Monday’s Europa League round-of-32 draw must have come to Manchester United with an air of relief. They face French side Saint Etienne – February, next year – a team that is expected not to prove much of a threat either on paper or on the pitch.
A subset came with the news though: Paul Labile Pogba’s elder brother Florentin Pogba will line up against him when their respective teams lock horns in the first knockout round. The fact that they play in different leagues located in separate nations meant such pairing was never going to be inevitable.
Revealing how this is a dream come true for both, Florentin said “We’ve thought about it and it would be good to meet. I think we would have a laugh on the field…”
The 26-year old elder also chose to represent the Guinean national team – his place of birth – in a long list of things showing disparity between their choices and respective career paths.
While Paul revealed himself as a wonder kid at Le Havre before being snapped up by Manchester United and proceeding to Juventus to prove his worth before returning to Old Trafford, Florentin started out at Sedan tried his hand in Spain with Celta Vigo before settling down at Saint-Etienne. He’s been at the club since 2012.
An intimidating physique and a penchant for changing hairstyles like clothes are few of the things both brothers have in common.
Apart from being handed a relatively easy team, Manchester United will also be grateful for the distance they will travel when they face the Ligue 1 outfit as manager Jose Mourinho puts it:
“The good thing is the travel distance, we were very unlucky in the group phase, we had to go very far it was very difficult to go to Turkey, Ukraine.”