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Paul Pogba & Man United, The Affair That Never Stood a Chance

We take a deep dive at Paul Pogba’s spell at Man United, upon his return and exit.

The tosses and turns that surrounded the French Superstar.

 

 

Manchester United purchased Paul Pogba in the summer of the 2016/2017 season for a British record of £89m, in what we would later come to learn to not be the original plan of the then United manager’s blueprint. Pogba was not the new manager (José Mourinho) first choice. José wanted Ngolo Kante, but United’s banker CEO, Ed Woodward, preferred a name that would sell shirts and get social media engagements.

 

Pogba came with much fan fare and expectations with Woodward promising to build a world class team around him, that would usher in a new era of dominance for the falling English dynasty that was the red side of Manchester. Did united fulfill that promise? Thanks to woodward’s incompetence, United had a midfield partnership of (Pogba + Herrera) instead of the (Kante + Herrera) José allegedly preferred.

 

With the unbalanced middle of Pogba + Herrera (2 natural forward thinking CMs), United lacked the ability to control games, and a partner to allow the fun loving Pogba to go express himself. United still won the Europa league, EFL cup and community shield that season In spite of Woodward’s meddling and not because of him.

 

In the 2017/2018 Season, United finally bought a defensive midfielder to bring the best out of Pogba in the person of Nemanja Matic. Problem? Yes! United bought a player who was already on the physical decline due to the highly combative nature of his play style and career.

For the first few months, Matic and Pogba were on fire. United were called 4nil fc for the clinical fashion which they dispatched opponents, but Pogba would soon pick an injury that coincided with Matic’s form, declining.

 

Pogba would be forgiven to think that with Matic and Herrera around, he would be finally afforded the chance to play in an attacking position with 2 capable shields behind him, but no, José Mourinho preferred a declining Mata and Jesse Lingard as his number 10s with, Pogba stuck in the double pivot. Did Mata and Lingard perform so well as no10s to justify snubbing Pogba in that position? Of course not!! Now this is where Pogba let his frustration contribute to his problems.

 

Pogba was a global superstar, even as a central midfielder in a double pivot, journalists still judged him on goals and assists, with comparisons to Kevin debruyne who played as a no10 for Manchester city a common theme. Pogba’s brand needed for Pogba to be the main man. He wanted to play no10 and when the chance didn’t come, he fell out with José Mourinho. He stopped showing effort and started questioning the manager’s tactics in public. United would finish the season in second and Pogba’s relationship with Mourinho at all time, became sour. Pogba went on to win the 2018 World Cup with France that summer, playing in a deeper role, but what everybody forgot was that he had defensive monsters (Kante and Matuidi) doing the dirty work to allow him play in the more creative role he desires.The following season (2018/2019) started with José still stuck in his 4-2-3-1 with him only seeing Pogba as a double pivot player and now, even Andreas Perreira was considered as a no10 before Paul Pogba.

 

A summer of little recruitments to the playing

staff had left Mourinho bitter, angry and blood thirsty. Almost in comical fashion, a Pogba who was also out for blood had questioned united’s or most importantly, Jose’s tactics in a capital one cup game, and this set the tone for the bitter feuding that would envelope the first part of that season for Manchester united. José and Pogba’s beef became public as José decided to start benching Pogba while promoting young Scott Mctominay into the first team fray. Results started to deteriorate at an alarming rate, with the whole club plunged into a sickening period of negativity.

 

United struggled throughout the season till José was sacked in December 2018 and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer hired just a few days later. Ole’s first decision was to restore Pogba to the team and finally play him as a no10 infront of Matic and Herrera, or in a 4-3-3 formation with Pogba as a left sided no8 in a fluid attacking system. How did Pogba respond to finally getting his preferred position? With half a season remaining, Pogba went into player of the season form, finishing the season as – Man Utd’s top scorer- Man Utd’s most assist provider – EPL team of the season. That was with Pogba as a no10 for just six months. Now was that Pogba finally being unlocked? Maybe! A good club would build on that and buy more midfielders to allow him keep playing as a no10 right? But not Manchester United!!!!!! The club allowed Herrera to leave the following season for free, and instead of upgrading on or at least replacing the departed Ander, the technical team thought it smart to start playing Pogba in a double pivot again.

 

Now can Man Utd really claim they did not see Pogba’s best position, In the 2019/2020 Season and allowed Herrera to leave without any replacements? Matic got older and slower. OGS withdrew Pogba to play in a double pivot with Scott Mctominay for the season and Lingard/Andreas Perriera as no10s.

