernandes, whose agent Jorge Mendes admitted on Wednesday he expects the star to leave Portugal by the summer.

“If he will not leave now he will leave for sure in the summer because Sporting, they have spoken already with other clubs and something will happen,” Mendes told Sky Sports News.

“I’m not sure if (it will happen) now or the end of the season.”

AFP

Man United In Full Support Of Pogba Operation, Says Solskjaer

Manchester United and France midfielder Paul Pogba gives a press conference in Tours, central France, on December 29, 2019.  AFP

 

Manchester United were in full support of the decision that led to Paul Pogba undergoing ankle surgery, manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said on Friday.

The Norwegian boss appeared to suggest after the New Year’s Day defeat to Arsenal that Pogba’s “people” had recommended the surgery, raising questions over how much input the club had in the decision.

The French World Cup winner made his comeback after nearly three months out with an ankle injury in a 2-0 defeat at Watford on December 22 and also made an appearance off the bench in a 4-1 thrashing of Newcastle four days later but has since been sidelined again.

Speculation continues to surround the 26-year-old, who has been regularly linked with a move away from Old Trafford and whose agent, Mino Raiola, has been scathing about the club in comments made in the Italian media.

But Solskjaer was keen to play down any suggestion of a disagreement regarding the injury, and said: “Paul came back after a long spell out, (featured in) a few games, had a reaction, didn’t go to Burnley.

“He felt his ankle was sore, we did a scan. It’s not the same injury, it’s a different injury. Of course when you get that scan you consult your own medical people as well, like I did. He wanted a second opinion and the advice was to have it done.”

On the injury, Solskjaer added: “It’s not a major one and probably, as I said, three or four weeks.

When asked again about why he had suggested it was Pogba’s “people” behind the decision to undergo surgery, he added: “As in when you consult your surgeon and the ones you trust.

“That’s maybe my bad English — you have people you trust and you speak to. When I had my injuries, knee operations, I had my people in Norway and Sweden that I spoke to and Paul obviously has people as well that he trusts, and that’s important.”

Wolves FA Cup test 

Solskjaer’s team face Wolves in the FA Cup third round at Molineux on Saturday, having been dumped out of the competition by them in the quarter-finals last season.

“They’re not going to make it easy for us,” he said.

“It’s the fourth time at Molineux since I’ve been here and we haven’t won yet. Liverpool lost there last season, City have just lost there so we have got to earn the right to win there. We’ve got to perform and go there positive.

“We want a reaction after the defeat against Arsenal, which everyone says was such a bad, bad performance. But in my mind it was a good game by two good footballing teams.”

Eighteen-year-old Mason Greenwood, who started and scored in the Boxing Day win at home to Newcastle and came off the bench at Arsenal, could be in contention.

“He’s grown a lot. He’s mentally and physically more robust which of course you expect from an 18-year-old,” Solskjaer said.

“He’s had more or less 12 months with us now and he’s grown fantastically, his confidence and performances in the top games. He’s played a lot of cup games and done well.”

Solskjaer also confirmed that reserve goalkeeper Sergio Romero would play at Molineux.

AFP

Pogba Launches Personal Anti-Racism Protest

Manchester United’s French midfielder Paul Pogba reacts after missing a chance during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Newcastle United at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on December 26, 2019. Paul ELLIS / AFP

 

Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba has decided to make a personal protest against racism following the ongoing “ignorance” demonstrated at football stadiums throughout Europe.

The 26-year-old France star came off the bench during United’s a 4-1 win win away to Newcastle on Thursday, when he wore black and white wristbands during the warm-up.

‘No to racism’ and ‘We are one’ read the wristbands that Pogba asked his team-mates to join him in wearing before the match, with the World Cup winner then presenting his to a young fan in the crowd.

Pogba later posted an image of that moment on Instagram with a Martin Luther King quote – “Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that” – and the hashtag #NoToRacismWeAllOne.

“It was my idea to do that,” Pogba said of the wristbands, in an interview with Britain’s Press Association news agency.

