Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba says the best way to answer racists is to perform well on the pitch not wlak off it. — AFP Photo
LONDON — Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba said the best way to quell racist spectators is to perform well on the pitch not as some suggest walk off if there is racial abuse.
The 26-year-old was a pivotal figure as France won the World Cup last year and said in an interview with The Times that nothing wins people around better than success.
Pogba is expected to start against Andorra in Euro 2020 qualifying on Tuesday night and played 90 minutes in a loss in Turkey on Saturday when the home fans caused outrage in France by jeering the Marseillaise.
Racism reared its head last season with Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling being abused by a group of Chelsea fans. Then Sterling and other black England players were the targets of Montenegro supporters in a Euro 2020 qualifier.
One of those players,Tottenham Hotspur defender Danny Rose said he “can’t wait to see the back of football” because of the lack of decisive action to tackle racism. Rose said he was “shocked” at the lightness of UEFA’s punishment in ordering Montenegro to play just one game behind closed doors.
Pogba told the newspaper he had once handed his Juventus shirt to a fan who had been making monkey noises at him.
“Leave the pitch? You want to play, you want to score for your team,” said Pogba.
“And at the end they (racist abusers) will come and ask for a picture.”
Pogba also responded to critics who say he has not justified his then world record £89.3 million ($113.5 million) move from Juventus in 2016.
“I become another player because of the transfer,” he said.
“Because it was the biggest transfer of history at the time, you get judged differently.
“You expect more because of the price tag. A good game becomes a normal game, a top game will be a good game.” — AFP