Paul Pogba insists his £89million transfer fee made him into “another player” and reckons his hairstyles and body language make him a scapegoat.
Speaking in a podcast with The Times, the Manchester United star opened up on dealing with the his world-record move back to Old Trafford and defended his record in the face of criticism.
And the flamboyant midfielder, 26, is desperate to continue being the same Paul Pogba with his child-like enthusiasm and love for the beautiful game.
He said: “I become another player because of the transfer.
“Because it was the biggest transfer of history at the time, you get judged differently.
“You expect more because of the price tag. A good game becomes a normal game, a top game will be a good game.”
Pogba has always been a creative player in midfield, desperate to produce a moment of magic.
This season the ex-Juventus man scored 13 Premier League goals – the first time he has hit double figures in a league season – and also provided nine assists, topping the charts in both categories for Manchester United.
But many were still unhappy at his performances under previous boss Jose Mourinho and he again failed to deliver towards the end of the season following a brief uplift in form under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
It followed a successful summer where he helped crown France the world champions with a fine tournament in Russia.
Now Real Madrid and Juventus are considering trying to sign him, with Los Blancos chiefs meeting with United to begin talks.
He added: “I always play like that and, thank God, I won the World Cup like that.
“Body language, haircut, all these things is just to speak.
“Since I was a kid I play like this. It’s not a problem when we win. Only when we lose or if I have a bad performance it becomes a problem.
“I am still the Paul I used to be as a kid.
“I grow, I become taller, but I am the same person who follows his dream.
“People will love me like that. People will hate me like that.”
But while it is often fun and games with Pogba, he is also well aware of what is going on around him and in wider society.
Unfortunately, one issue that blotted this season was racism and the rise in high-profile incidents, both abroad but also very much in England as well.
Some players believe the best way to respond if they are racially abused would be to walk off the pitch and refuse to carry on.
Pogba, though, disagrees.
He said: “Leave the pitch? You want to play, you want to score for your team.
“And at the end they [racist abusers] will come and ask for a picture.”