Antonio Conte has revealed that it always was Paul Pogba’s dream to return to Manchester United at some point of time during the duo’s time at Juventus.
Chelsea welcome Manchester United to Old Trafford on Sunday and while all the hype has been focused on Jose Mourinho’s fabled return to Stamford Bridge as a Red Devils’ boss, Antonio Conte’s reunion with his former protege Paul Pogba has seemingly gone under the radar.
The Italian has fond memories of his time at Juventus and spoke of his admiration towards Pogba. The Frenchman was brought in from Old Trafford in 2012 during Conte’s time at Turin and the midfielder has since has seen a meteoric rise in his stocks from an up and coming player to one of the hottest prospects of world football.
It’s his phenomenal growth as a professional that has seen him complete a return to Manchester United on a world-record £89.3 million fee. Speaking about it in the pre-match press conference, Conte revealed that it was Pogba’s dream to secure a return to Old Trafford. He said,”He was born in England, in terms of the football aspect. I remember when we took him from Manchester United.”
“A fantastic player. A great player. He deserves [everything]. For him, to come back in Manchester United was his dream. I wish for him the best, but only after the game on Sunday.”
Pogba impressed in outings for United at the youth level and in the reserves squad and was cited as one of the club’s emerging prospects when he decided to leave in 2012 due to a lack of game-time under Sir Alex Ferguson. Juventus snapped him on the free and his growth ever since has been staggering, to say the least. In 178 games for the Old Lady, the Frenchman scored 34 goals and assisted 43 others all before he even turned 23.
While there will definitely be a lot of mutual respect and goodwill between the two, as Conte pointed out, it is something that’ll be addressed after the showdown at Stamford Bridge on Sunday. Pogba appeared to be in good nick against Fenerbahce and will be confident going into the Chelsea game.
The Blues haven’t particularly done well against the big teams this season, having lost 2-1 and 3-0 to Liverpool and Arsenal respectively. However, it is something Conte wishes to change on Sunday and he has stated that he has no plans to stifle Pogba in particular to achieve those objectives. He said,”We must pay attention to the whole team of Manchester United. In their team there are a lot of great players.”
“One of these is, for sure, [Zlatan] Ibrahimovic. A player I consider a fantastic player. But there are many, many players. We must pay attention, the whole team, together to their type of play and to find the right solution when we have the ball, and when we are without the ball.”