Paul Pogba vs Fabinho: Who is better?

Matt O'Connor-Simpson
Image by Matthew Burt - 90min
Image by Matthew Burt - 90min

Rivalries don't get any bigger - in the English game, at least - than Manchester United vs Liverpool.

For years, this feud has set football alight and its story is rich in regional pride and socioeconomic issues.

In more recent years, things have been largely focussed on the on-field aspect of the rivalry. Here, nothing is more important than the players and the tone for some feisty encounters has generally been set in midfield.

Right now, it is Fabinho and Paul Pogba who run the show in the middle of the park for their respective sides. The question is: which one is better? Let's take a look...

1. Goals & assists

In this category, there is only one winner - Pogba.

Throughout his career the Frenchman has found the back of the net with incredible regularity. Even when you account for the fact he has been his clubs' penalty taker at times, his goal record remains mightily impressive.

Thanks to his wondrous technique and frightening shot power, Pogba is capable of all sorts of finishes and he is extremely creative too. This was demonstrated recently when he laid on four assists during United's opening-day win over Leeds.

Fabinho's numbers are nowhere near as impressive, though he does have other strengths.

2. Off the ball

Image by Matthew Burt - 90min
Image by Matthew Burt - 90min

While Pogba is more dangerous with the ball at his feet, Fabinho is a complete menace out of possession.

Not only does the Brazilian possess a devilish tactical brain, which allows him to read the game expertly, his timing in the tackle is also second-to-none. These two attributes, combined with his tireless work rate, make him a ball-winning machine in the middle of the park.

For instance, during the 2019/20 campaign he averaged a stunning 4.42 tackles and interception per 90 minutes - numbers bettered by only a handful of Premier League players.

Pogba's defensive abilities should not be underestimated, but a lack of consistency means Fabinho secures an easy W in this category.

3. Career trophies

Paul Pogba
World Cup winner / Matthias Hangst/GettyImages

Both these players have won big trophies in their careers, however Pogba's World Cup victory just about shades it.

As well as lifting that particular gong, he also secured four successive league titles in Italy, as well as a pair of Coppa Italia trophies. Let us not forget Pogba's victory in the recent UEFA Nations League finals either.

Fabinho's proudest moment was surely his Champions League win with Liverpool in 2019, although his Premier League triumph a year later runs it very close. He also lifted the Ligue 1 title with Monaco in 2017.

Overall, Pogba - who also has League Cup and Europa League medals to his name - takes this round.

4. Premier League success

Roberto Firmino, Alisson Becker, Fabinho
Fabinho is a Premier League champion / Pool/GettyImages

Only one of these players, Fabinho, has won a Premier League title. The other one hasn't. Case closed.

It is not just the Brazilian's trophy cabinet that earn him this category either. Throughout his time in England, Fabinho has consistently played to his full potential, establishing himself as one of the world's best defensive midfielders and also looking good at centre-back when forced to fill in.

Pogba, on the other hand, has blown hot and cold. Throughout his United career there has always been a feeling that he could be even better - with his incredible France displays proving he still has the power to dictate games regularly.

5. Results

Paul Pogba
Pogba just edges it / Laurence Griffiths/GettyImages

The two midfield maestros were tied after four categories, but 90min's public vote was pretty definitive.

You voted Paul Pogba as the superior of the two, winning 72.48% of the votes!

The article is a part of 90min's Rivals series.