‘I’m not weak’ – Paul Pogba vows to make critics ‘eat their words’ as Juventus midfielder bemoans ‘cruel’ nature of elite level football

Pogba’s return to Juventus has not gone to plan. The Frenchman played just 10 times for the Serie A side last season as the 30-year-old was beset by injuries. The former Manchester United star, who left Old Trafford before re-joining the Bianconeri on a free transfer last summer, also complained of back pain earlier this month but despite that, he is hoping to get his career back on track and wants to prove his critics wrong.

“I want to make them eat their words. … I want to show them I’m not weak. They can talk bad about me. I will never give up,” he told Al Jazeera.

Pogba added on the fickle nature of fans and pundits at the highest level of the game: “Football is very beautiful, but it’s cruel. People can forget you. You can do something great – the next day, you’re nobody.”

Pogba was once the most expensive player of all time following his £89.3 million ($116.4m) move from Juventus to United in 2016, but he is at a crossroads in his career at present. The French World Cup winner could still have another good few years of football ahead of him but staying injury free is key, and, at present, a big ask.

Juventus and Pogba will hope his latest fitness setback is not a serious one. The Italian side return to action against Lazio on Saturday.