The problem with Paul Pogba: Will he reach his potential?

Rarely in my life, both playing football and then writing about it have I seen a player who, like Paul Pogba, is so often regarded poorly and misjudged.

I’ll preface this by saying that I like Paul Pogba. I understand he’s a good midfielder and he is still only a young man. His social media and hair obsession is a little odd but I don’t know where in the priorities of a professional footballer is meant to be the ironing out of ones personality.

Ronaldo Nazario never did, neither has Zlatan or Vieri or Romario. The issue with Paul Pogba is simple. He has the potential to be a Zidane-type player, to be a top-10 player of all time and yet, and this is all we have to go on, his persona is one of a person who is content to simply be very good. That is the issue.

When has it been acceptable to have the potential for greatness and settle for good? Few are blessed with that.  He has the potential to win not one, but multiple Ballon D’Or’s but he doesn’t seem to even care about winning a league title let alone determinedly stamping his signature on the history of the beautiful game. That’s the issue. In an age when public persona matters, and it does if you’re a superstar, the French midfielder doesn’t give off the right one.

Players who complain about this are out of touch. The reason they are paid so much is because of the public reach of sport provided by the media that televises it and has created such a large money-spinning industry around it.

If Paul Pogba was willing to take less money, turn over his endorsements and such then he could ask why people are making such a big deal about his public persona. Until then, he will have to share some of the responsibility and acknowledge the importance of media and presentation in his life.

For instance, how are there no stories about a Herculean work ethic to couple his public thirst for attention? Don’t say he doesn’t have that unquenchable thirst by the way. I’m not saying it’s bad or good. I’m just acknowledging that it simply exists.

There are no Cristiano Ronaldo-esque stories of extra 2-4 hours after training spent on free kicks after training. Not a single one of these stories has permeated Mourinho’s latest fortress at Carrington? Instead, during injury breaks, he’s flying to Miami and stories like this. It’s a problem, and it has to be acknowledged.

That’s why games like the Manchester Derby are so sad. When Paul Pogba shows up and wants to make a point, he can on his own beat teams as good as Pep’s Manchester City in a single half. He can beat in 45 minutes, because he certainly didn’t play the first half, one of the best teams in the history of the game. That has to be acknowledged. Paul Pogba’s talent DEMANDS a higher degree of dedication to excellence.

That then, is exactly the problem with Paul Pogba. Few are born with the ability to make such a firm mark on the history of the beautiful game.  Even fewer are born with the ability and personality to transcend it. Pogba can do both and yet for some reason has shown no more interest in doing that than using his Instagram to be the Kim Kardashian of world football.

No one is saying he’s not talented. No one is saying they don’t like him. I’m certainly not. I just want to see Paul Pogba make the sort of impression on the game that will have his great-grandchildren proud to talk about the name Pogba and what it means to the children on the schoolyard, and not simply looking at laughable videos on the internet.