Paul Pogba helped lead France to a win in its first World Cup match but is facing plenty of pressure, despite having the backing of ex-teammate Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

By 90Min
June 17, 2018

French midfielder Paul Pogba has claimed that he's received "more criticism than any player in the world" ever since his huge transfer to Manchester United.

Pogba's comments came the morning after France's opening game of this World Cup tournament against Australia, which his side won 2-1. Pogba played an integral part in the game and was initially credited with the winning goal; a lobbed effort which took a deflection from Australia's Aziz Behich. 

However, while FIFA have since ruled the effort as an own goal, Pogba also played the pass through to Antoine Griezmann which led to France's first goal - which eventually came from the penalty spot.

France did however labor to their victory against Australia, with a number of their players labelled as below par. Pogba was one of them, coming in for some harsh words from the likes of BBC pundit Mark Lawrenson despite his match-altering contributions, and he's taken a heck of a lot of stick from other pundits, former players and on social media in the past.

Speaking to French outlet Téléfoot, Pogba spoke out on his treatment, though did also reveal manager Didier Deschamps had told his players that he expects more from them in the future.

He said: "I am less entitled to make mistakes than others. I went from the biggest transfer in the world to the most criticized player in the world. As the coach said, we have to do better.”

Pogba's feelings were echoed by his former teammate, Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The Swede, who now plays his football for LA Galaxy, was asked about Pogba while working as a pundit for beIN Sports.

Ibrahimovic said: "Pogba is controversial, the media always talks about him and I think this is out of jealousy.

"He has a big salary and always plays at the big matches and tournaments. He is the best midfielder in the world and because of that he has a lot of haters."

Ibrahimovic had previously identified Pogba and Paris Saint-Germain's Kylian Mbappé as the two players who would have the biggest impact on the tournament this summer.

FIFA asked Ibrahimovic who he believed would shine this summer, and said: "I think Pogba for sure, who everybody knows is fast and skilful. Mbappé, an up-and-coming star who still has more to give to get to the top, but he will for sure arrive there."

France will meet Peru in their next match in Group C, before finally finishing against Denmark. Pogba, just like the rest of France, will be hoping that his side can improve and comfortably qualify for the next round.

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