 

In the first game, united bashed Chelsea 4-0 and everybody thought all was well, but subsequent games saw united go on one of Club’s worst runs in the their long illustrious history. United struggled to create chances through their no10s as Pogba wasted away in the double pivot. Pogba would later pick an injury with United in mid table and half of the season gone.

 

Then the winter transfer window came with United buying Bruno Fernandes and Pogba’s dream of ever playing as a no10 died a natural death. Bruno had turned out to be an excellent buy, but United still remained the losers, who spent 89m on a player who played best as a no10 for them, but only played there for 6months in the last 5 years. Instead of buying young central midfielders and DMs to allow Pogba go do his magic, United instead tried to convert Pogba to those things. The best description of Pogba came from a french pundit who said that “Pogba was a player everybody wanted to be the new “Patrick Viera, when the man himself wanted to be the new Zinedine Zidane” The narrative will always be that Pogba failed United, Meanwhile, Pogba was actually failed by United more times han it was actually his fault.

 

Could he have put more effort into being a patrick viera prototype? Maybe! Could he have handled the positional expectations from José Mourinho better? Most likely! But wouldn’t it have been smarter and way more easier to let a butterfly be a butterfly instead of a dragon fly? Most United fans will despise Pogba for his late agent and brother’s disrespect to the club, but united proved the incompetence that had swallowed the club during Pogba’s time here, summer after summer. Pogba just for 6months as Utd’s no10 finished as the top scorer, top assist maker and in the EPL team of the year, now why did the club and their managers only play him there for 6months in the last 5yrs? That, we may never know, and in hindsight best highlights, why the club is in such a structural mess.

 

Before the end of the 2021/22 EPL season, United had 2 world class playmakers (no10s) in Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba, with a very inferior roaster of central midfielders for their preferred double pivot, and one of the world class no10s having to feature there for the team to have any sort of progressive play from that area of the pitch. With Paul Pogba announcing his departure from the team as a free agent this summer, he will leave as another clog “a dwindling Manchester United club failed to find a hole for in its declining system.

 

 

 

 

What do you think of all that has happened so far? Between Man United and Pogba, Who failed who?? Rumours has it that he might be on his way to Juventus or PSG. What next does the future hold for him? Leave us a comment and share.

 

Parts of the original piece of this article, were culled from Matty Onyeka (as seen on Facebook) and revised/modified by Norra Wilbor (author, norrawilbor.com).

He’s a Politician, Don’t Trust Him; Barcelona Fans Remain In Doubt Over Laporta’s Claim On De Jong’s Departure.

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FC Barcelona president Joan Laporta made a vital promise to Barca fans yesterday that he would do everything in his powers to keep Frenkie de Jong at the club despite serious/several interest from Manchester United and other top clubs.


However, It seems as if his promises have fallen on deaf ears, as Barcelona fans no longer believe in him. Just as in the case of Lionel Messi, he had made similar promises about keeping the Super star at Barcelona last season and we all saw how that ended. Messi would later join Paris Saint Germain.

LeUpdoot: “I mean after Messi and Emerson we all should already learned our lesson to never believe whatever Laporta said blindly.”

Logdit: “Brother, never forget Laporta is a politician. We all were 100% sure that Messi was gonna stay.”

MrBlack: “Its just to put pressure on United to rise their price since we wanted 80m as a fixed amount and 20m on add-on’s, especially since the club is now not obligated to sell.. if we end up selling de Jong, the narrative that the media will make is that the player will not reduce his salary, a wonderful chess move from Laporta..”

Man United are perceived to be the ones highly interested in landing De jong as Erik Ten Hag has openly declared, he wants him. Rumours has it that Erling Haaland and Frenkie de jong are both both interested in Ole Gunner’s home located at Manchester and thus, could only mean one thing… “Laporta could be playing mind games with the public. Barca fans could be right after all.

Katsina United vs Remo Stars; 36 Minutes Added Time Saga! What Truly Happened?

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The Internet was on fire as news broke out last night, that the NPFL match between Katsina United vs Remo Stars, held at Muhammadu Dikko Stadium on the 26th of June 2022, was alleged to have had 36 minutes worth of added time in the Second half of play, with many angry Nigerians blasting the LMC and the NPFL managements, alongside poor officiating from the referees.

The Officiating referees were accused of adding 36 more minutes in a supposed game that could have ended in a draw state after 90 minutes.

