France Midfielder Pogba Ruled Out Of World Cup

This file photo taken on March 25, 2019, shows France’s midfielder Paul Pogba celebrates after France’s win of the UEFA Euro 2020 Group H qualification football match between France and Iceland at the Stade de France stadium in Saint-Denis, north of Paris.  FRANCK FIFE / AFP

 

Paul Pogba will miss France’s World Cup defence as he needs more time to recover from knee surgery, his agent announced on Monday.

“Following yesterday and today’s medical review in Torino and Pittsburgh, it is extremely painful to inform Paul Pogba will still need recovery time from his surgery,” said Rafaela Pimenta in a statement.

“For this reason, Paul will not be able to join Juventus’ squad before the World Cup break nor the French National Team in Qatar.”

Juve coach Massimiliano Allegri had already said on Friday that it was “very unlikely” that the 29-year-old midfielder would play for his team before Serie A breaks up for the World Cup.

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Italian media reported earlier on Monday that Pogba could be out for around 15 days with a thigh injury.

“Paul Pogba, in light of the recent radiological examinations performed… and the consultation carried out in Pittsburgh by Prof. Volker Musahl on the evaluation of his knee, needs to continue his rehabilitation program,” Juve said in a statement.

Pogba is one of 12 Juve players currently out of action.

He hasn’t played for Juve since re-signing for them from Manchester United in the summer, hurting the meniscus in his right knee in July.

He initially elected not to go under the knife in a bid to make the Qatar tournament which kicks off on November 20.

However, after returning to training early last month Pogba changed his mind and opted for surgery, which kept him on the sidelines until two weeks ago when he recommenced partial training with Juve.

Pogba was a key member of the France team that won the World Cup in Russia four years ago. He scored in the 4-2 victory over Croatia in the final.

His absence from Didier Deschamps’ squad adds to that of midfield partner N’Golo Kante, who has been ruled out for four months following surgery on a hamstring injury.

The 31-year-old Kante had not featured for Chelsea since limping off against Tottenham in August.

Missing the World Cup is another blow in what has been a hard year for Pogba, who is also embroiled in an alleged extortion plot involving his own brother.

Mathias Pogba, 32, was charged last month along with four other people, all close to the World Cup winner who filed a complaint with Turin prosecutors in July which said he was being blackmailed for 13 million euros ($12.6 mn).

Paul Pogba told investigators that his blackmailers wanted to discredit him by claiming he asked a witch doctor to cast a spell on Paris Saint-Germain and France star Kylian Mbappe, which Pogba denies.

AFP

Pogba’s Brother, 3 Others Detained In Extortion Case

 

French authorities have detained the elder brother of Paul Pogba, Mathias, and three others in an investigation into the extortion alleged by the France national team and Juventus football star, sources close to the case said Wednesday.

Mathias Pogba presented himself “early afternoon to investigators and was placed in police custody”, said one of the legal sources who asked not to be named.

Among the four suspects detained in total in the probe, one was taken into custody on Tuesday and three on Wednesday, a judicial source added.

Mathias Pogba has earlier denied any involvement in extortion reported by his World Cup-winning footballer brother Paul.

Mathias’s denial in a statement issued by his lawyer, Richard Arbib, comes after he published a bizarre video online on August 27 — in four languages (French, Italian, English and Spanish) — promising “great revelations” about the Juventus star.


READ ALSO: Judge Orders Retrial Of Ex-Man Utd Star Giggs


Paul Pogba says he is the victim of a multi-million euro blackmail plot by gangsters involving his brother.

According to two sources close to the Pogba family contacted by AFP, large sums of money are being demanded from Paul Pogba if he wants to avoid the dissemination of allegedly compromising videos.

Mathias, though, is adamant he is an innocent party.

“Taking into account how the affair has evolved and the huge media attention surrounding it, Mathias Pogba strongly insists he knows nothing about any extortion attempt against his brother, Paul Pogba,” read the statement.

“It is clear that the difficulties the Pogba family are experiencing are the result of outside threats which the justice authorities, who are already involved, will evaluate.

“Mathias Pogba, who wishes above all to calm the situation with his brother, will from now on only speak with the investigating magistrates, should it be necessary.”

