The Champions League duel between Juventus and Manchester United will also see the reunion of top stars Cristiano Ronaldo and Paul Pogba with their old clubs. The roles are clearly distributed.
When Cristiano Ronaldo joined Manchester United in 2003, Paul Pogba was ten years old. He stalked with his then long stork legs by Roissy at Paris, kicked in his youth team and probably dreamed of someday playing in the Premier League. At that time, England became the new promise of happiness for every young professional, and Cristiano Ronaldo made it.
Today Pogba plays for United and Ronaldo for Juventus. The club where Pogba became a world star. Like Ronaldo in Manchester. In the evening (21 clocks, live ticker SPIEGEL ONLINE) it comes to both for a rendezvous with their past. Juventus face Manchester United in their own stadium and the former Pogba club welcome Ronaldo’s former club.
For six years, the Portuguese were under contract with United when he came, he was a talented 18-year-old boy, as he left, he was a world star who was worth Real Madrid 96 million euros transfer fee. At the time, that was the largest sum ever paid for a footballer.
United let Pogba move
Pogba also held the record. When he moved from Turin to England in 2016, United paid 105 million euros. Actually, that was a penalty for their own stupidity. After all, Manchester Pogba had already signed up when the Frenchman was just 16 years old. But instead of promoting him, after two years he was sent to the junior squad and three Premier League short appearances to the pros heading for Italy. The 105 million euros five years later, the club could have saved.
Juventus was smarter. The Italians realized what was in this 19-year-old high-jacked young man. Coach Antonio Conte confided to the Frenchman early on the central defensive midfield position. Next to him was the fighting dog, Arturo Vidal, before him the fine spirit Andrea Pirlo celebrated what makes football so beautiful. A midfield, in which the role distribution fit down to the last detail. Everyone always says Juve is the club of the old men, but in 2012, Pogba’s dynamism was the discovery of the season. He became Juve’s anchor.
Never again so dominant in Manchester
There are many who say that the brilliance, the overview, the power and the precision that Pogba had in his Italian years under Conte and his successor Massimiliano Allegri, he left in Turin. Even at Manchester, he has his strong moments, some are even big. But in the often unsightly game that José Mourinho has established in Old Trafford, there is only one piece of the Pogba that has so excited the Tifosi.
Instead, Mourinho and Pogba are tied together in a kind of love-hate relationship, as if they were the two main characters in the earlier US series Men’s Economy, in which Jack Klugman and Tony Randall constantly went about each other without giving up. Only a few press conferences pass in which Mourinho does not have to comment on the relationship between him and his star.
Pogba has described his relationship with Mourinho as a “coach-player relationship”, leaving plenty of room for interpretation. Before the visit at Juventus Mourinho has added this to the adjective “good”. It is a “good coach-player relationship”, but the English media call the relationship different, it is shattered
Ronaldo once had not only friended in Manchester. His patriarchal coach Alex Ferguson did not care much for his protégé’s advertising and modeling activities, but he always knew what he had about him. Storm partner Wayne Rooney and Ronaldo got mad at the 2006 World Cup when Ronaldo provoked a move for Rooney in Portugal’s quarter-final against England. The striker then threatened to beat him if he returned to Manchester. Both played successfully for another three years, Ferguson was able to resolve such conflicts
They might need a Ferguson in Manchester right now. It is so mediocre in the league, the mood Mourinho is still a Gran worse than usual, and Pogba is missing someone who encourages him sometimes. In the national team is coach Didier Deschamps so one who dominates the light hand and the light word. Mourinho has not been conspicuous in this regard.
So the cards are clearly distributed before the duel of the two returnees. Juventus with Ronaldo, who scored seven goals in his first Serie A season, is the favorite. And not only for this game, and not only in Italy, but also in the home country of the guests. When England’s flagship expert Gary Lineker was asked these days which teams could win the Champions League this year, he tweeted just one word: Juventus.