Manchester United and France midfielder Paul Pogba has revealed he supported Arsenal while he was growing up in the eastern suburbs of Paris.
The World Cup winning midfielder learned his trade playing on the streets while idolising Arsene Wenger’s French players in north London.
The 26-year-old admired the likes of Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira and Robert Pires, who were all part of the 1998 World Cup winning squad.
Initially, the former Juventus star mostly focused on the legendary striker as he played as a number nine in the early stages of his career.
Speaking to The Times’ new Life Times podcast, Pogba said: “I was an Arsenal fan. Arsenal and the French national team. I really loved the 1999/2000 team.
“You know with Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira, (Sylvain) Wiltord, Pires. I loved Thierry Henry. I was a really selfish player. At the time I was a striker, number nine.
“Then I went back and back and finished in the middle. The pitch was hard, cement. You better not fall! Now my friends can’t believe that I pass the ball.”
Henry and Vieira were both Arsenal players in 1999, with Wiltord and Pires joining their fellow countrymen the following year.
Arsene Wenger’s side went on to win a Premier League and FA Cup double in 2001/02, with Thierry Henry winning back-to-back PFA Player of the Year awards in 2003 and 2004.
It remains unknown if Paul Pogba was ever on Arsene Wenger’s target list, but the French midfielder’s dream of playing in England came true when Sir Alex Ferguson signed him for Manchester United in 2009 from Le Havre.
Pogba spent two years with the Red Devils’ academy, eventually making his debut in 2011. A year later he joined Juventus, only to return in 2016 for a then world-record fee of £89m.
Since the arrival of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Old Trafford, the 26-year-old has had a revival in his form, which led to 13 goals and nine assists in the 2018/19 Premier League campaign. He was also named in the PFA Team of the Year.
The French national, however, is currently being linked with a potential summer exit with both Real Madrid and Juventus interested in his signature.