Two investigating magistrates have been appointed to lead the probe, it was announced last week.

Based on the findings of a preliminary investigation launched last month , they will examine allegations — for now against persons unknown — including blackmail by an armed gang, kidnapping and membership of a criminal conspiracy.

Paul Pogba told investigators that his blackmailers wanted to discredit him by claiming he asked a marabout (holy man) to cast a spell on the Paris Saint-Germain and France star Kylian Mbappe, which Pogba denies.

The investigation is handled jointly by the French police’s anti-gang and central crime units.

Several people, including Pogba’s mother, have already been interviewed by police, a judiciary source told AFP.

Mbappe Dismisses Rift Talk With France Teammate Pogba Over Blackmail Affair

In this file photo, France’s forward Kylian Mbappe (L) celebrates with France’s midfielder Paul Pogba after scoring the opening goal during an international friendly football match between Russia and France at the Saint Petersburg Stadium in Saint Petersburg on March 27, 2018. FRANCK FIFE / AFP

 

Kylian Mbappe on Monday played down suggestions that his relationship with Paul Pogba could be impacted after his name came up in a blackmail affair engulfing his France teammate.

Pogba says he is the victim of a multi-million euro blackmail plot to discredit him by claiming he asked a witch doctor to cast a spell on Mbappe.

The claims about the witch doctor were revealed publicly by Pogba’s elder brother Mathias.

Paul Pogba, who left Manchester United in the close season to return to former club Juventus, denies the accusation.

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“No because today as things stand I prefer to believe what my teammate says,” Paris Saint-Germain star Mbappe said when asked if there might be a problem with Pogba.

Mbappe was speaking at a press conference ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League game between PSG and Pogba’s Juventus in Paris.

“He called me and gave me his version of events. It is his word against his brother’s word. I am going to trust my teammate,” Mbappe said of his fellow 2018 World Cup winner.

“I think it’s in the interests of the national team as well with a big tournament coming up.

“At the moment he already has certain problems and now is not the time to add to those problems.

“We’ll see what happens but I am quite detached from all that.”

A criminal investigation was launched in France last week into the affair.

Based on the findings of a preliminary investigation last month it will examine allegations — for now against persons unknown — including blackmail by an armed gang, kidnapping and membership of a criminal conspiracy.

Pogba is sidelined for Juve’s clash with PSG on Tuesday and faces a battle to be fit for France’s defence of the World Cup trophy in Qatar starting in November.

He is currently recovering from a knee injury.

AFP

France Launches Criminal Probe Into Pogba Extortion Claims

Mathias Pogba is linked with blackmailing his younger brother , Paul
In this file photo taken on December 29, 2019, the Pogba brothers, Manchester United and France midfielder Paul Pogba (C), Atlanta United defender Florentin Pogba (L), and CD Manchego midfielder Mathias Pogba (R), pose prior to a gala football match between All-Star France and Guinea at the Vallee du Cher Stadium in Tours, central France, as part of the “48h for Guinea” charity event. Photo by GUILLAUME SOUVANT / AFP) /

 

France on Friday launched a criminal investigation into claims by World Cup winner Paul Pogba that he is the victim of a multi-million euro blackmail plot by gangsters involving his brother, the Paris prosecutor said.

Two investigating magistrates have been appointed to lead the probe, prosecutor Laure Beccuau said in a statement.

Based on the findings of a preliminary investigation launched last month it will examine allegations — for now against persons unknown — including blackmail by an armed gang, kidnapping, and membership of a criminal conspiracy, she said, confirming a weekend statement from a judicial source.

Pogba’s allegations came after his brother Mathias published a bizarre video online — in four languages (French, Italian, English, and Spanish) — promising “great revelations” about the Juventus star.

According to two sources close to the Pogba family contacted by AFP, large sums of money are being demanded from Paul Pogba if he wants to avoid the dissemination of allegedly compromising videos.

France Info reported that Paul Pogba told investigators he had been threatened by “childhood friends and two hooded men armed with assault rifles”.

They are demanding 13 million euros ($13 million) from him for “services provided”, it said.

