Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba revealed he was an Arsenal supporter growing up because of Gunners great Thierry Henry and their French contingent.
Pogba is in his second spell with United, having previously joined the Red Devils as a 16-year-old from Le Havre in 2009 before leaving for Juventus three years later and returning for a then-world record fee in 2016.
But Pogba had an early affection for Premier League rivals Arsenal, telling United’s official podcast: “I will be honest. So, at the start, I was an Arsenal fan – obviously because of all the French players, you know.
“Me and my brother were but my other brother was a Manchester United fan. I couldn’t say anything so I used to love Henry and, because of him, I was an Arsenal fan. Then I changed and went on to choose with my other brother. No Arsenal, I went with the other one, the United fan!”
Pogba – who continues to be linked with an Old Trafford exit – also explained his decision to leave United for Serie A champions Juventus in 2012.
“It was a very difficult decision for me, with the manager as well and everything with the contract,” the France World Cup winner said. “It wasn’t the contract but more like the trust with the manager [Alex Ferguson].
“Obviously, the manager, for me, is still the best manager in history. When they asked me to sign the contract, if I didn’t sign, a lot of things happened. I didn’t train, I went back to training by myself and stuff like this.
“It made me a bit angry and was nothing about the money. It’s just about you’re a player, we believe in you, you believe in you and, me, I just want to play football. That is all I want. I want to play. When I had, like I’ve said before, the chance to play or to come on in this game against Blackburn, that’s when really I had heartbreak.
“There was no midfield here – people were injured, [Paul] Scholes wasn’t there, I think he’d retired already and it was before he came back. Rafael played in midfield with Park Ji-sung and I didn’t come on in this game. We lost the game. I was on the bench warming up and I thought I would come on and it was a big opportunity for me. I didn’t and things happen.
“The manager has a choice in everything but that day is when I had my heart broken. I told Pat [Evra] that was the chance, I’d been training with him and he’d been talking to me and saying I would have a chance. But that happened, I didn’t play and I was kind of upset.
“So I went to Juventus, which was a hard decision for me. Hard because it was going to another club as well where I was obviously not as one of the starting XI but I’ve got to come as a young player. A young, talented player and you have to show yourself again. I went and it was a big challenge for me. I said: ‘Go for it, no problem. I want to show I am ready to play for the team’.”