Manchester United manager, Jose Mourinho has heaped praises on Paul Pogba, claiming he is on the same level as Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar following his performance against Barcelona.
Mourinho’s men ended their pre-season tour of the United States with a 1-0 loss to Barcelona at the International Champions Cup, but Pogba did impress for the Premier League giants.
While United were outplayed for large periods of the match, Pogba showed why the Red Devils broke the world-record transfer fee to lure him back to Old Trafford last year with his athleticism and skill against Barca.
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Mourinho thereafter lauded the 24-year-old France international in his post-match speech, saying: “With Messi and Neymar, there is only one [of each]. There are not two. [Luis] Suarez, [Andres] Iniesta, [Gerard] Pique, Ronaldo, [Gareth] Bale, [Luka] Modric, Toni Kroos, there is only one of them. So they can only play for one club and not two. We cannot have them. They belong to the clubs.
“You can be working very hard tactically to improve your team, to improve your players, but some players are special and against that nature there is nothing you can do. In the real matches you try to compensate the difference in quality with a certain tactical organisation, and with that you can win.
“In football it is possible for a team to be better than the sum of the parts. But the parts are amazing. Their relationship with the ball is amazing. You can argue about the occupation of space, tactics and compact blocks, but the player’s relationship with the ball is still the most important thing. Even as an opponent on the bench like I am, it is beautiful to see the guys’ relationship with the ball.
“Today, one of my players, Paul Pogba, showed the level. He showed that he belongs at that level.”
After finishing sixth in the Premier League last season, United now seek to return to the summit of English football in 2017-18.