Pogba explained to investigators that his blackmailers wanted to discredit him by claiming he asked a marabout (holy man) to cast a spell on the Paris Saint-Germain and France star Kylian Mbappe, which Pogba denies.

The investigation is handled jointly by the French police’s anti-gang and central crime units.

Several people, including Pogba’s mother, have already been interviewed by police, a judiciary source told AFP.

AFP

Pogba To Leave Manchester United

Manchester United’s French midfielder Paul Pogba applauds the fans at the end of the English Premier League football match between Leicester City and Manchester United at King Power Stadium in Leicester, central England on October 16, 2021. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP)

 

French World Cup-winning midfielder Paul Pogba is to leave Manchester United at the end of June, the club said Wednesday, bringing the curtain down on a largely disappointing second spell.

The 29-year-old’s departure at the end of his contract will see United recoup none of the then record £89 million ($112 million) he cost them when they bought him from Juventus in 2016.

However, new United manager Erik ten Hag has clearly decided Pogba’s chances at the club have come and gone.

A second spell at Juventus — where he won four Serie A titles — may well be on Pogba’s menu as Italian media have suggested he has given a verbal agreement to return and accepted a lower salary.

French champions Paris Saint-Germain have also been mentioned as a possibility as they are due for an overhaul and built round his fellow World Cup winner Kylian Mbappe.

Ten Hag wishes to refresh a side that has seen their city rivals Manchester City become the powerhouse they once were under Alex Ferguson. United have rarely threatened to repeat those days since he retired in 2013.

Pogba flourished initially under Jose Mourinho — who also brought in the since departed Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Romelu Lukaku — and was part of the sides that won the League Cup and Europa League in 2017.

His subsequent performances rarely matched those he produced for France in their 2018 World Cup campaign.

He did show glimpses of his abundant talent especially in their run to the 2021 Europa League final — scoring goals against AC Milan and Roma in the knockout stages.

However, he was then anonymous in the final as United lost to Villarreal on penalties.

Fitness problems limited him to 27 appearances last season in an unimpressive campaign for both player and club as United had to be content with a Europa League spot.

The fans had lost patience with his inconsistent displays and booed him off the pitch when he was substituted in a victory over Norwich in April.

“The club can announce that Paul Pogba will leave Manchester United at the end of June, upon the expiry of his contract,” read the club statement.

“The last of his 233 United games ended in the 10th minute of a defeat at Anfield in April 2022.

“It was a low-key end to a United career that brought so many individual high moments.

“So many beautiful goals, assists and pieces of skill.

“For a boy that joined the Academy at 16 to make over 200 United appearances and lift the Youth Cup, along with two major pieces of silverware, is something that should be applauded and celebrated.”

Pogba Plays Down Ruediger ‘Bite’ At Euro 2020

Manchester United’s French midfielder Paul Pogba warms up ahead of the English Premier League football match between West Ham United and Manchester United at The London Stadium, in east London on December 5, 2020. Justin Setterfield / POOL / AFP

 

France midfielder Paul Pogba has played down Antonio Ruediger’s apparent attempted bite on his back during the world champions’ Euro 2020 win over Germany.

Television replays showed Chelsea defender Ruediger putting his mouth on Pogba’s shoulder just before half-time in France’s 1-0 win over Germany in Munich on Tuesday.

Immediately after the incident, Pogba cried out and complained to Spanish referee Carlos del Cerro Grande, who did not punish the German, and the Manchester United star played it down after the game.

“I think he nibbled at me a little bit, but we’ve known each other for a long time. Toni and I are friends. It was nothing big. We hugged after the game and it’s over,” Pogba said.

Pogba, the man of the match in Munich, said it was “better” that Ruediger escaped punishment.

“I don’t want him to be suspended because of that,” said the Frenchman, who played a key role in the build-up to Mats Hummels’ ultimately decisive own goal.

Pogba said he told the referee what happened but was glad there was no “yellow or red card for such an incident”.

In the build-up to the match, Champions League winner Ruediger had said the Germans would need to “be a little dirty” against the French.

