Paul Pogba is bringing one of America’s tackiest sporting traditions to soccer

“Don’t worry, your ring will be extra tasteless.”
“Don’t worry, your ring will be extra tasteless.”
Image: REUTERS/Stephane Mahe
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Paul Pogba is getting some rings for himself and his fellow World Cup winners.

The whole France team is getting diamond-and-gold rings to celebrate winning in Russia this past summer, which the star player is paying for, ESPN reports. The rings will be made in the colors of the Tricolore—11-carat diamonds, blue sapphires, and red rubies. The president of the French Football Federation (FFF) will pay to transport the rings from Los Angeles to Paris.

Teammate Antoine Griezmann had them mocked up a jeweler’s in Los Angeles in July and posted the pictures on Instagram with lyrics from a Drake and Future song. Asked about those images, Griezmann said in September (link in French), “I love the custom of the Americans in the NBA, when they become champions. It was Piochy [a nickname for Pogba] who spoke with the FFF. The FFF will help us a little. When they give it to us, we’ll be like children.”

These giant gaudy rings are common in American sports like the NBA. The same jewellers that Griezmann visited, Jason of Los Angeles, designed the Golden State Warriors’ 2017 championship rings, which had the most diamonds ever and, which ESPN reported, came with…

 …36 princess blue sapphires to represent the number of Warriors’ home wins last season, while the 31 white trapezoid diamonds represent the team’s away wins. On top of the ring, there are 83 diamonds that represent the Warriors’ total number of regular season and playoff wins combined.

The NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles turned down the chance of an elegant, modest approach when it came to their rings for winning the Super Bowl this year. “The bigger and blingier, the better,” the players told management of their rings, each of which has 219 diamonds. A personalized version of those rings would cost a fan almost $12,000 each. The New England Patriots’ 2015 Super Bowl rings reportedly cost $36,500 each, the most expensive ever.

L’Equipe and ESPN both reported some discord among the French players over the idea, some of whom were worried about the cost of the rings and some of whom were worried about the reaction from French fans. One of the most-upvoted comments on the L’Equipe article said of Griezmann, “You are [acting like children] with your spoiled child behavior. With the shamelessness to speak of help from the FFF.”

Another, admittedly named Craputus10, questioned why they would want to be given rings that have “nothing to do with the French (or even European) tradition?”