Having been thrown chunks of scrutiny lacking facts in the last 18hrs, the LMC and NPFL management, via the official website of the League Management Company, have come out to refute such malicious claims. The LMC believes such claims were only made to tarnish the images of the LMC and NPFL in the eyes of the public.

The statement from the official website thus read below:

It has become necessary to correct the erroneous viral news of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) MatchDay 35 fixture in Katsina (Katsina Utd vs Remo Stars) played on Sunday June 26th 2022.

 

Some social media accounts have been spreading information that the match between Katsina United and Remo Stars had over 30 minutes added time.

 

This is not true. The match was disrupted by players of Katsina United who protested Remo Stars second equalising goal late in the game. In the process of the players contesting the Referees decision, there was encroachment on the field of play and it took some time before the encroachment was cleared and normalcy was restored. 

 

The goal stood and the match duly restarted to conclude the remaining added minutes. However, most of those commenting, including some Sports Journalists followed the match on online live game trackers such as Livescore, Betway, flashscore and it need be pointed out that these platforms hardly indicate that a game was inactive and most times leaves there match clock active through out the match.

 

It is not possible for a Referee to allow 30 minutes of added time in a 45 minutes half. We appeal to fans and the media to always verify the information they share, especially such that are detrimental to the health of the brand.

It will be recalled that on MatchDay 33 there was a similar incident in the match between Lobi Stars and Heartland which had several stoppages due to injuries and time wastage right from the first half. The game was not conclude on time and the same internet websites/blogs reported the match as having 27minutes added time which was totally not correct but also created similar confusion.

 

Furthermore, it must be emphasized for the general public to note that only the Match Official is in charge of the official timing of a match and not any online websites/blogs. The LMC is therefore awaiting the official match reports on the encroachment at Katsina so as to take appropriate actions/sanctions on any party found to have erred pursuant to the stipulations of the NPFL framework and rules”

 

In a different scenario, The 2022 NPFL Champions, Rivers United FC, were officially given the guard of honour as they took on their counterpart, Nassarawa United. although they would go ahead to lose the game 3-2, as the Home side, Nassarawa United, put up a good and solid fight until the last minute.

Please Forgive us; Osimhen Begs Angry Nigerians Over Failure To Qualify For World Cup

The Nigeria Super eagles/ Napoli forward, Victor Osimhen has come all out to ask for forgiveness from angry Nigerian Football fans, who felt the heat of disappointment when The Super Eagles failed to qualify for the Qatar 2022 World Cup Qualifiers match against the Black Stars of Ghana at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium Abuja earlier this year.

Super Eagles Of Nigeria

The Super Eagles who advanced through to the qualifying play off stage and were hopeful for a win against their counterpart, played a goalless draw in the first leg against the Black Stars of Ghana in Kumasi.. Hoping to overturn things around in the second leg in Abuja, The Super Eagles lost to Ghana on an away goal rule as both teams played 1-1 at Full Time.

Speaking with Wazobia’s Buchi Laba on his Footbarepublik talk show, reminiscing on the sad turn out of event that took place at Abuja, Osimhen had this to say:

“Firstly, I need to say a very big thank you to the fans, even when we were in Ghana, the way the fans turned up and everything.”

“Abuja was massive. The support was overwhelming – we could feel the adrenaline pop out. I need to say thank you again and again.”

“Of course, it’s not what we expected to happen, (but) with the turn-up and support we got, it was overwhelming.”

“Sometimes in football, it’s like this. First, as the Ghanaians had the ambition to go to the World Cup, we wanted to go there, too.”

“But it (not qualifying) has happened. We need to first say sorry to Nigerians. A lot of people still support us but what we need to do is to try to get all our supporters back 100%. We are on the right path, doing things well with the new coach (Peseiro) and technical staff.”

“But everyone is sad, nobody is happy even now the pain lingers and forever it will. I would have advanced in age before the next World Cup but we have to move past it. We first need to look forward to what the future brings and with the quality we possess, from here, all I see (in the Super Eagles) is greatness.”

Osimhen who is hopeful for greater heights with the Super Eagles squad, under new head coach José Peseiro, is rumoured to be linked to premier league sides Chelsea, New Castle United, Arsenal and Manchester United, with all being in the race to sign the 23 year old Superstar who finished the season as the latest highest goal scorer in a single Serie A season.

Osimhen wins Serie A Player of the month Award.

 

Reinstate D’Tigress In FIBA World Cup; Nigerians Beg FIBA, Following The Lifted Ban By The Federal Government On Int’l. Basketball Activities

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The Nigeria Senior Women’s Basketball team ”D’Tigress, who were greatly hit by the ban placed on International Basketball activities by the Federal Government of Nigeria, due to the unending feud surrounding the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF), has publicly come out to show gratitude to the supporting Bodies who worked tirelessly to see that International Basketball activities/ involvement, returns to normalcy in Nigeria.