AFP

Solskjaer Defends Pogba, Diallo Over Displaying Palestinian Flag

Manchester United’s Norwegian manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (R) consoles Manchester United’s French midfielder Paul Pogba (L) on the pitch after the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Liverpool at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on May 13, 2021. Liverpool won the game 4-2.
Michael Regan / POOL / AF

 

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer defended Paul Pogba and Amad Diallo for holding up a Palestine flag after Tuesday’s match with Fulham, saying they have a “right to have a different view.”

United midfielder Pogba appeared to be given the flag by a fan as the players made their way around the pitch during the traditional lap of honour after the 1-1 draw in the club’s last home game of the Premier League season.

French World Cup winner Pogba and Ivorian winger Diallo, who are both Muslim, displayed the flag in support of Palestine, with around 10,000 fans at Old Trafford watching on after coronavirus restrictions were lifted.

“We have players from different backgrounds, different cultures, different countries and we need to respect their views if they differ from someone else’s,” said Solskjaer.

“If my players think about other things than football, that’s a positive thing.

“We have seen that with some of my players before, that they do care. You see Marcus Rashford, for example, the difference he has made.

“So, no, we respect their right to have a different view.”

Israel’s bombing campaign on Gaza has killed at least 219 Palestinians, including 63 children, in over a week of fighting against Islamist group Hamas, according to the territory’s health ministry in Gaza.

Palestinian rocket fire has killed 12 people in Israel, Israeli police said.

Pogba and Diallo are the latest footballers to show their support for the Palestinians.

English midfielder Hamza Choudhury and French defender Wesley Fofana held a Palestinian flag on the pitch at Wembley after Leicester’s 1-0 win over Chelsea in the FA Cup final at Wembley on Saturday.

A social media post from Arsenal midfielder Mohamed Elneny showing his support for the Palestinian people has been hit by a backlash from Jewish fans.

The Egyptian posted on his Twitter account: “My heart and my soul and my support for you Palestine.”

Arsenal confirmed to Sky Sports that they have spoken with Elneny after concerns about the post were raised by one of the club’s sponsors, coffee maker Lavazza.

-AFP

‘He Won’t Go Against The Players’ – Pogba Compares Solskjaer’s Man-Management To Mourinho’s

 

Manchester United’s French midfielder Paul Pogba warms up ahead of the English Premier League football match between West Ham United and Manchester United at The London Stadium, in east London on December 5, 2020.
Justin Setterfield / POOL / AFP

 

Rejuvenated Manchester United star Paul Pogba has criticized former boss Jose Mourinho on his man management techniques, accusing him of leaving players dejected for no reason.

Pogba and Mourinho had a somewhat torrid relationship when the Portuguese controlled the reins at Old Trafford.

With the see saw performance exhibited by the Frenchman and continued criticism from former club legends, the situation worsened to the point that the Portuguese stripped Pogba of the captain’s arm band.

In an interview with Skysports, the French midfielder was full of praise for the current boss, Ole -Gunner Solskjaer and his role in making the team a strong unit.

“What I have now with Ole is different, he wouldn’t go against the players,” the former world cup winner said when asked about this relationship with the current boss.

“He wouldn’t go against the players… Maybe Ole wouldn’t pick them, but it’s not like he puts them on the side like they don’t exist anymore. That’s the difference between Mourinho and Ole.”

The 28-year-old seemed befuddled on how things went sour between he and the current Tottenham boss.

 

Mourinho and Pogba pictured in Champions League action. AFP

 

“Once I had a great relationship with Mourinho, everybody saw that, and the next day you don’t know what happened. That’s the strange thing I had with Mourinho and I cannot explain to you because even I don’t know. So, yeah,” he stated.

Pogba, whose future at Old Trafford still remains a doubt, believes Mourinho was his usual coy self in evading reality and refusing to admit defeat by criticising Solskjaer’s post-match comments

“If you have to steal to feed your kids, you steal. I am very, very disappointed, and like we say in Portugal bread is bread and cheese is cheese, I told Ole already what I think about his comments” when asked on his thoughts about Mourinho’s jibe at Ole.

“We won the game, he lost the game and he doesn’t want to speak about the game, he wants to speak about the dad of someone, that’s what he does. Everybody knows him, it’s very Mourinho.

