SPORTS: POGBA TIPS IBRAHIMOVIC, HAZARD, NEYMAR AND SUAREZ TO BREAK MESSI AND RONALDO STRANGLEHOLD

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The Manchester United midfielder says the
dominance of major prizes cannot last
forever, but claims he is “far away” from
winning FIFA’s ‘The Best’ award
Paul Pogba believes Zlatan Ibrahimovic,
Eden Hazard, Neymar and Luis Suarez are
the most likely candidates to break the
dominance of Lionel Messi and Cristiano
Ronaldo on football’s top individual
prizes.
Either Messi or Ronaldo has claimed the
last nine Ballons d’Or while both are up
for the newly-created FIFA Best award,
announced on Monday, after stellar years
in 2016.

And, while Pogba does not necessarily
think their stranglehold is due to end any
time soon, he insists there are plenty of
players who could challenge the
established order in the years to come.
Asked when he thinks Messi and
Ronaldo’s dominance may end, he told
FIFA.com : “When they stop scoring goals,
and they stop playing at the level that they
are – or when you have other players who
will play as well as them, or even better.
“Even if they are as good as Cristiano
Ronaldo or Lionel Messi, the style, the way
they play, the way they act off the pitch,
it’s more than football now, I would say.
“When you have someone who can go
above them, into that level on the pitch
and outside the pitch that’s when it will
happen. I don’t know when though because
they’re still at the highest level.
“This is football, I love seeing them play, I
love seeing them score goals, they make
me love football even more. When I see
them, it makes me improve even more. It
makes me want to try to catch them.”
Ibrahimovic, Hazard, Neymar and Suarez
were all put forward as challengers by
Pogba.

He said: “Of course, there are other players
who can do that. We have Zlatan
[Ibrahimovic] at Manchester United. Even
he could do it. He’s 35 years old, but the
way he’s playing, the way he’s scoring
goals, you can see that he’s been in the
top level for more than 10 years.
“[Eden] Hazard, Neymar, [Luis] Suarez are
doing so well and scoring goals, these are
great players who – if they keep scoring –
can do that. They need to keep scoring
though, because that’s the case with
Cristiano and Messi, whose performances
are always on top.”
Pogba had a strong 2016, helping
Juventus to a fifth successive Serie A
crown and reaching the final of Euro 2016
with France before returning to United in
August for a world record fee.

Despite his achievements, he says is not
close to competing for The Best or Ballon
d’Or.
“I’m still far away,” he added.
“It’s good to be in the top 10, five or three
but that’s not really what I’m about.

“If I’m in the top three, I want to be the
number one – so that means I’m still very
far away.
“I have to keep working hard and playing
well because I don’t like to be second, or
third, they’re the worst places to be. You
would be proud, of course, because it
means you’re on the way, but you want to
finish first.”

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Posted in Sports

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