“I mean, I’ve been thinking about doing this but I don’t want to go through the UEFA or the FIFA. I (have) done it myself.

“I think we have the chance to have this power to show things in football, on TV.

“People see it so I think that will make people understand some things.

“I think it’s ignorance. Ignorance and stuff like that, and just to show people that you are all one. We are all one.”

Pogba was subjected to racism on social media at the start of the season and he also mentioned Antonio Rudiger after the Chelsea defender was subjected to alleged racist abuse at Tottenham last weekend.

“I mean, a lot of players in a lot of leagues — not only in Premier League, in Italy, Spain, everywhere — and we keep hearing this (racism),” said Pogba.

“We are just football players, we want to enjoy that. The fans needs to enjoy coming and seeing some nice football and that’s it.”

AFP

Pogba Is ‘Best Midfielder In The World,’ Says Solskjaer

 

Manchester United’s Paul Pogba (L) fights for the ball with Leeds United’s Adam Forshaw (R) during their pre-season friendly football match at Optus Stadium in Perth on July 17, 2019.
TONY ASHBY / AFP

 

The World Cup winner was in action for United for the first time since late September as a substitute in their chastening 2-0 defeat at Watford on Sunday.

He could be in the starting team against Newcastle on Thursday as Solskjaer desperately seeks the creativity the team needs to break down stubborn opposition defences.

“Let’s see how he reacts to this, how he feels,” said Solskjaer. “He did really well when he came on. Big, big plus and it might be that we do get him in from the start.”

Pogba, who had only played twice since the end of August due to an ankle injury, was introduced on Sunday with United already trailing by two goals and went close to scoring during a late attacking flurry from the visitors.

“He can play anywhere, he can play the whole midfield,” said Solskjaer.

“He’s a box-to-box midfielder. He can drop deep, get it, play long passes. He can get it higher up and combine like he did today.”

“That’s the beauty of having Paul because he is the best all-round midfielder in the world,” added the United boss, who has said the 26-year-old will not be leaving in the January transfer window despite links with Real Madrid.

– Reaction –

Solskjaer said he was looking for a reaction from his players against Newcastle after United again failed to turn dominance of possession into a positive result at Watford.

“One of the good things about the team this year, we have reacted after bad results,” he said.

“We haven’t kept the consistency as we would have liked the other way but we’ve never gone on a big (bad) run like we did towards the end of last season so there will be a reaction, definitely.”

United are struggling in eighth place in the Premier League, seven points behind fourth-placed Chelsea despite recent morale-boosting wins against Tottenham and Manchester City.

Solskjaer admitted progress had been slower than expected but said he was focused on developing a team that could dominate and break sides down.

“It’s taken Liverpool a few years to get to that stage and we need to keep on building because that’s what we want to get to,” he said.

“Yes, we’re good at counter-attacking. Yes, we’ve got pace and fast players. We should always keep that because that’s in our tradition. Now we need to be better at breaking lower blocks.”

AFP

Watford Upset Man United At Vicarage Road

Watford’s Senegalese midfielder Ismaila Sarr (C) celebrates with teammates after scoring the opening goal of the English Premier League football match between Watford and Manchester United at Vicarage Road Stadium in Watford, north of London on December 22, 2019.
DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP

 

Manchester United collapsed to a humiliating 2-0 defeat against Premier League bottom side Watford on Sunday after a David de Gea howler, bringing their recent revival to a shuddering halt.

Not even the returning Paul Pogba, on as a second-half substitute, could save his misfiring team, who again struggled to impose themselves against one of the league’s lesser lights.

The key moment in the match came in the 50th minute when De Gea somehow allowed a tame, spinning effort from Ismaila Sarr to creep through his hands and in at the near post.

READ ALSO: Oshoala, Osimhen, Chukwueze Make Final List Of 2019 CAF Awards

Watford doubled their lead four minutes later when Troy Deeney fired home from the penalty spot after the otherwise impressive Aaron Wan-Bissaka brought down Sarr with a misjudged sliding tackle.