 

Paul Pogba and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. AFP

 

Continuing in his praise for the Norwegian, Pogba stated he and once out of favour team mate Luke Shaw have thrived under the current leadership due to his approach

“Maybe [Solskjaer’s methods work] because he is a bit closer to the people,” he said.

“Ole has helped Luke a lot, it was a difficult season with Luke and Mourinho, and he has proved he has the quality he always had and the trust of the manager.”

Pogba will be hoping to close the gap on  Manchester City when his side take on Burnley on Sunday.

I Am Always Happy When I Win – Pogba

Manchester United’s French midfielder Paul Pogba (C) celebrates scoring the opening goal during the English Premier League football match between Burnley and Manchester United at Turf Moor in Burnley, north west England on January 12, 2021. Clive Brunskill / POOL / AFP

 

Paul Pogba said he is “always happy” when he is winning after scoring the only goal in a 1-0 victory at Burnley that took Manchester United top of the Premier League for the first time in three years on Tuesday.

Despite continued speculation over his future, Pogba has played an increasingly important role in recent weeks to aid United’s first serious title challenge since legendary former manager Alex Ferguson retired in 2013.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men now lead defending champions Liverpool by three points ahead of a top-of-the-table clash between the two most successful sides in English football history at Anfield on Sunday.

“I’m always happy when I win,” said Pogba, who has been consistently linked with a move away from Old Trafford at the end of the season.

“I’m happy we are playing well and happy we are at the top, but there is a long way to go and we have big games coming up.”

READ ALSO: [FA Cup] Manchester United To Face Liverpool

United have now taken 29 from the last possible 33 points to recover from just two wins in their opening six games of the season.

The signing of Bruno Fernandes shortly after Burnley won 2-0 at Old Trafford nearly a year ago in the last meeting between the sides has transformed United’s fortunes.

And if Pogba can finally produce consistent displays worthy of the then world-record fee United paid for the Frenchman in 2016, there is a reason for Solskjaer to believe he can end the club’s eight-year wait for a league title.

“I’ve always said Paul is a big, big player for us,” added Solskjaer. “He is a good character in the dressing room, he is always one the lads look to (because) he’s a world champion.

“We are seeing the best of Paul at the moment. He’s getting better and better every game.”

The manner of victory against a Burnley side that had not lost at home since October also suggests United have the ability of champions to grind out a result when they need to.

Manchester United’s French midfielder Paul Pogba is mobbed by teammates after scoring the opening goal during the English Premier League football match between Burnley and Manchester United at Turf Moor in Burnley, north west England on January 12, 2021. Clive Brunskill / POOL / AFP

 

The first-half was dominated by controversy over a series of VAR reviews as both sides escaped without having a man sent-off for challenges by Luke Shaw and Robbie Brady, while United had a goal harshly ruled out for a slight push by Harry Maguire when he powered home a header at the back post.

The visitors upped the pressure in the second half and got their reward 19 minutes from time when Pogba’s volley from Marcus Rashford’s cross deflected off Matt Lowton and through the legs of Nick Pope to head to Anfield leading Liverpool.

“We couldn’t be going there at a better time to play them,” added Solskjaer. “We are in good shape, good form, hungry, these boys want to get better and that’s a test again.”

– Everton win at Wolves –
Everton moved back into the top four and within four points of United as they overcame an injury crisis to beat Wolves 2-1 at Molineux.

Carlo Ancelotti was forced to start without a recognised striker without Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison only fit enough for a place on the bench.

The Toffees took an early lead when Alex Iwobi converted Lucas Digne’s cross but were pegged back when Ruben Neves levelled for Wolves.

Michael Keane’s towering header won the game 13 minutes from time to bolster the Blues’ European ambitions.

“We adapted really well to the characteristics of the players we had,” said Ancelotti.

At the other end of the table, Sheffield United ended a 20-game winless league run as Billy Sharp’s penalty earned a 1-0 victory over 10-man Newcastle.

The Blades still face an uphill task to haul themselves off the bottom of the table as they sit nine points adrift of safety.

