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Paul 'Madiba' Pogba On Facing Up To Fergie

Paul Pogba says that his team-mates at Juventus call him ‘Nelson Mandela’ because of the way he stood up to Alex Ferguson at Manchester United.

The former United manager was miffed when the highly-rated young Frenchman ditched the Red Devils for The Old Lady.

But Pogba says he was always upfront with Fergie over his desire to play. And when Paul Scholes came out of retirement and his own game time became limited, Pogba stood up to Fergie’s protests and pushed through his move to the Serie A.

The United manager even tried to turn Pogba against the notion of playing in Italy due to the racism that occurs there, but the headstrong 20-year-old would not be swayed.

"I never disrespected Sir Alex Ferguson, if anything it is the opposite, because I said things to his face," he told France Football.

"When I knew of Paul Scholes' return I understood that I would find it difficult to play and that I had to leave United.

"Ferguson told me that in Italy there is a lot of racism and that the fans were not like the Premier League's. I told him that there was no problem for me so I ended up on the team's fringes.

"My team-mates gave me the nickname of Nelson Mandela because I was opposed to Ferguson. But I would say no to Obama too.

"Conte, instead, told me that age is not important and that the best players would play. I want to become the best in the world and win the Ballon d'Or."

Pogba’s move has worked out well for him.

United may have won the Premier League, but he had no way of knowing if he would even have featured.

Meanwhile, he has his own league winner’s medal at Juve, and a burgeoning reputation in European and international football.

He even has a nickname linking him to one of history’s greatest heroes.

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