France can have a ball with Pogba
FRANCE have high hopes for an exciting young team going into the European Championship finals on home soil, and no player embodies its essence better than Juventus star Paul Pogba.
He is a brilliant midfielder and an inspiration to youngsters in a racially diverse France, the son of migrants from Guinea who grew up in a Paris suburban housing estate and left to become a superstar at one of Europe's biggest clubs.
"He is a great player, he's young and people really like him off the field," France coach Didier Deschamps told La Gazzetta dello Sport last year.
Like Deschamps, Michel Platini and David Trezeguet before him, Pogba is flying the French flag at Juventus. But the Italian champions may not be able to keep the 23-year-old much longer with Europe's wealthy giants all hovering.
Barcelona, Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain have all been linked with him.
L'Equipe newspaper said Chelsea tried to tempt Juventus with a 95 million euro (S$148 million) offer last year.
The value of Pogba as an asset is widely recognised.
Sportswear firm adidas recently signed him up to a 10-year deal worth a reported four million euros per year.
It has been a remarkable rise for a player who initially started having kickabouts with his elder twin brothers Florentin and Matthias in the neighbourhood of La Renardiere.
Pogba also won the Italian Cup last season and played for the Bianconeri as they reached the Champions League final only to lose to Barcelona.
He was the outstanding player as France won the under-20 World Cup in 2013, having made his full international debut for Les Bleus against Georgia in March that year just days after his 20th birthday.
He has now won 29 caps and will likely line up alongside Blaise Matuidi and Lassana Diarra in the French midfield at the Euros.