Juventus midfielder Pogba says he is still a ‘nobody’

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Rome, Jan 2 (IANS) Juventus’ French midfielder Paul Pogba prefers to underplay his rising status in the football world despite growing interest from various clubs in the transfer market.

I am a nobody yet, I’ve done nothing in my career,” Pogba was quoted as saying by football-italia.net on Saturday.

Pogba has been part of Juventus side that won three consecutive Serie A titles. The 22-year-old also featured in the Juventus side that lost the European Champions League final against Barcelona.

“I also treasure the defeat to Barcelona in the Champions League final. We lost, but as they say, you learn from defeats and mistakes. I want to win it one day,” Pogba said.

And for the current season, Juventus have pulled themselves back in the title contention after a poor start to the title defence.

“The last few months have been different to previous years, when we were always top of the table. Things have changed,” Pogba pointed out.

“You can’t say we are any better or worse than last season, but the other teams have certainly strengthened. Having said that, we are not afraid of anyone.”

The France international also felt that their performance suffered due to the departures of three key personnel — playmaker Andrea Pirlo, attacking midfielder Chilean Arturo Vidal and Argentine striker Carlos Tevez.

World Cup 2006 winner with Italy and former AC Milan star Pirlo, 36, is now playing for Major League Soccer (MLS) side New York City FC, while former Manchester City and United marksman Tevez, 31, left for his childhood club Boca Juniors.

Vidal, 28, went to German heavyweights Bayern Munich on a 36 million euros ($40.73 million) four-year deal.

Forward Mario Mandzukic (Atletico Madrid) and midfielders Hernanes (Inter Milan), Sami Khedira (Real Madrid) and Paulo Dybala (Palermo) were the big signings for Juventus this season.

But they took time to settle down and it reflected in the side’s performance. In the first 10 matches, they were lying at the 12th spot with four losses and three draws.

“Obviously without Andrea Pirlo, Arturo Vidal and Carlos Tevez it is a different Juventus. There’s more responsibility on the other players and we have to focus more on working as a unit. The same is true for me,” Pogba reflected.

Pogba also realised that his performance in the midfield also hampered by Pirlo’s absence.

“Before I had Pirlo by my side and one of our opponents was always marking him. Now they put the same marker on me. I have to find the right moment to make the pass. I must learn and for that I watch (Andres) Iniesta,” he said.

The Juventus youngster has been linked with big-money moves to the likes of Barcelona, Manchester City and Chelsea in recent months and was handed the famous No 10 shirt by the Serie A champions.

But Pogba insists he is keeping his feet firmly on the ground while attempting to honour the coveted Juventus shirt.

“I am not a classic Number 10 for my position on the field. I consider myself a midfielder and it is an honour to wear the number of so many Ballon d’Or winners. In the history of Juve it is a very important shirt and I want to honour it. When I look at the jersey, I do not see the number or even my name, I only see Juve: with the desire to give 100 percent. And win,” he said.

Juventus will face Bayern Munich in the Champions League pre-quarterfinals next month, but Pogba is not concerned.

“On the one hand we could’ve got an easier draw, but on the other it’s good that everyone expects us to lose. They said the same in the semi-final against Real Madrid last season.

“It’s tough to play against Vidal, though,” the former Manchester United player said.

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