But Chris Wilder’s men ensured they will not set an unwanted record by going a full top-flight season without a win thanks to another night to forget for Newcastle.

“It looked like we got our identity back,” said Wilder. “It was us with the handbrake off, going for it and playing well in and out of possession.”

The Magpies could yet find themselves dragged into a relegation battle as they remain eight points above the drop zone in 15th, but have played two games more than Fulham in 18th.

AFP

‘The Squad Is Fine’: Solskjaer Refuses To Blame Champions League Exit On Pogba Disruption

Manchester United's Portuguese midfielder Bruno Fernandes (R) reacts next to Leipzig's Hungarian goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi holding the ball as Leipzig's Hungarian defender Willi Orban lays on the ground during the UEFA Champions League Group H football match RB Leipzig v Manchester United in Leipzig, eastern Germany, on December 8, 2020. Odd ANDERSEN / AFP / POOL
Manchester United’s Portuguese midfielder Bruno Fernandes (R) reacts next to Leipzig’s Hungarian goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi holding the ball as Leipzig’s Hungarian defender Willi Orban lays on the ground during the UEFA Champions League Group H football match RB Leipzig v Manchester United in Leipzig, eastern Germany, on December 8, 2020. Odd ANDERSEN / AFP / POOL

 

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer refused to blame claims that Paul Pogba is “unhappy” for their Champions League exit after a 3-2 defeat at RB Leipzig.

United were punished for a slow start, conceding early goals by Manchester City loanee Angelino and Amadou Haidara before Justin Kluivert put Leipzig 3-0 up midway through the second half.

United pulled back goals in the final ten minutes as Pogba came on to score a late header to make it 3-2 after Bruno Fernandes converted a penalty.

In the build-up, Pogba’s agent Mino Raiola said the World Cup-winning France midfielder, 27, is “unhappy” and needs a “change of scene” after struggling to establish himself under Solskjaer.

READ ALSO: Ronaldo Scores Twice As Juventus Beat Messi’s Barcelona

Solksjaer gave a terse answer when asked if Raiola’s comments had unsettled his side.

“The squad is fine, they are a team and they stick together, as soon as Paul’s agent realises it’s a team sport and we work together, the better,” he said.

“That is the last thing I want to say about it,” Solksjaer replied when asked if he had spoken to Pogba about Raiola’s comments.

Manchester United’s Norwegian manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (R) brings on Manchester United’s French midfielder Paul Pogba during the UEFA Champions League Group H football match RB Leipzig v Manchester United in Leipzig, eastern Germany, on December 8, 2020. Odd ANDERSEN / AFP

 

Instead, the Norwegian blamed the defeat on his side’s lethargic start.

“We didn’t perform well enough as a team,” he said.

“We knew they would come at us and put crosses in the box and, unfortunately, we conceded two goals and never got going.

“We just didn’t turn up until they scored the second goal – then we started playing.”

He praised his team’s fightback.

“They gave their all, I can’t fault anyone’s effort and we were close to getting the third, which would have been an achievement against a good Leipzig side,” he added.

The 47-year-old said he needed to cure United of their habit of beginning slowly in European games.

“We didn’t start until it was 2-0, which is something we need to address again, we need to manage that better,” Solskjaer added.

United face a Manchester derby at the weekend.

“As a footballer you can’t feel sorry for yourself. You can do for a few minutes tonight, but that’s it. We have a massive game on Saturday and we need to focus on that.”

Leipzig avenged their 5-0 thrashing against Manchester United at Old Trafford in October to the delight of their coach Julian Nagelsmann.

“It wasn’t easy to have had a 5-0 defeat in October, then to have to win the second game to go to the knock-out stage,” said Nagelsmann who steered Leipzig to the semi-finals last season.

“We got the win today and I think it’s deserved.”

AFP

Pogba To Take Legal Action After ‘Fake News’ France Retirement Rumours

File photo: 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’s Paul Pogba said on Monday he will be “taking legal action” after reports claimed he had retired from international duty in protest against French President Emmanuel Macron’s comments about radical Islam.

According to reports in the Middle East picked up by British tabloid The Sun, World Cup winner Pogba wanted to end his international career after Macron vowed to take the fight to Islamic radicals after the October 16 beheading of history teacher Samuel Paty.

