On the face of it, it seems clear that the relationship between Paul Pogba and Jose Mourinho has broken down. They’ve reached that stage where awkward silences and snarky comments have become more commonplace than candlelit dinners and city breaks to low-cost Ryanair destinations. The sepia-tinted Instagram snaps captioned ‘relationship goals x’ have well and truly dried up, and both have started liking Facebook statuses posted by the guy/girl they told the other not to worry about.
Meanwhile, mutual friends have started preparing exit strategies, drawing up lists of pros and cons in an attempt to decide which person they’ll stay in touch with, and which they’ll spend the next six months badmouthing to anyone who’ll listen.
But it’s not over just yet, and one side is sure to make a last throw of the dice, a grand gesture that will likely prove futile, but which they can point to and say, ‘well, I tried.’ Here’s what we think this feuding pair can try in order to refloat the sinking ship that is their relationship.
— United Xtra (@utdxtra) September 26, 2018
FORGIVE EACH OTHER
“To forgive is to detach — from the bitterness, anger, and animosity holding you back from progress with your partner. Forgo the negative emotions keeping you from true forgiveness.”
Ah, sage advice from the Huffington Post there. Certainly, bitterness, anger and animosity have come to define this relationship, but perhaps if Pogba can forgive Mourinho for shackling his creativity, stripping him of the “second-captaincy” and replacing him in the starting eleven with Scott McTominay that time, those negative emotions can be foregone.
By the same token, if Mourinho can forgive Pogba for the obvious contempt in which the Frenchman holds him, and for passing and running with the ball when he should be focused on elbowing and slide-tackling opponents, then we might be onto a winner.
GO ON A LOVELY HOLIDAY TOGETHER
You know, just to GET AWAY from it all and escape the monotony of their gilded lifestyles spent in luxury hotels and pre-furnished McMansions.
Why not spend a week lying on a beach in Zakynthos, just talking about life, love and how great Ricardo Carvalho is? Or reconnecting with their inner spirits with a spa-weekend in Bali? Or backpacking across Europe, becoming bezzy mates with Australians called ‘Brogan’ or ‘Barden’ while staying in 12-bed dorms in dingy hostels in Bratislava or Belgrade?
Of course, there’s the possibility that this could backfire horribly. Many’s a time that a relaxing vacation has turned into a nightmarish, claustrophobic journey into the fifth circle of hell – there’s no ‘giving each other space’ when you’re cooped up in a 10 x 10 apartment in Barceloneta.
OPEN UP THE LINES OF COMMUNICATION
Nothing harms a relationship more than a lack of communication.
So often, two people are torn apart by a failure just to talk. Pogba and Mourinho need to rediscover their rapport if this thing is to be saved. The solution: crack open a beverage – non-alcoholic if needs be – and spend a long evening just chatting about whatever comes to mind.
Rumour has it that Lee Bowyer and Kieron Dyer spent three hours locked in a room discussing philosophy and stamp-collecting in an effort to repair the damage done by their on-field spat. They failed, but it may well work for Pogs and Mou.
TRY YOUR HAND AT THE OTHER PERSON’S PASTIMES
It’s an old truism that a successful relationship needs shared interests.
So both parties need to make an effort to find common ground.
For Pogba, that might mean taking an eye-jabbing course, or attending a seminar on physio-insulting.
For Jose, that might mean learning how to dab, or putting vibrant streaks in his hair.
SPEND SOME TIME APART
If that trip away doesn’t do the trick, maybe a week apart will.
In a roundabout way, it worked for Ross and Rachel, so why not for Paul Pogba and Jose Mourinho?
Pogba, for example, could spend a few months on loan to an old flame, Juventus, just rediscovering and remembering why Jose was so special to him in the first place.
We’re not sure what Mourinho would do with his relationship sabbatical, but it would probably involve long hours in darkened rooms with just a bottle of buckfast and a Robot Wars DVD for company.