I’m grumpy. This is my first review in months, and I’m writing about Le Pogmentaire — The Pogmentary — a 5-episode Amazon series on Paul Pogba that has no purpose other than branding. Save yourself a few hours and just watch the trailer — that’s pretty much the whole show.
Amazon announced the series in Apr-2021, and it seems the cameras followed him around for a year and then — gave up. After a post-WC 2018 dip in his career, Summer 2021 expected to see France win the 2020 Euros (delayed one year due to COVID). And 2021 was the last year of his 6-year contract at Manchester United; where was he going to go next? Who was going to sign “Le footballeur le plus cher au monde” — the world’s most expensive footballer??
Unfortunately for both Pogba and the story, Pogba started the 2021 Premier League season well, but got injured in November. And ManU was experiencing its own self-inflicted injuries and terminal illnesses: a pile of debt, bringing back Cristiano Ronaldo, running through 3 coaches in one season, helping to orchestrate the breakaway European Super League, and losing its front office (maybe a good thing). By the end of the season, ManU in a state of decision disability, announced on Jun-1-2022, that its big ticket players were leaving as free transfers.
The fact that Pogba, just 2 weeks before this series was released, had no apparent place to go, is probably due to the death of Mino Raiola, his super agent. But if anything strikes you in this series, it is that Pogba, like Neymar, is maybe not that into football anymore.
Pogba is about being a Dad, being a celebrity influencer, maybe becoming an actor, and becoming an American businessman athlete like LeBron. Basketball after all, is his favorite sport after soccer. With all the animations of himself, it also feels like Pogba wants to be a cartoon super hero. Good luck to him.
It’s hard to even watch the first 2 episodes of this series because Pogba is so introverted and isolated. He spends a lot of time in his closet, which is the size of most living rooms. And the soccer? There is so very little, presumably because no one wanted to pay for the broadcast rights.
Or is it because, like the Neymar series, Pogba does not have a lot of football highlights to show? Pogba might have been the most expensive footballer in the world, but he’s clearly not the best.
It’s shocking to realize that Pogba is only 1 year younger than Neymar, who is clearly coming to an early end to his playing career. It feels like Pogba will arrive in MLS sooner than Neymar and Messi. The series shows Pogba visiting Blaise Matuidi’s home in Miami and wearing Blaise’s Inter Miami FC jersey. But it leaves out that fact that Inter Miami flagrantly violated MLS rules when it signed Matuidi, and Matuidi was removed from the 2022 roster.
I wrote in my Neymar review that the man didn’t come close to being the next Pelé, he was really the Brazilian Beckham. By analogy, Pogba is the French Neymar.
Mino Raiola shines
The only entertaining part of this series is the footage of Mino Raiola. The guy is a charmer and it’s not possible to dislike him, even though he may have single-handedly ruined football. The best quote about his business approach is:
“The Mercato – there are only so much pieces of art in the world. You have 20 people who want to buy one Pogba.”– Mino Raiola
IMDB rating 1.8
I know the series only just came out, but it has the lowest rating I’ve ever noticed on IMDB: 1.8. It turns out that Black Dynamite Production is also responsible for 2 other soccer movies I’ve reviewed: the very bad Anelka, Misunderstood and Les Bleus, which I enjoyed but thought had some implicit bias.
Update on Sep-4-2022: I want to mention The Athletic’s review of the series, which takes a more analytic view of Pogba’s value on the pitch as a footballer. Author Oliver Kay shares some similar views of the series, but his expertise contributes this useful insight on one reason Pogba failed at ManU:
“Even when United were negotiating Pogba’s world-record transfer in the summer of 2016, a significant part of their sales pitch to him and to Raiola was about what the club could do for the player’s brand and vice versa. It always looked like a commercial arrangement first and a football arrangement second.”Oliver Kay for the Athletic
As we know by now, Pogba ended up returning to Juventus on a free transfer.
4 Soccer Movie Mom Rating = 4