France fans have been introduced to a whole new Paul Pogba since the start of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia.
Despite Les Bleus having seen off Belgium two days earlier to clinch a spot in the Final. “I’m really happy, but I don’t want to feel proud yet,” he explained. “I want to wait. We haven’t achieved anything yet.”
Past campaigns have taught the 25-year-old that one team always ends up heartbroken after a final. “There’s the UEFA Europa League final I won with Manchester United in 2017, but otherwise I don’t know what it feels like to taste victory in a final. In both the Champions League final in 2015 and the UEFA EURO 2016 final, I ended up with the taste of defeat.”
Pogba admits to having been less vigilant in the past. “In 2016, we made the mistake of being overconfident. After beating Germany in the semi-finals, we felt we were destined to win. I can promise you we won’t make the same mistake again. I know the Croatian players well and they’re world class. They qualified from an extremely tough group and only one team can lift the Trophy on Sunday. It has to be us.”
“I know where I’ve come from and what I’ve been through to get to this point. I’ve dreamed about the World Cup since I was a kid. As a boy, I dreamed of scoring in the final. I’ve revised my goals: now I just want to win it!”
He grew up watching clips commemorating France’s World Cup victory in 1998 – when current coach Didier Deschamps was captain. His mission on Sunday will be to replace those childhood memories with first-hand experience as an adult. “We have a star on our shirts, but it wasn’t me who won it.”
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