One of the most expensive soccer players in the world has been benched and it's not clear why

Catherine Ivill/Getty ImagesManchester United star Paul Pogba and manager Jose Mourinho having an exchange during a recent English Premier League match.
  • One of the highest-profile players in soccer, Paul Pogba, did not start a high-profile match on Wednesday.
  • Pogba has been missing playing time amid rumours of tension between him and Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho.
  • At least one report claims Pogba is trying to leave Manchester United altogether.

Wednesday’s Champions League matchup between Manchester United and Sevilla FC once again featured the conspicuous absence of star midfielder Paul Pogba from the United starting lineup.

Sources told ESPN FC, ” . . . that Pogba had not been selected to face Sevilla, and it has been confirmed that Mourinho instead opts for a midfield three of Nemanja Matic, 21-year-old Scott McTominay and Ander Herrera, who has missed the last three games with a thigh injury.”

For a player of Pogba’s stature – it was only about a year-and-a-half ago that Pogba commanded a then world-record transfer fee when he signed with Manchester United – to not start in such an important match is an odd turn of events to say the least. That same ESPN FC report also notes that Pogba had been missing an unusually high amount of playing time over the past month.

This latest development adds credence to the rumours that have been circulating that there is tension between Pogba and United manager Jose Mourinho.

If the tension between the two is real, then it could spell the end of either Mourinho’s or Pogba’s tenure at the English powerhouse. In fact, Sports Illustrated reporter Grant Wahl wrote today that, “A source with firsthand knowledge says that Pogba’s representative . . . has been calling other top European clubs in the past week to try and persuade them to go after Pogba in the summer transfer market.”

If Pogba were to leave United, this would mark his second failed stint at the club, as was previously with the club from 2009 to 2012, but left when he found first team minutes hard to come by. Pogba returned to the club in 2016 in part because he felt he had “unfinished business” with United.

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