“I am appalled, angry, shocked and frustrated some ‘media’ sources use me to make total fake headlines in the sensible subject of French current events and adding my religion and the French National Team to the pot,” Pogba posted on Instagram.

“I am taking legal action against the publishers and spreaders of these 100% Fake News,” he added.

Paty had shown cartoons of the Prophet Mohamed to pupils in a class discussion on free speech in a school near Paris.

Macron’s comments triggered protests in Muslim-majority countries at the weekend, with people burning pictures of Macron in Syria and setting fire to French flags in the Libyan capital Tripoli.

Pogba won the World Cup in Russia in 2018, with Les Bleus’ next fixture a friendly with Finland on November 11 ahead of Nations League meetings with Portugal and Sweden.

United’s next match is Wednesday’s Champions League group game against RB Leipzig at Old Trafford.

AFP

Manchester United Now A ‘Different Team’ – Solskjaer

File photo: Manchester United’s Norwegian caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer gestures at the end of the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Huddersfield Town at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on December 26, 2018. Oli SCARFF / AFP

 

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admitted Manchester United are a “different team” from the sluggish side that started the season after extending an unbeaten run to 17 games with a 3-0 win at Aston Villa.

United became the first team in Premier League history to win four consecutive games by a three-goal margin as Mason Greenwood continued his rise to stardom with another thunderous finish after Bruno Fernandes’s controversial penalty opened the scoring.

Fernandes then teed up Paul Pogba to score his first goal for over a year as United closed to within a point of the top four.

Pogba missed the majority of the season prior to the coronavirus shutdown due to injury, but his return to fitness and the January signing of Fernandes, alongside the emergence of Greenwood, have transformed United’s fortunes.

“He’s a fantastic person, fantastic player, one of the best midfielders in the world,” said Solskjaer on Pogba.

“He’s getting better and better because he’s been out for so long, which is natural.

“You can see he is enjoying himself. The team is a different team to the one he left when he was injured. The focus, the attitude, everything is miles better in that dressing room.”

The impact of the coronavirus outbreak could turn Pogba’s United career around.

Prior to the pandemic, the French World Cup winner seemed set to leave the club for the second time in his career.

But with interest from Real Madrid now unlikely to materialise this summer given the economic impact of the crisis, Solskjaer is hoping to extend Pogba’s contract beyond 2022.

Pogba, meanwhile, wants United to show their form of the last few weeks over the long haul to challenge newly-crowned champions Liverpool and Manchester City for the Premier League title next season.

“We are talking in training that we have to carry on, that’s what Manchester is, it is a big club and the performances the last few weeks are the standard of Manchester,” Pogba told Sky Sports.

“We didn’t win the Premier League, that’s the standard, we didn’t win anything yet so there is a lot of work to do.”

Villa’s winless run stretches to 10 games as Dean Smith’s men remain rooted in the bottom three, four points adrift of safety with just four games to go.

But Smith was furious his gameplan was undone when Fernandes won a penalty despite initiating the contact with Villa right-back Ezri Konsa as he spun just inside the area.

“It unravelled with the first goal,” said Smith. “I can understand (referee) Jon (Moss) getting it wrong but I don’t know what VAR are looking at – it’s a disgraceful decision.

“They have a screen they can go and look at it but they don’t seem to be bothered.”

Fernandes took responsibility from the spot to score his eighth goal for the club.

Greenwood scored powerfully off both feet against Bournemouth at the weekend and showed again why Solskjaer rates him among the best finishers he has ever seen by smashing home his 16th goal of the season on his supposedly weaker right foot just before the break.

United have now scored 14 goals in winning their last four league games and turned on the style after the break.

Pogba was given time to control and measure his shot from Fernandes’s cut-back to arrow the ball into the bottom corner for his first goal since April 2019.

Fernandes then teed up Martial to crash a shot off the underside of the bar and Pepe Reina denied Marcus Rashford from Pogba’s sumptuous pass in stoppage time as United had to settle for three.

“We should have won by five clear goals in all of them!” Solskjaer added when informed of his side setting a new record.