The ban by the Federal Government, which was communicated by the Minister of Youth and Sports Development in Nigeria, Sunday Dare on the 12th of May 2022, was meant to relieve Team Nigeria from participating in all international activities for the next 2 years.

However, there seems to have been a U-Turn as The Permanent Secretary of the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) Ismaila Abubakar, said the Federal Government, in the early hours of Thursday, being the 23rd of June, 2022, had reversed the Basketball withdrawal of the country from International competitions.

NBBL Female Team

This comes after the World basketball governing body ”FIBA replaced Nigeria’s women’s basketball team with Mali’s Women’s Basketball team in group B as the World Cup slot holders.

It is still unclear if FIBA will reinstate Nigeria at the 2022 Women’s World Cup after the ban has been lifted but Nigerians have come out in numbers to plead to FIBA on behalf of D’Tigress, as they believe The Senior Women’s Team had fought so hard to earn their place at the World Cup. The competition is expected to take place in Sydney, Australia, from September till October 2022.

Erik Ten Hag Expresses Shock As Louis Van Gaal Set To Stop Jurrien Timber From Joining Man Utd

Manchester United‘s Boss, Erik Ten Hag and a large chunk of United fans have been thrown in shock with Jurrien Timber‘s sudden change of heart, as to joining the club this summer.

The 20-year-old defender established himself as one of the best young players in Europe under Ten Hag’s regime at Ajax. So when the Dutchman moved to the English Premiere League side, he thought Timber might consider joining him.

That hope has however been thrown under the bus, as Jurrien Timber has decided to stay put in Ajax, due to hindering factors. His decision is rooted in a strong desire to make Louis van Gaal’s Netherlands squad for the World Cup later this year.

Van Gaal and Timber. Cc: MEN

In a now trending video, Dutch football journalist Marcel Van der Kraan, told SkySports News, Netherlands head coach Louis van Gaal may have played a part in stopping a potential move for Ajax defender Jurrien Timber to Manchester United. Money wasn’t an issue, the player was ready to come as his agents already had talks with Man United’s representatives, but Louis Van Gaal stepped in.

WATCH VIDEO below and tell us what you think.

Shakira Set To Divorce Pique amid ‘Cheating’ Allegations With Fellow Team-mate’s Mum

 

 

It’s no news that an alleged rumour of Gerard Pique cheating on his wife, Shakira, with fellow teammate’s mum, broke the internet earlier this week from an undisclosed source.

The Colombian singer and FC Barcelona have confirmed rumours of the split and in a brief statement, released by the singer’s communication agency, confirmed: “We regret to confirm that we are parting ways. For the well-being of our children, who are our highest priority, we ask that you respect their privacy. Thank you for your understanding.”

 

It has been reported that the couple have been living separately for a few weeks after Pique was kicked out of their family home due to his excesses. Spanish outlet El Periodico, reports that Pique has been staying in a bachelor pad and has been living a “playboy lifestyle” and frequenting night clubs with fellow team-mate Riqui Puig and his group of friends.

 

More sources revealed Pique was in a habit of changing multiple women, of which included fellow Barcelona team-mate, Pablo Gavi‘s mother. Although, the Barcelona defender has denied such an affair ever existed.

Shakira had earlier hinted the disharmony between the pair in her latest hit ‘Te Felicito‘ with Rauw Alejandro, with the 45-year-old singing: “To complete you I broke into pieces; I was warned, but I didn’t listen; I realised that yours is false; it was the drop that overflowed the glass; Don’t tell me you’re sorry, that sounds sincere, but I know you well and I know you’re lying.”

 

The Barcelona defender and Colombian pop sensation have been together for 12 years, but are now set to go their separate ways. They both have two sons together, Milan and Sasha.

Reports claim Pique has however remained calm as he has 2 more years with his club side, before making any other future plans concerning his career.

 

 

Monkeys, Go Back To Your 3rd World Country; Folake Cambage calls Nigeria D’Tigress Team Players.

 

Elizabeth Folake Cambage, who is an Australian professional basketball player for the Los Angeles Sparks of the Women’s National Basketball Association, has recently come under fire, after a clip of her, tendering unreserved apologies to the Nigeria D’Tigress team, for Calling them monkeys in a heated altercation that happened over a year ago, was made public few days back. Reports claim, It all happened last summer, during a practice game in Las Vegas. Liz Cambage had a heated argument with one of the D’Tigress players, Wherein she tagged them all “monkeys from a third world country”.

