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Allegri: Maybe Pogba left because I beat him at basketball!

Massimiliano Allegri has joked that Paul Pogba decided to leave Juventus because he lost to his head coach at football and basketball challenges.

Manchester United signed the France international in a world-record £89million deal this month and he is expected to make his second debut for the Premier League side when they face Southampton on Friday.

Allegri revealed he had not had the chance to speak to Pogba since his Juve exit, but spoke positively about their relationship and jested over the possible reasons for leaving.

“We didn’t speak because among other things he was in America until the day before he went to Manchester,” Allegri said.

“We had a very good relationship, like I do with all the players.

“Maybe he was still hurting because he lost to me in a challenge at football and basketball, so it was for that reason he decided to leave Juventus!”

Fiorentina are the visitors to Turin on Saturday as Juve begin the new Serie A campaign looking to win the Scudetto for the sixth year in succession, with Allegri wary over his side’s tough start to the campaign.

The head coach said: “This year, once again, we had five new players coming in and we’ve only had 17 days to work together, so we’ll certainly need a bit of time.

“That’s why in the first few matches, over and beyond the question of playing well, we need an important approach in terms of character. These are difficult games, all the more so because we are at the beginning of the season.

“Fiorentina is just such a game. You can tell by looking at them last year, and by their statistics, that they always do well in the first half of the season.

“They’re a brilliant team and they changed nobody. They still have the same players they did last year, so they’ll have an advantage compared to us. It will be difficult.

“I won’t be talking about the transfer market, but the club is speaking with its actions and doing a great job to boot. We’ve brought in some great players, we’re a different team from last year.

“We have 15 days to complete the squad, then there are players on other teams who I don’t want to talk about at all.”

Fri 19 Aug, 2016
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