Football News

Dimitar Berbatov: How Paul Pogba “got on my nerves” in Man Utd training

By William Eldridge

Published: 16:21, 23 March 2019

Paul Pogba’s “world-class” ability can make him a nuisance to teammates in training, according to Dimitar Berbatov, who played with him in the 2011/12 season for Manchester United.

The Frenchman’s improvement in form since the arrival of caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has led to reports linking the World Cup winner with a move to Real Madrid in the summer.

“World-class” Pogba: Five things you need to know…

  1. After leaving Manchester United for Juventus in 2012, United re-signed the midfielder for a then-world record transfer fee of £89.3 million.
  2. The Frenchman has made 132 appearances for the Red Devils, scoring 29 goals.
  3. Pogba was inspirational last summer in France’s World Cup win, scoring in the final as Les Bleus beat Croatia 4-2.
  4. Since Solskjaer’s arrival, Pogba has been directly involved in 14 Premier League goals in 13 games – eight goals, six assists.
  5. Pogba recently declared played for Zinedine Zidane at Real Madrid would be “a dream“.

Former Manchester United striker Berbatov – who transferred from Tottenham Hotspur to United in 2008, scoring 56 goals in 149 games – has discussed the ability that the French midfielder possesses.

Teammates in 2011, the former Bulgarian centre-forward admitted that Pogba got on his nerves in training due to the sheer talent and raw athleticism he showcased day-in-day-out.

“I remember Paul coming to play with the first team, training with us,” Berbatov told Betfair.

“He was just enjoying being in Manchester and was good friends with the first team and when you’re happy you’re settled.

“He caused a stir in training straightaway. He was tall, athletic, would get the ball from me, intercept it and get on my nerves. I knew I had to take this guy seriously because he had something.

“You could see from the beginning that he had technical ability, vision of the game, where to position himself and now you can see the result – he is one of the best in the world.”

“Pogba will be at United for a long time”

Despite his infrequent form under former boss Jose Mourinho, Pogba’s influence on a football pitch has rarely been questioned since Solskjaer took over in December.

Naturally, a man of Pogba’s ability, alongside the poor form and transitional period for the reigning Champions League winners, has seen Real Madrid linked with a move for the inspirational World Cup-winner once the season is over.

However, Berbatov believes that Pogba isn’t going anywhere and that as long as both the club and player are happy then there is no reason to panic.

Berbatov added: “Paul Pogba is rarely too far away from the headlines but I’m not concerned about his Real Madrid quotes this week.

“I supported lots of other teams when I played for United because I was a fan of good football. I admired clubs like Real Madrid, Juventus, Bayern Munich.

“I don’t think there is anything to worry about here. We live in a world where you can say what you want and I can imagine the words being taken out of context.

“Paul will be a United player for a long time, as long as he and the club want to be together.”