Paul Pogba: A future Ballon d'Or winner?

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Football News

When a club the size of Manchester United lose a player who's only made nine substitute appearances for their first team, fans aren't exactly mourning the loss of a cult hero.

However, in the curious case of Paul Pogba, the Old Trafford club could have missed out on perhaps the best central midfielder of his generation when the Frenchman departed for Juventus in the summer of 2012.

Despite having failed to make a single start during his time in England, Pogba immediately shone in Italy, becoming an integral part of the Juventus midfield alongside Andrea Pirlo and Arturo Vidal.

His progress has continued and earlier this month he was awarded the prestigious Golden Boy award, presented to the best young footballer in Europe and previously won by Wayne Rooney, Mario Balotelli and none other than Lionel Messi.

The next goal for Pogba will be to pick up another individual prize with which Messi has become all too familiar with- the Ballon d'Or.

Lofty ambitions perhaps for a player who has yet to reach double figures for senior international caps, but it's a goal that the midfield general is more than capable of achieving.

Upon his 2012 arrival in Turin, a then 19-year-old Pogba offered something different to a midfield that already boasted supreme passing and vision.

For such a young man his physique was already somewhat incredible. Standing at well over 6ft, he provided an imposing figure for any opposition and had no trouble stepping up to the physical demands of first team football.

With a superb engine to match his frame, the French midfielder provided energy alongside an increasingly immobile, yet permanently class, Pirlo.

However, to liken Pogba to a water-carrier, simply in the team to do the dirty work for others, would be an injustice of immense proportion. 

Few midfielders, his age or older, can match Pogba's passing range, which will only improve as he continues to play alongside Pirlo and Vidal and gains valuable experience both in Serie A and the Champions League.

Worryingly for opposition teams, his passing may not even be his strongest attribute- Google 'Paul Pogba screamer' and you'll see what we're talking about.

The Juve man's long legs enable him to strike a ball with incredible power and unnerving accuracy from anywhere around the box, and sometimes further.

As a midfielder, he'll never score the amount of goals that have clinched the Ballon d'Or for the likes of Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, but he already has five to his name this season, including his first goal for France, meaning he's well on course to hit double figures.

Ironically, former club Manchester United spent the entire summer searching for a midfield man who could provide creativity and goals while also being up to the physicality of the Premier League, eventually plumping for Marouane Fellaini.

Had former boss Sir Alex Ferguson put more faith in a young man plucked from Le Harve in 2009, they may have had exactly what they were looking for right under their noses.

Instead, it's Antonio Conte and Juventus who have the pleasure of watching Paul Pogba develop into one of the world's leading midfielders, and if he continues to progress at the rate he has in recent years, it's likely he'll be the driving force behind France's World Cup hopes next summer.

While Laurent Blanc's men may be unlikely to win the competition next summer, it's only a matter a of time before Pogba is tasting individual success in the form of a nice shiny FIFA Ballon d'Or.


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