Nigel Pearson coaxed a battling performance from Watford in his first home game in charge and they deservedly won just their second league match of the season to give themselves hope of survival.

There was no hint of the drama to come in a largely uneventful first half.

Anthony Martial scuffed a shot wide as United, backed by vocal away support, enjoyed the bulk of early possession while Watford looked a threat when they came forward.

The home side had the ball in the net, but the goal was ruled out for a foul on De Gea.

United continued to probe, looking for openings against an organised Watford team but struggled to find the attacking threat they had shown in recent wins against Tottenham and Manchester City.

They looked certain to take the lead in the 34th minute Jesse Lingard was clean through on goal but the midfielder’s chip landed on the roof of Ben Foster’s net.

Towards the end of the first half, Watford enjoyed a sustained spell of possession but the teams went in at 0-0.

But the game slipped from United’s grasp early in the second half.

Will Hughes sent a free-kick into the area and the ball fell to Sarr, who did not hit it cleanly but somehow the ball wriggled through De Gea’s gloves.

United did not properly recover before Wan-Bissaka’s foul enabled Deeney to make it 2-0 from the penalty spot.

Solskjaer threw on Mason Greenwood, Pogba and Juan Mata in a desperate search for some inspiration.

Harry Maguire headed straight at Watford goalkeeper Ben Foster and Foster then palmed away a Pogba shot.

But they could not find a way through and will head north for Christmas in low spirits.

United have notched up some memorable results against the traditional top clubs this season, beating Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester City and drawing against Liverpool.

But they have struggled badly against some of the sides lower down the table and this result could be potentially fatal in their bid for a top-four spot.

The win for Watford lifts them to 12 points, level with 19th-placed Norwich, but still six points from safety.

AFP

Pogba Is Going Nowhere, Says Solskjaer

 

Manchester United’s French midfielder Paul Pogba  AFP

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said Friday that French World Cup-winning midfielder Paul Pogba will not leave the club in the January transfer window.

The 26-year-old — persistently linked with Real Madrid — has only played two matches for United since the end of August due to an ankle injury and speculation has been growing that he would not play for the club again.

Pogba, whose return was delayed by a mystery illness despite him being seen dancing at his brother Florentin’s wedding last weekend, admitted in the summer he was looking for a new challenge, but that will not be in January according to Solskjaer.

“Paul is not getting sold in January, no,” he told reporters at a press conference ahead of Sunday’s Premier League match at Watford.

“I understand the interest. Paul is a fantastic player and a charismatic personality and we’re happy that he is here.”

Pogba has missed 26 of a possible 28 matches for club and country this autumn and United have missed his midfield dynamism.

Solskajer has always maintained Pogba — who has 18 months remaining on his contract — would make it back before the end of the year and he has now returned to first-team training.

But for the Norwegian, the most important thing is to reincorporate a fully fit and firing Pogba into his youthful team.

“When he comes back, we want him to play well, play with a smile on his face and do what he did a year ago when I came in,” said Solskjaer.

“His form was fantastic and it has been fantastic. We know we have one of the best players in the world when he’s fit and playing well.

“Of course he needs time to get fit, but he will make a difference for us.

“I still hope he can play by the end of the year, but let’s see how he feels. We are not going to push him. We need him to be 100% fit. I can’t risk any setbacks.”

Solskjaer also denied suggestions that Norway striker Erling Braut Haaland was on his way to United for talks over a possible January move to Old Trafford.

There were reports in his homeland that the Red Bull Salzburg player had boarded a flight from the Norwegian city of Stavanger to Manchester on Friday morning.

Haaland is one of the most-sought after players in Europe after a sensational six months in Austria.

The Norwegian, son of former Leeds and Manchester City player Alf-Inge Haaland, himself a former international team-mate of Solskjaer, has scored 28 goals in 22 matches, with five hat-tricks, including eight in six in the Champions League.

