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John Obi Mikel: Paul Pogba can win the Ballon d’Or at Manchester United

by Leo Nieboer

Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel believes Paul Pogba can win the Ballon d’Or at Manchester United.

The 23-year-old rejoined Man United after four years with Juventus in August, signing for a world record £89m fee.

A mixed start – replete with occasional moments of brilliance and defensive instability in equal measure – under Jose Mourinho has seen the Frenchman come under a barrage of criticism from pundits and rival fans.

However, Mikel has insisted that Pogba realise his true potential at Old Trafford in the coming years.

“I met Pogba after the game against France and he is a lovely guy,” he said.

“He is a lovely human being. Today he is the world’s most expensive football player and he has worked hard since he left Man United and went to Juve.

“He looks like he missed Man United, the way he plays, the way he presents himself. I think he is a great talent who will one day win the Ballon d’Or.”

Anybody who breaks the world transfer record will, by necessity, come under enormous levels of scrutiny from all corners of the football world. The cacophony of noise is impossible to stop, and is set to go on for some time.

From an objective point of view, however, Pogba’s performances have not merited the hyperbolic slander aimed in his direction. Some have genuinely labelled the Frenchman – yet to hit double figures in appearances under Mourinho – as a flop, forever consigned to the ever-growing catalogue of expensive failures in today’s modern game.

Needless to say, this level of criticism is grossly out of proportion. The midfielder has, on several occasions, shown signs of what he can do: something as simple as a turn away from a midfielder, or perhaps a pin-point pass. Little things, I know, but they act as mouth-watering precursors for what will be a promising career.

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