International Champions Cup 2019

Red Devils make a splash at the bay

Paul Pogba showing off his ball-juggling tricks at a sponsor's event at The Float @ Marina Bay.
Paul Pogba showing off his ball-juggling tricks at a sponsor's event at The Float @ Marina Bay.ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH
Red Devils (in blue, from left) Jesse Lingard, Nemanja Matic and Eric Bailly cheering with fans at an event organised by Chivas Regal at The Clifford Pier, Fullerton Bay Hotel.
Red Devils (in blue, from left) Jesse Lingard, Nemanja Matic and Eric Bailly cheering with fans at an event organised by Chivas Regal at The Clifford Pier, Fullerton Bay Hotel. ST PHOTO: ONG WEE KIAT
United players (from left) Andreas Pereira, Marcos Rojo, Angel Gomes and Matteo Darmian playing table football with fans at The Maybank Manchester United Tour 2019 held at Suntec City.
United players (from left) Andreas Pereira, Marcos Rojo, Angel Gomes and Matteo Darmian playing table football with fans at The Maybank Manchester United Tour 2019 held at Suntec City.PHOTO: PENALTY SPEEDSHOT
Manchester United fans at The Float @ Marina Bay.
Manchester United fans at The Float @ Marina Bay.ST PHOTO: ONG WEE KIAT

Pogba and Co. at their charming best as fans get up close and personal with favourite stars

If you were in the Marina Bay area yesterday afternoon, chances are you probably caught a glimpse of a Manchester United player.

The English Premier League side painted the town red a day after defeating Inter Milan 1-0 in the International Champions Cup (ICC), with players making appearances at a number of public events in Singapore's downtown centre.

The Red Devils' midfield star Paul Pogba held court at an Adidas event at the Marina Bay Floating Platform, along with teammates Juan Mata and Aaron Wan-Bissaka.

Contrary to reports in England that he is seeking an exit from the club, Pogba, 26, was in charming mood as he interacted with almost 1,000 adoring supporters.

While he was the only member of the trio not to take questions from the media before the event, his body language on stage suggested that he was more than happy.

He was all smiles when he took part in two challenges alongside local football icon Fandi Ahmad and freestyle football artist Terence Ong from the Urban Street Team.

First, the trio were tasked to juggle a rattan "sepak takraw" ball, and Pogba fully immersed himself in the task, asking Fandi beforehand what the sport entails.

Later, they had to come up with a routine to show off skills on the ball - and their creative performance earned the loudest cheers, beating out efforts from Mata's and Wan-Bissaka's trios, that featured Adidas-endorsed Singapore players Shahdan Sulaiman, Jacob Mahler and Christopher van Huizen.

HE'S THE JUAN

Follow Juan Mata.

PAUL POGBA, United midfielder, to aspiring young footballers.

Fandi, who had met Pogba once before when the Frenchman was part of the Juventus side who played a friendly with a Singapore selection team in 2014, said: "We had fun out there, and it looked like Pogba really enjoyed himself.

"I know from before that he's a humble, nice guy, and he was very enthusiastic when we were about to do the challenges, coming up with ideas on what we could do."

Pogba also joshed his teammate Mata when asked by the emcee what advice he had for aspiring young footballers. He replied "follow Juan Mata", before bursting out in laughter.

Goalkeeper David de Gea, who is in discussions with the club over a long-term deal, sent a positive signal when he made an appearance at a meet-and-greet session hosted by United's official vision partner, sunglasses and eyewear brand Maui Jim, at the Fullerton Hotel. Also at the event were defenders Luke Shaw and Diogo Dalot.

"I am the one of the oldest and most experienced players in the team now and I have to show it on the pitch and help the young guys to know what Manchester United means, and that (role) is important," said the 28-year-old Spanish shot-stopper, who even added that it would be "amazing" if he were appointed captain of the club.

Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Marcos Rojo graced an event at Suntec City's North Atrium, together with United ambassador Denis Irwin, as part of an event organised by Maybank.

Jesse Lingard, Nemanja Matic and Eric Bailly proved a hit at an event at Clifford Pier hosted by the club's global partner Chivas Regal.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 22, 2019, with the headline 'Red Devils make a splash at the bay'. Print Edition | Subscribe