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It’s Hard to Start All Over Again After Winning the World Cup, Says Heavily Criticised Paul Pogba

France midfielder Paul Pogba has claimed that after the World Cup win with his national team in Russia, he has found it difficult to motivate himself. Pogba has struggled with his focus at Manchester United, but insists he can still play a crucial role for the side even though coach Jose Mourinho has stripped him of his vice-captaincy.

News18 Sports

Updated:October 11, 2018, 12:47 PM IST
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It’s Hard to Start All Over Again After Winning the World Cup, Says Heavily Criticised Paul Pogba
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France midfielder Paul Pogba has claimed that after the World Cup win with his national team in Russia, he has found it difficult to motivate himself. Pogba has struggled with his focus at Manchester United, but insists he can still play a crucial role for the side even though coach Jose Mourinho has stripped him of his vice-captaincy.

The midfielder has reportedly fallen out with the Mourinho since the World Cup, and that unfortunately, comes at the same time as United’s slow start to the season. Manchester United are currently eighth in the Premier League and are seven points behind the defending champions and leaders Manchester City.

"It's hard to concentrate, to start again, to hit hard, because we touched the stars," the 25-year-old former world record signing told AFP. "For us, it was the best trophy you can win as a footballer.

"But we like challenges too, we have goals. For example, I've never won the Premier League, that's an objective. I'd like to do that."

Mourinho, who has also come under immense criticism because of his side’s performance and his constant complaining, took away the vice-captaincy from the Frenchman last month. Before that Pogba had captained the side thrice in the absence of regular captain and defender Antonio Valencia.

With the national team, Pogba was an inspirational figure as he stepped up with a number of crucial dressing room speeches during Les Blues successful World Cup campaign.

France captain Hugo Lloris said that Pogba would remain an influential leader in the national team even if he didn’t lead the side.

"I've never played for the France team to be captain, already being here is a big thing for me" Pogba said. "You don't have to be captain to speak.

"For me, a leader isn't someone who wears something on his arm, who puts on the captain's armband. It's the squad that put me in that position, who gave me the freedom to express myself, and gave me the confidence to."

However, even though the former Juventus midfielder has struggled in England, he has been named in the 30 man shortlist for the prestigious Ballon d’Or which is awarded by France Football. The list of nominees were announced on Monday.

Cristiano Ronaldo, who became the only player to be nominated for 15 consecutive years, and Lionel Messi have won the award five times each. The last French footballer to win the award was Zinedine Zidane when France won the World Cup on home soil in 1998.

And Pogba hopes the second star added to the French shirt will be the lead to a compatriot winning the award again -- but does not put himself in that bracket.

"There are a lot who deserve [the award], I don't put myself among them," he said. "Whether it be 'Grizou' [Antoine Griezmann], Kylian [Mbappe] or Raph [Varane], they deserve it a lot more than me.

"I can't pick out one of them. But I hope with all my heart that it's one of the four, because there is [also] NG [N'Golo Kante]."

Hugo Lloris, has also been nominated for the award, while France discard and Real Madrid forward Karim Benzema is the seventh French player to be nominated.

176 football journalists will vote and decide the winner of the award, and that will be announced on December 3.

| Edited by: Abhimanyu Sen
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