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Juventus hope to honour Heysel disaster victims with trophy


Paul Pogba

Paul Pogba

AFP/Getty Images

Paul Pogba

Juventus hope to dedicate a victory in the Champions League final to the victims of the Heysel disaster.

The Italian side play Barcelona in tonight's final in Berlin, 30 years after 39 supporters - mainly from Juventus - lost their lives when Liverpool fans rioted in the Heysel Stadium in Brussels.

Before the final, Juve defender Leonardo Bonucci said: "As regards the Heysel tragedy, I went to a commemoration last week for the victims.

"The memory of what happened there is a further stimulus for us because we hope to dedicate the victory to those who lost their lives that night."

Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri added: "Heysel will always be one of the dark pages of football history - and not just for Juventus but all football. For us, it is important to remember the victims and commemorate their deaths."

The Champions League final will also be the climax of Paul Pogba's time at Juventus; his likely last match after a trophy-laden three years.

A priority for Real Madrid, Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City, whoever buys him may not be getting much change from £73m, but will be getting a truly remarkable player.

The move is likely to be contested and controversial, but so has each of the four moves of Pogba's career so far. It all started in 2006 when he was 13, and the president of his local side, US Roissy-en-Brie, decided he would be better off at nearby Torcy, infuriating his coaches.

When Le Havre complained that Manchester United had stolen Pogba from them in 2009 - a Fifa-appointed judge eventually cleared United - Torcy complained that Le Havre had done the same thing to them two years before.

Pogba, from this brief but peripatetic career, is now a remarkable player, futuristically complete in his mastery of almost every side of the game. He has developed in three countries, learning in every one, and yet is likely to captain France long before he ever plays a Ligue 1 match.

His is the story of a very modern football education, a young man on the move but always with his eyes on the very top.

Paul and his two elder brothers, Mathias and Florentin, were driven hard by their father, and they toughened each other up too.

Pogba was 16 when he left France to join United. He started to train with the first team and, although his breakthrough never came, his commitment to learning was clear. Paul Scholes spoke of Pogba's confidence to ask senior players for advice, and his "desperation" to make it.

"He spoke to me about improving his range of passing," Scholes explained. "So after training we would spend time pinging the ball to each other from 50 yards' distance. He had stronger suits to his game than his long passing, but he was determined to get better at it."

In 2012 he signed for Juve. He had never played senior league football but took to it with ease, holding his own in a midfield that included Arturo Vidal and Andrea Pirlo, winning three consecutive Scudetti.

Pogba said: "I try to steal something in every training session. I try to take on Arturo's aggression, or the passing of Andrea."

Belfast Telegraph