Juventus betrayed by Paul Pogba after senior players made pact before Man United move
Juventus start their Champions League campaign against Sevilla tomorrow night, with their senior players still feeling betrayed by the fact that Paul Pogba will not be there with them.
Winning the Champions League has become a quest for this Juventus team, especially after losing the 2015 final, and with Gianluigi Buffon, Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci coming towards the end of their careers.
Those senior players, and the rest of the Juventus squad, made a pact last season that they would stay together at Juventus to win the Champions League. Pogba, who played at Juventus for four seasons and was always closely looked after by the senior players, was part of it too, and his team-mates felt that he was committed to staying at Juventus for the 2016-17 season.
The strength of this pact is why Bonucci turned down a very lucrative offer from Manchester City this summer after Pep Guardiola had tried to sign him. Alvaro Morata returned to Real Madrid after the Spanish club activated his buy-back clause. Morata would have been happy to stay at Juventus, though, and told the club’s senior players how much he would miss playing there.
The Juventus players are all professionals and did not begrudge Pogba for moving to Manchester United for a world record fee and a big pay rise. But they felt let down that he had walked out on their pact to win the Champions League without telling them first. Buffon, Chiellini and the rest of the Juventus team found out about Pogba’s £89m move to Manchester United the same way as everyone else did, which rankled with them. “Morata sent us a message, he was really polite,” Buffon said. “It is easier to follow Paul on social media.”
Even without Pogba, though, Max Allegri’s Juventus team are still among the favourites for this season’s Champions League. Their summer spending has been of a club desperate to make the most of this generation of players, and try to win the Champions League while they still can. That is why they spent big on Gonzalo Higuain, Miralem Pjanic and Dani Alves, as they hope to add even more experience and quality to a team that already has plenty of both.
The Juventus squad knew that the club were planning a big transfer campaign this summer in pursuit of the Champions League. That is why they were all so set on staying there, and why they feel so let down that Pogba left.