Cape Town - Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho says that while Paul Pogba is highly unlikely to challenge Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo for the Ballon d'Or, he could well be the best midfielder in the world.
The Red Devils broke the world transfer record to bring the Frenchman back to Old Trafford, paying a sum of £89 million for his services just four years after seeing him depart for Juventus on a free transfer.
And Mourinho feels the player deserves to be considered the top talent in his position, despite not being able to match the goal-scoring exploits of Messi and Ronaldo.
"First of all, when you speak about the best players in the world you go immediately to the ones that score a lot of goals," Mourinho told reporters ahead of his side's clash with Southampton on Friday night.
"You don't give a gold ball to a goalkeeper. They gave a gold ball to [Fabio] Cannavaro once but because in that season he was captain of Italy, they were world champions, and there were not too many top players.
"[Paolo] Maldini never got a gold ball, [Javier] Zanetti never got a gold ball, top goalkeepers over history don't get a gold ball. You look immediately to the ones that score a lot of goals.
"Can Paul score Ronaldo and Messi goals? Not even 25 percent. I believe in a season he cannot score 20 goals. If to be the best player in the world means to score a lot of goals, that's not the point.
"He is one of the best midfield players, maybe I could say the best midfield player in the world."
Pogba missed United's opening game of the Premier League season due to a suspension that was carried over from his last season in Italy. And the France international is expected to make his second debut for the Red Devils after Mourinho revealed he could expect feature against the Saints.