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Pogba says terror attacks ‘not Islam’

Manchester United’s French midfielder Paul Pogba celebrates with the Europa League trophy © AFP/File / Soren Andersson

LONDON, United Kingdom, Jun 30The world’s most expensive footballer Paul Pogba says the four terror attacks that have killed dozens and left scores injured in England this year have nothing to do with religion.

The 24-year-old Manchester United star — who is Muslim and went on a pilgrimage to Islam’s holiest site in Mecca after the end of the season — told the latest issue of Esquire magazine people must not give in to terror.

The French international — who also lost his father Fassou in May — was inspirational in the Europa League final that took place two days after a suicide bomber blew himself up at the end of a pop concert at the Manchester Arena.

United beat Ajax 2-0 with Pogba, who scored the second, dedicating the victory to the 22 victims and the scores who were injured.

“It’s a very difficult moment but you cannot give up. We can’t let them get in our heads — we have to fight for it,” he said.

“Sad things happen in life but you cannot stop living. You cannot kill a human being. To kill a human being — it’s something crazy, so I don’t want to put religion on it.

“This is not Islam and everybody knows that. I won’t be the only one saying that.”

Pogba, who also won the League Cup in his first season back at United, said he drew his sense of fun from his father, who died aged 79.

“When you lose someone you love, you don’t think the same way,” he said.

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“That’s why I say I enjoy life, because it goes very fast.

“I remember when I was talking to my dad and now he’s not here.

“He was a very strong man, very stubborn as well. He fought, but at his age it’s not easy.

“Every time you had time with him you were laughing. Very clever as well, because he was a professor. You have to remember the happy things.”

On the footballing side Pogba said that criticism of his performances in not living up to the weight of being the most expensive player in the sport was water off a duck’s back.

“After one week, I forgot,” said Pogba, who United paid £89.3 million ($114 million) in August 2016 from Italian club Juventus.

“It’s people that reminded me.

“Because, at the end of the day, when you die, the most expensive and the less expensive, they go in the same grave. So I don’t even think about it.”

Pogba, who also dismissed the sniping at the overall performances of Jose Mourinho’s side saying they may not always have played well but they still won three trophies, admitted his first spell at United aged just 16 he hadn’t been able to settle due to not understanding then manager Alex Ferguson.

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“No! No, I couldn’t. At first, I couldn’t,” he said referring to the Scot’s accent.

“I couldn’t even understand my teammates with their Mancunian accents.

“My friends right now, they laugh at me. They say, ‘Oh, I remember the first days you couldn’t speak and now — you speak Mancunian with the accent!’ So it’s funny.”

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