When you become the world’s most expensive footballer player, after creating a month-long media circus, people expect you to be great.
Paul Pogba has been asked about the pressure that now weighs on his shoulders after joining Manchester United for £89 million last month.
Each time he’s ignored it. But deep down, Pogba must know that an entire fanbase expects him to deliver Premier League glory and Champions League success.
The 23-year-old faces a similar burden for France. Michel Platini and Zinedine Zidane both delivered Les Bleus a European Championship, the Real Madrid man also winning the 2008 World Cup.
France has now turned to Pogba. Euro 2016 was seen as his moment to emerge as a truly world-class talent but it was his teammate, Antoine Griezmann, who really stole the show.
The former Juventus midfielder could have made up for his anonymous performances by helping Didier Deschamps team win the tournament but France were undone by Portugal in the final.
Five out of 10
Pogba’s next opportunity will likely come at the 2018 World Cup. And, in an era of Spanish and German excellence, winning the World Cup won’t be easy.
Before the tournament in Russia, France will have to navigate a qualification group that includes Netherlands and Sweden. They’re favourites to win the group but it won’t be straightforward.
That much was true during France’s 0-0 draw against Belarus last night. Far from ideal.
Pogba was given a rating of five out of 10 by L’Equipe, who went into some detail about the midfielder’s career and raised doubts about his potential.
Journalist Damien Degorre added that he hopes the France international could be “less marketing, more sporty”.
“Yesterday he celebrated his fortieth match since joining Les Bleus in March 2013, and in three years it is still difficult to pick a match which stuck in the mind and justified all the hopes and acclaim that has accompanied the player since his debut,” the article claims, with translation provided by The Sun.
“Pogba is young? That is true. But at his age others already had a Ballon d’Or, the award that the French publicly admits he aspires to.
“Obviously he still has time to express all the talent attributed to him, but it is a shame to miss opportunities to distinguish himself as would have been the case in Borisov.”
Pogba featured in several Adidas campaigns before his move to Manchester United and was unveiled as a Red in a video featuring fellow Adidas-signee Stormzy.
It might be time for the midfielder to get his head down and work.