He met with Solskjaer in Salzburg last week, but the United manager was adamant Haaland’s travel plans did not involve a return meeting in Manchester.

“I don’t think he’s en route here, to be fair,” he said.

“Not through me anyway!

“He is not coming to Manchester. I know the boy and I know his friends and he’s on a Christmas holiday.

“You can’t fly anywhere from Stavanger without going via somewhere else.”

AFP

 

Pogba, De Gea To Miss Liverpool Clash Due To Injury

 

Manchester United’s hopes of upsetting the odds against Premier League leaders Liverpool on Sunday suffered a fresh blow as manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer confirmed both Paul Pogba and David de Gea will miss the clash at Old Trafford through injury.

De Gea pulled up with a muscle problem during Spain’s 1-1 draw away to Sweden in qualifying for Euro 2020 on Tuesday and is expected to be sidelined for a few weeks.

“David needs a scan,” Solskjaer told Sky Sports. “I think he’ll be out.”

Pogba was absent for France during the international break due to the recurrence of an ankle problem that has seen him start just once in the Premier League since August.

The World Cup winner played 90 minutes against Rochdale in the League Cup and Arsenal last month, but missed United’s latest defeat at Newcastle just before the international break.

“He came back and played a couple of games, maybe played through the pain barrier,” added Solskjaer.

“He had a scan after the Arsenal game and maybe needed a few weeks’ rest in a boot, so hopefully he won’t be too long, but he won’t make this game, no.”

Solskjaer is, though, hopeful that Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Anthony Martial will make their return from injury against Liverpool, even if they are not yet fit enough to play 90 minutes.

“Hopefully Aaron and Anthony will last through the training this week and be available for selection. If it’s for half a game or 30 minutes, I don’t know, but let’s see where they’re at,” said Solskjaer.

AFP

Pogba Out Of United’s Clash With Liverpool

 

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has admitted midfield star Paul Pogba will miss Sunday’s Premier League clash with bitter rivals Liverpool while goalkeeper David De Gea is also a major injury doubt.

French World Cup winner Pogba, 26, has failed to recover from an ankle problem while De Gea was forced off in Spain’s Euro 2020 qualifier against Sweden on Tuesday.

“Paul had an injury, he came back, he worked really hard. He played a couple of games, maybe played through the pain barrier,” Solskjaer told Sky Sports.

“He had a scan after the Arsenal game and maybe needed a few weeks’ rest in a boot so hopefully he won’t be too long, but he won’t make this game, no.”

On De Gea, the United manager added: “I think he’ll be out.”

United are currently struggling down in 12th place in the table ahead of Sunday’s match at Old Trafford against leaders Liverpool.

They have just nine points, 15 behind Liverpool who boast a perfect record of 24 points from eight games.

AFP

Pogba Misses Training For France Euro 2020 Qualifiers

Manchester United’s Paul Pogba

 

Manchester United’s Paul Pogba will miss Monday’s French team training session for their upcoming Euro-2020 qualifiers, coach Didier Deschamps said Monday.

Pogba “has an ankle problem” following United’s 1-1 draw at Southampton on Saturday.

“He is having tests in Manchester and I am waiting for the results,” Deschamps said at the French training centre.

He said he had been told that Pogba would not appear for the 5:00 pm (1500 GMT) session.

France play Albania on Saturday and Andorra the following Tuesday in Euro 2020 qualifying.

AFP

Twitter, United To Meet Over Pogba’s Abuse

Manchester United’s French midfielder Paul Pogba/ AFP

 

Twitter have reacted to calls for more to be done in preventing racist abuse of footballers on social media platforms by agreeing to meet with representatives of Manchester United they announced on Wednesday.

United executives were keen for a meeting with Twitter after their French World Cup winning midfielder Paul Pogba was the victim of abuse following his penalty miss in Monday’s 1-1 draw with Wolverhampton Wanderers.