 

Australian officials however said they would take drastic disciplinary actions against Elizabeth, after which she apologised to the entire D’Tigress team and withdrew from the Australian Olympic team the next day. It’s been over a year now and Nigeria netizens are still not having it with Cambage, as many have tagged her apologies “Fake” citing she only did so because she felt pressured too.

 

A user said ” I’m so disappointed in @lizcambage8 as news broke out that she called players of the @dtigressng monkeys and asked them to “go back to their third world country”. This is so shameful for a professional whose dad is even a Nigerian. Racism has been on in sports and enlightened athletes have been fighting real hard to against it. For Cambage to tow that path and vilify her fellow female athletes (she having a Nigerian descent) shows how degraded and vicious she is. Her hypocritical apologies don’t mean s*** to me. I hereby withdraw ma support for the team and pray they have woeful appearances.#NoToRacism”.

 

Another said “Liz Cambage’s apologies were only mouthed. They are not genuine. She spoke her heart on the day she vented. She only came back to remediate the damage she had done, for social reasons”.

 

Another user also added “I was infuriated when I briefly read/heard about her distasteful comments about the #DTigress, which was completely uncalled for and unacceptable. Personally, I think her apologies were forced because she knew it’ll get out to the public, hence her quick *medicine after death* apology”.

 

Although quite a few Nigerians came to the rescue of Cambage, citing how the Australian professional Basketball player was indeed, truly sorry and remorseful for her utterances. Noting the widely used adage that says “To err is human and to forgive is divine”, be dully applied while passing judgement on the player.

 

Sadly, World basketball governing body, FIBA has confirmed the withdrawal of Nigeria from the 2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup slated for September in Australia, in which the Nigeria D’Tigress team qualified, but is now being replaced with Mali, who finished just below Nigeria in the qualifying group stage. This comes as a result of the ban, the Federal Government of Nigeria placed on the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) from participating in International events for the next two years.

Christian Pulisic; In a Tug of War With Chelsea, Deletes Bio, Images of Himself on Chelsea’s Home Jersey on IG, Fans React

 

Christian Pulisic who had remained a bit-part player for Chelsea under Thomas Tuchel this season, Although rarely trusted from the start of matches, The 23-year-old only played 17 times in the Premier League this season and scored just five goals..

Chelsea manager, Thomas Tuchel who had been slammed for his treatment of Christian Pulisic, recently claimed that Pulisic had seen his minutes limited after playing three times for the USA during the latest international break, noting that the effects of that period were still being felt by the player.

 

Disagreeing to Tuchel’s claim, was former USMNT striker Herculez Gomez, who told ESPN, “This has always been Tuchel’s pattern, making players feel uneasy, adding that Christian Pulisic had been through this before. Not just here in Chelsea, he’s been through it at Dortmund with him also. This is part of the course with Thomas Tuchel, notting that his favourites were strictly Mason Mount and Kai Havertz.

In a now surfaced action, Christian Pulisic has recently removed Chelsea on his Bio and deleted two of his Instagram images which had him on the Club’s home jersey, in a game against West Ham United.

Chelsea fans are however having a go at Pulisic over his actions. View tweet and replies below.

https://twitter.com/CFCPys/status/1529895921764511754?t=tuuYnzlnHxmsOXDZ7kaFWg&s=19

 

BREAKING: Erik Ten Hag, Set To Bench Harry Maguire Next Season.

Reports have claimed, Erik Ten Hag, who was present at the stands, to witness the last and final game of his new side, was left unimpressed by the team’s performance against Crystal palace at Selhurst Park.

Speaking to Manchester United News Men in an all new interview earlier this week, The new Boss, made it clear that it was unrealistic for them to expect a serious challenge in the Premier League overnight, something John Murtough, Darren Fletcher and Richard Arnold agreed with [Rob Dawson; ESPN].

 

When asked about Harry Maguire, Sources say Harry Maguire is not guaranteed to start under Erik ten Hag because of his lack of pace and Ten Hag’s tendency is to play with a high defensive line, as he plays a high line attacking football, which includes PACE, BALL CONTROL and GOOD DRIBBLING.

Ten Hag also believes there are question marks about David de Gea‘s ability on the ball to play in his system, although there is an acceptance that signing a striker and a midfielder is more important this summer than signing a goalkeeper [Rob Dawson; ESPN]