Deep into his second season at Manchester United, Paul Pogba has firmly established himself as one of the biggest creators in world football. Pogba is a player that makes things happen – and Manchester United have felt his absence through injury in recent weeks – and he's grown to be the heartbeat of his club on and off the pitch.
With his status cemented as one of the Premier League's most influential athletes, adidas Football has called on Pogba's creativity to develop his second capsule collection with the Three Stripes. Inspired by his love of music and African heritage, Season 2 of adidas Football x Paul Pogba demonstrates why the Frenchman is football's biggest creative.
We went behind the scenes at the collection's promotional shoot in Manchester to sit down with Paul Pogba to unwrap the collection, his status as your favourite rapper's favourite player and his friendship with Romelu Lukaku.
"Music is a huge passion of mine and that’s one of the most creative industries in the world, so I take a lot of inspiration from that."
COMPLEX: What does it mean to you to have this collection with adidas?
Paul Pogba: Fashion has always been as big a part of my life as football has. Working with adidas I have been able to create something that is personal and unique to my style. It’s been a new and interesting experience so I’m excited to see what people think of the collection.
How much creative freedom do you get when working on projects like this?
A lot! The adidas designers gave me the freedom when designing the pieces to really put my own style on the collection. They wanted me to be involved throughout the project so the clothing reflected my personality and I’m really proud of what we created together.
What do you like about the new collection and what are your favourite pieces?
I was able to include references to the fashion I love to wear. I love the whole range but my favourite piece is the ‘Paris’ jersey with the camo print.
How important is creativity to you, on and off the pitch?
Creativity is a huge part of my game as a player, it helps open doors which others don’t see. We’re lucky at United to have lots of players with great creativity, which pushes me to be better and helps me improve as well. Off the pitch, I like to be creative with my style. I like to try new looks and new haircuts, it’s part of who I am. I try to not take myself too seriously and just have fun when I’m not playing. Music is a huge passion of mine and that’s one of the most creative industries in the world, so I take a lot of inspiration from that too.
This new collection inspired by music, tell me about the sounds you're enjoying right now.
There’s a lot good music out right now, but Drake, Travis Scott, Future are ones who are always on my playlist. Being in Manchester I’m listening to more UK grime, people like Stormzy and Mist...yeah, they’re cool.
Tell me about the story behind the video for 'Outlet' you worked on with Desiigner?
Working on the video with Desiigner was a lot of fun and a really cool experience. He came over to Old Trafford to film with me and we ran wild! It was cool to bring a musician into my world and let them see where I work but it was cool for me to see how he works. He’s got a lot of energy just naturally but when it comes to his work he takes it to that next level!
Birmingham rapper Mist has also been doing some work with Manchester United and adidas recently. What do you think of his work?
I’m a big fan! Grime generally is one of my favourite genres at the moment and Mist is killing it right now.
Why do you think so many rappers – from Stormzy to Desiigner – have wanted to work with you in the past year or so?
You’d have to ask them! No, it’s always an honour to get the opportunity to work with such talented people in music and other industries. Playing for a huge club like Manchester United certainly helps because it reaches out all over the world to all kinds of people. I’d also like to think that these artists recognise the same creativity in my game and my style that they bring to their fields.
"Romelu has been a good friend of mine for a long time and it’s great that he’s come in and settled so well."
What do you think about the fanfare surrounding your goal celebrations? How much pressure do you put on yourself to think of new ones?
I don’t think of it as pressure at all, it’s just fun for me. Having fun and expressing yourself is what football is all about and that’s what the celebrations mean to me. If people like them that’s good, but really it’s just about me having fun and enjoying the game.
Talk a little bit about the impact Romelu Lukaku has had on the dressing room. It seems like you and him are pretty tight...
Romelu has been a good friend of mine for a long time and it’s great that he’s come in and settled so well with the rest of the guys in the dressing room. He’s been a great addition for our team. Already you can see that he is scoring important goals and causing problems for defenders.
How happy are you at Manchester United right now? Both on and off the pitch.
I’m very happy! The squad get on really well together, and there is always a good atmosphere at training. But we are just focussed on the job of bringing trophies to Manchester United. I think that this squad is up for the challenge.
We're only months away from the World Cup. Have you started to think about that yet?
Of course, as a player you dream of playing at the World Cup from an early age I’m no different! But before that I’ve got a season with Manchester United to focus on, and as I’ve said we’ve got our sights set on silverware for the club this season. So the next game for my club team is the most important thing for me at the moment.
What other athletes and sports do you enjoy and take inspiration from?
I’ve got an appreciation for lots of different sports, but in particular the American sports. There are some absolutely incredible athletes out there and I’ve been able to meet a few in the last few years – Odell (Beckham Jnr) is a cool guy who I’ve hung out with before. We have similar interests in fashion and music, so it’s fun to hang out when we can.
What's next for you and your relationship with adidas?
More creativity! I’ve really enjoyed working on this collection, adidas and I have got a partnership where co-creation is something we’re always working towards. So be ready for more projects in the future.
The adidas Football X Paul Pogba Capsule Collection II is available via adidas.com/pogba_collection and in selected adidas stores worldwide from Wednesday 25 November.