Sunday 21 January 2018

Juventus are still laughing at Man United for letting Paul Pogba leave in 2012 - Andrea Pirlo

Andrea Pirlo played alongside Paul Pogba at Juventus for three years CREDIT: REUTERS
Andrea Pirlo played alongside Paul Pogba at Juventus for three years CREDIT: REUTERS

Richard Amofa

Andrea Pirlo has said that Juventus are still laughing about the fact they were able to secure the signing of Paul Pogba for such a low fee from Manchester United in 2012.

Pogba, who was then aged 19, signed for the Serie A giants for £800,000 after a tribunal when he was shown the exit door by Sir Alex Ferguson following a dispute both with himself and agent Mino Raiola.

But when Pogba arrived in Turin, Pirlo and his teammates could not hide their disbelief that had received the talented youngster for next to nothing.

He said: "On the first day training session Pogba had with Juventus the players were laughing.

"We were not laughing for any other reason than we were just in total disbelief that this player with so much obvious ability was able to leave a club the size of Manchester United for free — and I think Juventus are still laughing.

"I will always remember the first day he trained at Juventus. He was only young, but we could see he was special.

"We were walking back to the dressing room after the session and I clearly remember Gianluigi Buffon coming up to me laughing and he just said: "Did they really let him go for free?"

During his time at Juventus, Pogba went on to win four successive Serie A titles (between 2012-2016), two Coppa Italia's and was a Champions League finalist in 2015, while establishing himself as one of the best young players in the world.

Manchester United resigned Pogba for a world record £89m fee in the early hours of Tuesday morning, and although Juventus did not want to sell their prized asset, Pirlo - who now plays for MLS side New York City - acknowledges that the Serie A champions have benefited greatly from the deal.

"I am not saying that Juventus will have wanted to let him go, they wouldn't — but things have worked out pretty well for them," said the 37-year-old.

"They signed a player of his quality for no money, he was a big part of them winning trophies in four seasons, and they then sell him for £90m. Whatever way you look at it, Juventus have got a great deal."

Pirlo believes that Pogba will have an instant impact at Old Trafford, and alongside another former teammate, Zlatan Ibrahimovic - whom he played with at AC Milan - will play a key role in the club's resurgence under new manager Jose Mourinho.

The former Italy midfielder even went as far in saying that the 23-year-old has the potential to win the Ballon D'or in the future.

He added: "You would be buying a player who is the best in his position in the world, a player that can be the best in his position for the next 10 years.

"He is the best young player I have ever seen, and I don't think we are far away from calling him the best player in the world. It has been between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo for many years now, but football should get ready for a new king.

"I think Pogba will make Manchester United a real force again. One player of that quality can change things. They will lift the players, the fans. You give any team Pogba and Zlatan [Ibrahimovic] in one window and they are going to capable of special things.

"Of course I would like him to stay with a Juventus, but there is always a fee where a club cannot say no. It was my prediction that a world record fee would be needed to buy him, and that looks like it will be the case.

"He will not even think about the fee, he is only concentrating on being the best player he can be. He is not just a great player but also a great professional, and that is the dream for any coach."

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