FOOT­BALL

The Myanmar Times - - Sport -

THE world record for a trans­fer fee was shred­ded yes­ter­day when French su­per­star Paul Pogba com­pleted a sen­sa­tional re­turn to Manch­ester United from Ju­ven­tus for 105 mil­lion eu­ros (US$116 mil­lion).

Af­ter a weeks-long wran­gle, United an­nounced Pogba had signed a fiveyear con­tract, mark­ing his re­turn to a club that had let him go for a to­ken fee in 2012.

In Turin, Ju­ven­tus con­firmed me­dia re­ports that Pogba had been trans­ferred for 105 mil­lion eu­ros, which will be paid over two years.

The fee may rise by 5 mil­lion eu­ros “on achiev­ing given con­di­tions”, it said with­out fur­ther de­tails.

The sum, equiv­a­lent to £89 mil­lion, tops the £85 mil­lion for the trans­fer of Gareth Bale to Real Madrid from Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur in 2013, “thus mak­ing Pogba the most valu­able player in the sport’s his­tory”, Ju­ven­tus wrote.

“I am de­lighted to re­join United. It has al­ways been a club with a spe­cial place in my heart and I am re­ally look­ing for­ward to work­ing with Jose Mour­inho,” Pogba said.

The newly ap­pointed Por­tuguese coach has been tasked with bring­ing back the glory days to the 20-time English cham­pi­ons af­ter three lean years since Alex Fer­gu­son’s re­tire­ment.

And the for­mer Chelsea boss be­lieves Pogba can in­spire United’s re­vival.

“He has the chance to be at the heart of this club for the next decade and be­yond,” said Mour­inho.

“Paul is one of the best play­ers in the world and will be a key part of the United team I want to build here for the fu­ture. He is quick, strong, scores goals and reads the game bet­ter than many play­ers much older than he is.”

Pogba made just seven ap­pear­ances dur­ing his pre­vi­ous spell at the club as a teenager be­fore leav­ing for Ju­ven­tus when his con­tract ran out.

He now re­turns as one of the world’s most fa­mous play­ers af­ter win­ning four con­sec­u­tive Serie A ti­tles and lead­ing France to the Euro 2016 fi­nal.

It is the first time since Real Madrid coach Zine­dine Zi­dane joined the Span­ish giants as a player in 2000 from Ju­ven­tus that Madrid haven’t got their hands on the world’s most ex­pen­sive player hav­ing also bagged Cris­tiano Ron­aldo from United in 2009 for a record fee.

United brought the long-run­ning trans­fer saga to an end in the early hours of the morn­ing UK time.

The re­ported fee does not in­clude agent’s fees. The trans­fer had stalled for weeks over how the two clubs would share the size­able pay­out to Pogba’s rep­re­sen­ta­tive Mino Raiola.

And the huge cash out­lay will lead to ques­tions over how Fer­gu­son – one of the great­est man­agers of tal­ent in foot­ball – al­lowed Pogba to slip out of United’s hands four years ago over dif­fer­ences with Raiola.

In his 2015 book Lead­ing, Fer­gu­son de­scribed his first meet­ing with Raiola as “a fi­asco”.

Raiola, who also rep­re­sents two of United’s other new sign­ings, Ar­me­nian play­maker Hen­rikh Mkhi­taryan and star Swedish striker Zla­tan Ibrahi­movic, is set to make mil­lions from the deal.

Mour­inho has hinted Pogba’s ar­rival will sig­nal the end of United’s spend­ing spree.

The Por­tuguese boss’ reign got off to a suc­cess­ful start on Sun­day as Ibrahi­movic scored the win­ner in a 2-1 vic­tory over Premier League cham­pi­ons Le­ices­ter City in the Com­mu­nity Shield. –

Photo: AFP

Paul Pogba cel­e­brates af­ter scor­ing France’s sec­ond goal dur­ing the Euro 2016 quar­ter­fi­nal match against Ice­land on July 3.

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