Paul Pogba has reflected on his future at Juventus, why he chose Serie A, how Milan was a possible turning point this term and on trying to beat Real Madrid.
The Frenchman has impressed in his opening work with the Bianconeri and has subsequently attracted speculation regarding his future.
“The fans of Juve are afraid of losing me? I am still not anyone. What have I done? Nothing in fact,” offered Pogba as reassurance in today’s edition of the Gazzetta dello Sport.
“I look to Pirlo and Buffon, and I know what it takes to be a true champion. Those two have won it all, they are greats, but they do not give an inch, even in training.
“Juve for life? Certain promises do not make sense, I will not kid anyone. How can I today determine my whole career? It makes no sense.
“And then I look at now and say that I am happy here in Turin, I love everything about this club - the managers, the Coaches, my teammates and the fans. And at the moment I do not see myself anywhere that isn’t Juventus.”
Pogba is into a second season with the Bianconeri having joined in 2012 after allowing his Manchester United contract to run down.
“Why did I choose Italy? Serie A is the university of football, especially at a tactical level. A midfielder who breaks through in Italy can really aspire to be the best in the world in his position.
“I said to myself: ‘Paul, Italy is the shortcut to a more secure breakthrough’. And then, of course, was the call of Juventus, one of the biggest clubs in the world…
“I am lucky and I lucked into Antonio Conte. I’m getting better every day. Conte works, hammers, he is not satisfied, hungry, and just wants to win.
“I could not ask for anything better as a teacher at this stage of my career. [France Coach Didier] Deschamps is also very similar to Conte.”
The midfielder considered his reference points in the game and at his current club.
“From the start my idol was Ricky Kaka, whilst I have modelled myself on two players - Yaya Toure and Abou Diaby, even in physical aspects. I am very similar to them.
“At Juve, Pirlo, Marchisio and Vidal are my references. In each training session I try to steal something from them.
“One can reach perfection with the technique of Claudio, the aggressiveness of Arturo and the brilliant and clean movement of Andrea.”
Juve are so far third in Serie A, two points behind leaders Roma.
“I have seen on TV the Giallorossi in particular, I have watched them, they are very strong, they have great players, but if we find our football then no-one can stop us.
“What are we still not getting right? We concede too many goals, often for our distractions, something that should not exist when you have the best defence in the world.
“Yes we are as strong as ever for who we have, this is a question of something in general. And to me it is clear - we need the Juve of last year, the one that went into the field to tear apart opponents, who hit and frightened everyone right from the start, that did not slow up for 90 minutes.
“We must wake up and immediately find the correct mentality - enough gifts, as you pay in the long run. But, I believe that we have…
“Indeed, after the 20 minutes where we were in trouble against Milan, in the League it may prove to be the right spark, the turning point of our season.”
In Europe, Juve are gearing up for a double-header against Real Madrid.
“We must pick up points against Real Madrid. I am not worried, we will beat Real Madrid at least once and advance from the group.
“We are Juve, we must never forget that. The history, prestige and quality of this club is not inferior to anyone. And for this reason I am not scared of Real Madrid.
“Juve are at the level of the largest clubs in Europe. We can win against Madrid.”
The 20-year-old was asked of his experiences with racism in Italy.
“The word ‘negro’ is badly used a little everywhere - in Italy, France, England, Spain and even in Africa there are forms of racism.
“Often it is sheer ignorance of people saying things that they do not understand. In general, however, it must be given high attention.
“Of course it is crazy to be here to talk about certain things in 2013. In the future I would like to become someone more credible in the fight against racism.”