Paul Pogba often cut an unhappy figure at Old Trafford, especially in the past couple of seasons, but the 29-year-old Frenchman could barely contain the smiles as he explained his return to Juventus on Tuesday.
“At Juve, I’m at home,” he said at his ‘welcome back’ press conference, six years after his departure for Manchester United.
Pogba completed his move on Monday, joining on a free transfer and signing a four year deal which will earn him a reported eight million euros ($8.12 million) a season plus a potential two million euros in bonuses.
“I’m very happy to come back home because I really feel at home here. You saw how people received me, it was more than a dream for me,” he said.
Pogba wound down his contract with United who he joined in 2016 for a then record fee of 105 million euros to rejoin Juve where he achieved considerable success during his previous spell with the club.
From 2012 to 2016 he helped Juve win four Serie A titles and two Italian Cups, and reach the Champions League final in 2015.
With United he won the English League Cup and Europa League in his first season but nothing since, leading him to cut a distant figure as coaches came and went.
In spite of that, Pogba said he has no regrets about his time in Manchester.
“No, never. I believe in destiny. All the choices I made, I’m happy, life is like that,” he said.
“Sometimes you make choices that don’t give you satisfaction, but I’m happy for those years. “In Manchester, I grew up. I learned. I became a man.” Like United, however, Juve have also been struggling to dominate as they did when he last wore the black and white stripes.
After a record nine consecutive Scudetti (2012 to 2020), the ‘Old Lady’ have been outside the top three in Serie A for the past two seasons and have not reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League since 2019.
But his return also brings about a reunion with coach Massimiliano Allegri who was his coach at Juve between 2014-2016 and is keen to have Pogba pulling the strings again in midfield.
“I’ve always had a good relationship with him (Allegri), and this year, before coming, we spoke to each other,” said the France World Cup winner. “I had so many great years (with Allegri). Coming back with Allegri, for me, was the right time and the right person.”
At Juventus, Pogba joins his Les Bleus teammate Adrien Rabiot, and former Paris Saint-Germain attacker Angel di Maria, who has signed for a year.
“Angel, he’s a world-class player, he’s going to help the team, he has the experience, he’s won (titles). He’s a champion and we all need that,” he said.