His team-mate Harry Maguire demanded that Twitter and Instagram be more proactive in stopping “pathetic trolls”. England women’s football manager Phil Neville said football players should boycott social media.

Pogba was the third footballer to suffer racial abuse in a week for missing a penalty — the others being Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham and second tier side Reading’s Yakou Meite.

“Over the next few weeks, Twitter representatives will meet with Manchester United, Kick It Out (anti-discrimination organisation within football) and any other civil society stakeholders interested in hearing about the proactive work Twitter is doing to address online racist abuse towards certain footballers in the UK,” Twitter said in a statement.

“We have always maintained an open and healthy dialogue with our partners in this space, but we know we need to do more to protect our users. Racist behaviour has no place on our platform and we strongly condemn it.

“To this end, we look forward to working more closely with our partners to develop shared solutions together. In the meantime, for Twitter’s part, we will continue to proactively monitor the conversation, and take aggressive enforcement action when content violates our Rules.”

Twitter rules prohibit users from promoting violence against, threatening or harassing people on the basis of race, ethnicity or other protected groups.

Since 2018, it has increased the number of accounts suspended for evading a previous ban on the service by 45% and tripled the number of accounts suspended within 24 hours after receiving a report.

AFP

Maguire Calls For Social Media Clampdown Over Pogba’s Racist Abuse

 

Manchester United defender Harry Maguire called on social media giants Twitter and Instagram to be more pro-active to stop “pathetic trolls” after teammate Paul Pogba became the latest player to suffer racist abuse online.

Pogba was targeted after his penalty was saved in United’s 1-1 draw at Wolves on Monday just days after Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham suffered similar abuse.

“Disgusting. Social media need to do something about it,” Maguire, the world’s most expensive defender after an £80 million ($97 million) move from Leicester earlier this month, posted on Twitter.

“Every account that is opened should be verified by a passport/driving licence. Stop these pathetic trolls making numerous accounts to abuse people. @Twitter @instagram.”

United said they were “disgusted” by the abuse and “utterly condemn” it.

“The individuals who expressed these views do not represent the values of our great club and it is encouraging to see the vast majority of our fans condemn this on social media also,” the club said in a statement.

“Manchester United has zero-tolerance of any form of racism or discrimination and a long-standing commitment to campaigning against it through our #AllRedAllEqual initiative.

“We will work to identify the few involved in these incidents and take the strongest course of action available to us. We also encourage social media companies to take action in these cases.”

Many commentators argued that Pogba should have let Marcus Rashford take the vital penalty at Molineux after the England international scored from the spot against Chelsea on the opening weekend of the season.

However, Rashford also showed his public support for Pogba.

“Manchester United is a family. @paulpogba is a huge part of that family. You attack him you attack us all…” said Rashford.

As well as Abraham, Championship side Reading’s Yakou Meite have suffered similar abuse in the past week.

Anti-discrimination charity “Kick It Out” published a report in July that stated incidents of racist abuse increased by 43 per cent last season.

“The number of posts such as these since the start of the season further highlights how discriminatory abuse online is out of control,” the body said on Tuesday.

“Without immediate and the strongest possible action, these cowardly acts will continue to grow.”

Abraham missed the final penalty in a shootout as Chelsea lost to Liverpool in the UEFA Super Cup last Wednesday. The posts aimed at him were described as “abhorrent” by Chelsea and manager Frank Lampard said he was “disgusted”.

Lampard also called for social media sites to do more to prevent players from being abused while Abraham has said he wants to “silence the haters” with his performances on the pitch.

Chelsea banned a supporter for life in July for racially abusing Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling last season.

Five others were excluded for periods of between one and two years for abusive language.

Ivory Coast international Meite missed a penalty in time added on for Reading on Sunday against Cardiff but his side had the match already wrapped up at 3-0.

Some of the tweets aimed at Pogba were later deleted while several accounts appeared to have been taken down.

Twitter’s terms and conditions say it “takes action against behaviour that targets individuals with hateful conduct”.

AFP