Paul Pogba could be forgiven for returning to Turin with more than a few regrets as he faces his old club Juventus in the Champions League on Wednesday night.
In the two years and three months since the Frenchman left Italy to rejoin Manchester United in a then world record £89million deal, Juve have added another two Serie A titles and continued to be a major power on the European stage.
United, on the other hand, have been mediocre at best. Pogba, 25, is already casting his gaze towards the possibility of a new challenge in Spain and his relationship with manager Jose Mourinho has come under particular scrutiny.
Paul Pogba says he is still happy playing for Manchester United after leaving Juventus in 2016
The midfielder’s relationship with manager Jose Mourinho has come under the spotlight
Publicly at least, Pogba was at pains on Tuesday night to insist that he has no regrets over his decision.
He is so happy at United that he used the word no fewer than eight times on his return to the Allianz Stadium, and even claimed that he wasn’t hurt by Mourinho stripping him of the vice-captaincy in September.
‘It didn’t affect me,’ said Pogba. ‘I’m still playing and I’m really happy to play, The manager is the one who chooses who is captain. I was the second one after Valencia. Then if he takes me the armband it doesn’t change anything for me.
‘I just want to play, perform, that’s my job and give my best for my team and for everybody, for the fans, for the club. It didn’t really touch me, didn’t affect me. Nothing changed really.’
Appearing at the Juventus Stadium where he made his name and won four Serie A titles, Pogba dismissed suggestions that he has had second thoughts about leaving the Italian champions.
Pogba joined United for a world record transfer fee of £89million in the summer of 2016
He reiterated the point that he wants to stay and play as well as he can, adding: ‘That’s my job’
‘Choosing to come back to Man United was my choice,’ he added. ‘Juventus were playing Champions League and Manchester were playing Europa League. I knew first of all I wouldn’t play Champions League and I was very happy.
‘I made my choice and don’t regret it at all. I know Manchester the last few years are not being at the top but I came back just to help the team and try to come back at the top so we are on the way.
‘We have a lot of goals so, for me, no it’s not strange. It’s a choice and I don’t regret it all. I’m very happy to come back to Man United and wear the shirt and everything. I’m sure we will come back to our best.
Pogba is in Mourinho’s squad for the Champions League fixture away at Juventus in Turin
‘Do I look sad? I’m happy. Like I said again, I’m happy to wear the shirt, I’m really happy to come back to Man United wearing this shirt playing for this team, this big club.
‘Obviously when you play in a big club like that there is always talk about this club. We know anything can go on but on the pitch always happy, always with a smile, fighting for my team mates club and fans. That’s what I do and I’m really happy to do that.’
On his relationship with Mourinho, Pogba added: ‘If I ask you this question how is the manager with other players, he will say he is the manager and I’m the player. I think the same way as everybody. I’m just a player, I do what he tells me to do. He’s the boss, he’s the manager and I listen. I enjoy it, I just listen, and I do it with happiness.’