Paul Pogba: The Journey to Number One

French soccer player Paul Pogba has been named the world’s most marketable athlete in 2018. Here, SportsPro looks back at some of the major personal milestones that have defined an extraordinary career so far - on and off the field.

Paul Pogba: The Journey to Number One

15th March 1993 The youngest of three sons, Paul Labile Pogba is born in Roissyen- Brie, in the eastern suburbs of Paris, to Guinean parents.

2007 Pogba is lured from youth side US Torcy by French professional outfit Le Havre, where he captains the club’s under-16 team in the Championnat National, gaining recognition with the France junior set-up and attracting the attention of international scouts.

July 2009 Aged 16, Pogba departs Le Havre to join Manchester United’s youth academy amid allegations of illegal solicitation by the Premier League club. A Fifaappointed judge clears United of wrongdoing and the issue is later settled out of court for UK£87,000.

July 2021 Having won the FA Youth Cup a year earlier and broken into the United first-team squad, Pogba refuses to sign a new contract at Old Trafford and instead joins Italian giants Juventus on the advice of his agent, Mino Raiola, for a comparatively measly fee of just UK£800,000.

We had Paul under a three-year contract, and it had a one-year renewal option which we were eager to sign. But Raiola suddenly appeared on the scene and our fi rst meeting was a fi asco. He and I were like oil and water. From then on, our goose was cooked because Raiola had been able to ingratiate himself with Paul and his family and the player signed with Juventus

Former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson reflects on Pogba’s exit

July 2013 Pogba leads a victorious France at the Under-20 World Cup in Turkey, where he is named player of the tournament, before going on to be crowned Europe’s Golden Boy, an award given by a panel of sports journalists to the continent’s top young player.

Jul4 2014 At the age of 21, Pogba is named best young player for his performances at the Brazil 2014 Fifa World Cup. The award augments his growing reputation as a big-game player and prompts Raiola to claim his star client is “worth twice as much as Gareth Bale”, at that time the world’s most expensive player.

January 2016 Having scaled new heights on the field and claimed his third successive Serie A title in 2015, the Juventus midfielder is included in the Fifa FIFPro World XI just days after being named in Uefa’s 2015 Team of the Year.

February 2016 After years resisting the advances of major sportswear brands, Pogba pens a decade-long endorsement deal with Adidas that is rumoured to be worth some UK£31 million (US$40 million). It is his first sponsorship contract.

It was a very important decision for me. I chose Adidas because we are united by our passions and values. We have the same vibes on and off the field. Adidas believes in my dream of leaving a mark on the football world. I hope to leave my imprint and to add something personal and new to this iconic brand

Pogba on his decision to sign with Adidas

July 2016 Pogba helps France to the final of the 2016 Uefa European Championships on home soil, where the favoured hosts are narrowly defeated by a Cristiano Ronaldo-inspired Portugal.

August 2016 #POGBACK is confirmed as Pogba completes his recordbreaking UK£89.3 million (US$113 million) return to Manchester, making him the most expensive player in the history of the game. The move is announced in an ‘accidentally’ leaked music video on Adidas’ offcial Twitter account, with Pogba, clad head to toe in United gear, starring alongside British grime artist and fellow Adidas endorser Stormzy.

June 2017 Weeks after scoring in United’s Uefa Europa League final triumph over Ajax, Pogba heads to China on a solo summer tour organised by Adidas. Travelling on a personalised tour bus and private jet, his own barber in tow, Pogba takes time out to do the ‘dab’, a now-famous dance move he helped to popularise, whilst standing on the Great Wall.

I think in France they don’t like heroes, as there is so much envy and jealousy. I don’t see why they are criticised so much when they can write football history. Pogba in particular always stays positive, works hard and has nothing to prove. He does what the coach wants and is a perfect ambassador on and off the field.

Mino Raiola, Pogba’s agent, during the 2018 World Cup

July 2018 Pogba scores in a major final once again as France win their second Fifa World Cup by beating Croatia 4-2 in Russia. Days later, speculation mounts over a potential move away from Manchester, with Spanish champions FC Barcelona and former club Juventus both strongly linked with big-money bids.