Football is an ever-evolving sport and goal celebrations are testament to that.
Gleeful pats on the back and handshakes were replaced by raised arms and knee slides, and we now find ourselves in a position where computer game-themed jigs and masks being unveiled from players’ shinpads have become the norm.
Some will call it unnecessary but it’s all just a bit of fun. And what’s football without fun?
Paul Pogba is no stranger to the occasional extravagant goal celebration (cut to Graeme Souness’ fist clenching tighter and tighter) but the aftermath of his jubilation having opened the scoring against Burnley on Wednesday night was even more intriguing than the celebration itself.
The Frenchman appeared to gesture towards Ralf Rangnick and the Manchester United bench, sticking three fingers up (yes, threethank goodness) as he trotted back to his own half.
We can often be guilty of reading too much into the most innocent of incidents in football, but Pogba’s gesture must have meant something.
Here are a few things we think the World Cup winner could have been referring to.
Three more years?
Of all the theories to have been bandied about on social media over the past 24 hours or so, this is the overwhelming favourite.
With less than six months remaining on his current deal, Pogba is edging closer to making the second United exit of his career.
Rangnick recently confessed it was too early to know whether any of the United stars who are out of contract this summer will remain at the club, but could Pogba’s gesture towards the United boss be a sign that he’s willing to pen fresh terms? Three more years, perhaps?
Play me in a three?
Rangnick hasn’t been afraid to chop and change his side since being appointed as interim boss.
His trademark 4-2-2-2 left a lot to be desired and the need for more width soon saw him turn his back on old faithful.
On Tuesday night at Turf Moor, his side made light of the blustery conditions and produced a superb first-half display with Pogba playing as a number eight alongside Bruno Fernandes, with Scott McTominay slightly deeper.
The three-man midfield worked a treat for 45 minutes and the Frenchman could simply have been telling the boss that’s the system he needs to play if he wants to get the best out of him.
Three more months?
On the contrary to the first possibility on this list, what if Pogba was suggesting he’s only got three more months left at the club?
United will round off their league campaign against Crystal Palace on 22nd May, when Pogba could pull on a United shirt for the final time.
Of course, it’s unclear whether the Frenchman intends to stay or whether he’s even made a decision yet, but if he has elected to leave, Rangnick could possibly have had a chat with him to tell him he’s got three months left to leave a legacy behind by dragging United into the Champions League spots.
Well, that was a great way to dampen the mood in here.
Three more points?
Are we just reading into things too much as per usual? Maybe Rangnick had simply told the players it was vital for them to pick up three points at Turf Moor and so Pogba was telling him the three points were on the way.
Just like you, we can’t get enough of Manchester United! That’s why we’ve decided to supplement our expansive United coverage on the Manchester Evening News with a more fan-oriented platform catered specifically to United fans – United On My Mind.
Writers and presenters who share your passion for the red side of Manchester will be producing written, visual and audio content to reflect the mood in the stands as well as the press box.
Turns out they weren’t, but it could have been something as straightforward as that.
It seems utterly nonsensical to dissect the actions of a man who was once on the verge of trademarking the dab celebration, but Pogba clearly meant something by his gesture towards the United bench.
Pogba knows, Rangnick knows, the United backroom staff may even know. We’ll have to wait to find out.
What do you think Pogba meant when he gestured over to the United bench? Follow our United On My Mind writer Ross Jackson on Twitter to get involved in the discussion and give us your thoughts in the comments section below