'Alien' Paul Pogba Has Become a 'Marketing Player,' Says Christophe Dugarry

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistApril 13, 2018

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - APRIL 07:  Paul Pogba of Manchester United celebrates victory after the Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at Etihad Stadium on April 7, 2018 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Michael Regan/Getty Images

Former France international Christophe Dugarry has criticised Manchester United star Paul Pogba for becoming a "marketing player" rather than showing his "alien" and "genius" capabilities on the pitch.

Dugarry, who made 55 appearances for France and won the 1998 FIFA World Cup and 2000 UEFA European Championship, was speaking on RMC and wants his compatriot to focus less on self-promotion in order to reach his true potential (h/t MailOnline's Alex Martin).

"He's an alien, a player out of the ordinary, but he annoys me because I know he's capable of doing a hundred times more," Dugarry said. "He's a genius, but when is he going to realise it? When he started becoming a marketing player, he lost that rage he had at Juventus."

Pogba previously attracted Dugarry's ire for agreeing to take part in a documentary following him ahead of the World Cup, a teaser for which he posted on social media:

Paul Pogba @paulpogba

Check out the first episode of the #PogSerie on @CanalFootClub 👊🏾 #PogbaMondial @canalplus #onestfou #fiersdetrebleus @equipedefrance https://t.co/GqQQxYeIDs

The first episode of Pogserie aired on French TV station Canal+ just hours after Pogba had been involved in Les Bleus' 3-2 defeat to Colombia, and Dugarry was unhappy:

"You are not starting for Manchester United. You just lost a game with the France national team. You send out this program that doesn't make sense. You have just lost. That tells us that you're not concentrating.

"Things aren't going well for you and you make us your Pogseries. What kind of madness is that?

"You just lost 2-3 against the Colombians and you were missing for an hour. You have a whole country behind you, a country that wants to do well at the World Cup, and you make these stupid things for us."

PARIS, FRANCE - MARCH 23: Paul Pogba of France during the International Friendly match between France and Colombia at Stade de France on March 23, 2018 in Paris, France. (Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images)
Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images

While the midfielder likely had little to do with the timing of the episode's release, and being part of such a venture is part and parcel of being a top-level player, many would agree with Dugarry's assessment that Pogba is capable of much more than he has shown this season.

The 25-year-old has produced five goals and 10 assists in all competitions, but his form for much of the campaign has been disappointing.

Though there are some mitigating factors—such as manager Jose Mourinho's seeming reluctance to utilise a system that better suits the France international—he must also take some responsibility. 

Football writer Tom McDermott was critical of Pogba after he put in an uninspired display in the first half against Manchester City on Saturday, as United were lucky to go in at the break only 2-0 down:

Tom McDermott @MrTomMcDermott

Re Pogba. I said months ago that I can’t remember more than 10 decent games he’s had for #MUFC. Moments in matches (second half #EFC away this season for example) but I expect a #MUFC midfielder to have more control in matches never mind big ones.

Two goals from Pogba in 97 seconds after half-time spearheaded United's comeback in the 3-2 win, though, prompting ESPN's Alex Shaw and football writer Liam Canning to note the midfielder's importance to the team:

Alex Shaw @AlexShawESPN

And yet again, plain for all to see: When Pogba is bad, United stink the place out. When he's on it, they're a side transformed. His importance is so ridiculous it's insane some people can't see it. He's obviously capable of more, but his quality is clear.

Liam Canning @LiamPaulCanning

Leaders stand up when their team is in trouble. Paul Pogba’s just done that. Lots of criticism around him, but when he makes runs forward, he really is class. Let him excel.

If Pogba is to fulfil his vast potential, he not only needs to produce such quality moments on a more consistent basis but also exert his influence throughout entire matches.

Achieving that would also be invaluable to both United and France, who both possess an abundance of talent but are perhaps less than the sum of their parts.