TURIN, Italy (AP) — Paul Pogba will be looking to resurrect his career and bring success back to Juventus after completing his return to the storied Italian club on Monday in a remarkable piece of business for the Bianconeri.
Six years after selling Pogba to Manchester United for a then-world record fee of around 105 million euros ($116 million), Juventus has re-signed the France midfielder on a free transfer — again.
Pogba first joined Juventus in 2012, with the Italian club paying United only 800,000 pounds (around $1 million) in related compensation for a player who was then just a precocious teenager.
Now 29, Pogba has signed a four-year deal back at Juventus, reportedly turning down a higher salary at Paris Saint-Germain.
More than 1,000 fans welcomed Pogba back home when he arrived at the club's medical center on Saturday. They had begun gathering there since dawn and by the time their hero arrived there was a huge crowd, singing his name along with chants such as “who cares about Lukaku, we have Paul Pogba” — in a dig at bitter rival Inter Milan, which re-signed Romelu Lukaku from Chelsea last month.
Pogba was a fan favorite in his first spell at Juventus and helped the team win the Serie A title in each of his four seasons at the club. He also won two Italian Cup titles, and two Italian Super Cups, as well earning a Champions League runner-up medal in 2015, before returning to United.
His second stint at United was underwhelming, however, especially after joining with so much fanfare amid a series of glitzy videos.
Pogba made 226 appearances, scoring 39 goals, in six injury-affected years. During that time, he won the World Cup with France in 2018 but his performances for United never quite matched those for his national team, with United managers unable to find his best role.
He won two trophies — the League Cup and the Europa League — both in his first season back at United.
In his first spell, after joining the English team’s academy at the age of 16, Pogba played only seven games — all as a substitute — for the senior team before it ended sourly when he allowed his contract to run down and join Juventus.
Almost exactly 10 years later, he has signed again for Juventus and again as a free agent.
Pogba will be reunited with coach Massimiliano Allegri, who was in charge for the Frenchman’s last two seasons at Juventus.
Allegri returned last year — two years after being fired — to replace Andrea Pirlo. But Juventus finished the season in fourth for the second straight year.
Pogba is the second former United player Juventus has signed on a free transfer in recent days after midfielder Ángel Di María penned a one-year deal on Friday following seven years at PSG.
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The Associated Press