Paul Pogba has come along way from sharing a bed with four relatives in his mother’s small apartment in the Paris suburbs.
The Manchester United star remains close with his family but can now afford his own house and pretty much anything else he fancies, including reportedly buying his mother a mansion in her native Guinea.
Pogba, one adidas’ key marketing figures with his own branded line, has gone from growing up with little in the way of extravagance to the front cover of Esquire as a modern fashion icon.
As someone says he enjoyed a childhood, where he did not have much but wanted for nothing, his first big purchase as a professional footballer comes with a cautionary tale.
In his cover profile with the men’s fashion title he revealed: ‘This I will always remember all my life. I was 18 or 19 and I bought my first pair of Louboutins; they were white. I bought two pairs, actually.
‘I didn’t go out for one month after that, I didn’t buy anything, I was so shocked. I said, “I’ll never buy any Louboutins again”.
‘It was funny because when you know the value of money, when people don’t have money, you feel a bit weird.
You feel, “Wow, it’s a lot of money for a pair of shoes.” Life goes fast, so do something that makes you happy and just enjoy life, but it doesn’t mean you forget about other people.’
Adding: ‘Guess what? I got robbed in Italy and they stole my shoes. So please, the guy who robbed me, can you send me the shoes, please? It’s very important for me. Keep the rest, just bring the shoes.’
Pogba’s might not describe his path Roissy-en-Brie to United as rags to riches but it was certainly humble.
Discussing his early life, he said: ‘I grew up — how do you say this? — in the hood. With my friends, playing football. I really loved football from a young age. And my only thought, my only objective in life, was to be a professional footballer.’
Adding later: ‘We were sleeping three, four, five people in one bed. But it was the best time, because we were all together, so it was very good.
‘To be honest, I’ll never complain because we had water, we had some food. I had some clothes, even if it wasn’t the best. I would never say I was poor because when I se other people, I think, “I was rich”.’
By Tom Bassam for Mail