Manchester United star Paul Pogba has hit back at his critics by declaring: “No one can tell me how to play.”
Ahead of the World Cup in Russia, there are serious doubts over whether or not Pogba will start for France in their opening game against Australia.
In a recent poll in popular magazine France Football, 73% of the readers voted for the 25-year-old to be dropped after a poor performance against Italy in a recent friendly.
The former Juventus man was jeered by the supporters in Nice and his substitution was met with ironic cheers by the crowd.
However, in an interview with the aforementioned magazine, the £89 million man hit back at his critics – suggesting he shouldn’t be treated any differently to Lionel Messi when he walks on the pitch.
He said: “I’ve always been like that. When I’ve won, I’ve won being like that. That’s my style of play.
“You’re not going to criticise Messi when he walks on the park.
“If he scores three goals are you going to say: ‘Ah but he’s walking on the pitch?’ No. You can’t tell me how to play.
“If I’m here today, it’s as I am. No one has told me how I must behave. That’s my football, that’s all.
“People can like it or not. Do I need this to be loved? Do I need people to judge me differently? Or do they talk better about me?”
Since his record-breaking return to Old Trafford from Serie A, Pogba has faced scrutiny from fans and sections of the media for his social media activity and his constant hair-changing.
Pogba’s most recent trip to the barbers was met with surprise at just how simple it what was compared to previous efforts
Despite getting 10 Premier League assists and scoring six goals, the midfielder was still dropped by Jose Mourinho towards the latter end of the season.
But the France international insists he doesn’t need love, just the freedom to play his football.
“I’m not going to live on what people think, for them to say that I’m nice, good, the best, perfect,” he added.
“Everyone has their opinion. And I respect that.
“I play football, I do what I like. My relatives support me, they’re more important.
“We can’t love everyone and be loved by everyone. That would be perfection and nothing is perfect in this world.
“I’m not going to be offended if someone says: ‘I don’t love you.’ That’s your right. You don’t have to love me.”