Paul Pogba return could kickstart Juventus season

ALVISE CAGNAZZO: Paul Pogba put 315 days of injury hell behind him to dominate midfield on his second Juventus debut, seven years after his last game for the Italian giants… in this form he could kickstart their season and lead Champions League charge

  • Paul Pogba made an impressive return from a long-term injury on Tuesday night 
  • Juventus’ French midfielder had not played for 315 days after a meniscus injury 
  • Pogba made his second Juventus debut in a 4-2 Derby della Mole win over Torino

May 21, 2016, the Italian Cup final Juventus won 1-0 against AC Milan at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome, was Paul Pogba’s last match in Italy.

On Tuesday, Pogba returned to the field with Juventus, 2,474 days – seven years – after his last appearance for the Old Lady following his transfer to Manchester United.

After a hugely prolonged absence for the French midfielder – 315 days since his last game, for United – he played more than 20 minutes of great physical intensity in the Derby della Mole against Torino, which Juve won 4-2.

He is now back on the pitch after a serious long-term meniscus knee injury, after 315 days of waiting and hoping, frustration and criticisms of a top player who has been inactive for many months after a couple of pre-season friendlies in America in July.

Pogba is still wearing the famous No 10 and his smile is as bright as the day he made his Serie A debut.

Paul Pogba put 315 days of injury hell behind him as he returned to the pitch for Juventus

The midfielder made his second debut for the Italian giants, seven years after his first one

Pogba came on in a 4-2 derby win against Torino and his return is a huge boost for Max Allegri

Juventus’ Allianz Stadium roared to welcome him back onto the pitch, showing their love for the hapless playmaker.

He came very close to scoring with a left-footed volley blocked by Torino defenders and earned the free kick from which Adrien Rabiot scored the fourth goal, which killed the game off and helped secure the three points for his side.


It is very unlikely Pogba will be 100 per cent fit, given his long inactivity, meaning boss Massimiliano Allegri and the medical team will have to manage him intelligently.

The next three months will be key in discerning whether Pogba is still the top player who prompted the Red Devils to spend around £90million him or the injury-prone player who struggles for consistency. 

Juventus want him to show real discipline in training and genuine quality on the pitch after waiting patiently for six months for his return.

He must get back up to full match fitness as soon as possible because fourth place – and the final Champions League spot – is only currently 10 points away.

The Pogba effect, pending the Italian courts’ final decision on the 15-point deduction handed to the club, could represent an important upgrade to kickstart Juventus’ season and lead the charge for European football.

Former Manchester United star Pogba dominated the midfield in his 21-minute cameo and his return to action could kickstart Juventus’ season and lead the Champions League charge

He combined well with compatriot Adrien Rabiot (right) in a 4-3-3 formation used by Allegri

Pogba clapped the Old Lady supporters at the end of the game and, at that moment, the anger and frustration of his prolonged absence with a knee injury seemed a long way behind him


In just 21 minutes, Pogba dominated midfield, winning many fouls and fighting for every ball as if it were his last. 

Enzo Barrenechea did not capitalise on being given his full Serie A debut and Pogba outshone the young Argentine in his short cameo.

His introduction saw Allegri position Adrien Rabiot as a deep-lying playmaker with Pogba and Nicolo Fagioli as more advanced No 8s.

All three of those are attack-minded players, but the Italian withrew Rabiot to protect the defence, leaving Pogba (and Fagioli) free to attack the half-spaces in the Torino defence.

Weston McKennie’s January departure to Leeds and Pogba’s return, along with the development of youngsters Fagioli and Fabio Miretti, has seen the Juventus midfield shift from a more muscular unit to a talented, technically gifted group.

Pogba took several kicks from the Torino defenders but always got up smiling – showing for him, returning to action is a cure for the unhappiness of recent years and his actions on the pitch prove his great love for the fans. 

At the end of the game he greeted the supporters warmly and celebrated the victory with them.

At that moment, the anger of the days of his injury seemed a long way behind him.

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