Paul Pogba has defended his record at Manchester United — ahead of his expected £135million switch to Real Madrid this summer.
Pogba, United’s £89m club-record signing, has been accused of under-performing over the past three years since rejoining from Juventus.
The France World Cup winner is now wanted by Spanish giants Real, who are expected to table a formal bid for the midfielder in the coming days.
Against that backdrop, Pogba has opened up on his second spell at United and suggested he has been blamed for the team’s failings, despite his own stats – including his goal return – improving every year.
“Because it was the biggest transfer in history at the time, you get judged differently,” he told the LifeTimes podcast.
“They expect more from you because of the price tag. A good game would be a normal game. A top game would be a good game.
“The first year we won trophies — we won three trophies. The second year we arrived second and this year we didn’t win. But what I keep is just improving on my statistics, my individual stats. They have improved, so I guess I’m glad about that, although obviously that’s not enough, that’s not the thing.
“The most important thing is to win, of course, to win with your team, to win trophies with your team, and that didn’t happen, so I try to help the team as much as I can. To see the improvement, that makes me proud as well, that makes me happy.
“Every year I improved, so I guess it’s a good thing. I can make goals, in my mind the objective is to improve, to help the team as much as I can with assists, try to score goals, and I improved.
“It’s a big amount. It went down when other transfers came, so it’s fine. I think it’s also because I’m a midfielder. People see more strikers because they score goals, so that’s why it made such a big impact. I don’t think [Neymar and Mbappe] get it because they’re strikers.
“I knew it would come with it. I knew there would be a big impact. But I didn’t know it would go so negative. When I signed, I wasn’t used to seeing so many negative comments. It was a big change. I was surprised. I didn’t know a price tag would change so much for people.
“Maybe they think I have the money. It’s not me – I don’t have the money. I don’t know [the reason for the criticism]. I wish I knew so I could help them get the answer.”
Pogba was a controversial choice in the PFA Team of the Year last season, the only player selected in the line-up not to come from Premier League champions Manchester City or runners-up, Liverpool.
The 26-year-old saw that accolade from his fellow pros as a vindication of his enduring worth, despite a poor season with United, who finished down in sixth place.
“Obviously I was pleased,” said Pogba. “Judging by the players is different than judging by the fans or journalists, so I was very glad to see that, of course.”