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Injuries, blackmail, failed drug test: Pogba’s epic fall from grace


Paul Pogba celebrates with the World Cup Trophy following France's win in the 2018 World Cup final at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, Russia, July 15, 2018. /CFP

Paul Pogba celebrates with the World Cup Trophy following France’s win in the 2018 World Cup final at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, Russia, July 15, 2018. /CFP

Paul Pogba celebrates with the World Cup Trophy following France’s win in the 2018 World Cup final at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, Russia, July 15, 2018. /CFP

Once hailed as one of the finest playmakers in the world, Paul Pogba’s illustrious career now hangs in the balance following the revelation that the 30-year-old has tested positive for testosterone.  

The National Anti-Doping Tribunal of Italy (NADO) announced late Monday that Pogba has been provisionally suspended with immediate effect after exhibiting heightened levels of testosterone during a routine drug test conducted subsequent to Juventus’ resounding 3-0 triumph over Udinese on August 20.  

While the French midfielder was not actively involved in the match, he was chosen at random for the obligatory post-match drug examination. If found guilty of doping, Pogba could be banned for up to four years. 

According to NADO, Pogba has been deemed to have transgressed anti-doping regulations upon the discovery of the forbidden substance known as “non-endogenous testosterone metabolites.”  

The test results have indicated that the presence of these substances is “consistent with the exogenous origin of the target compounds.” It is worth noting that testosterone, as a hormone, has the capacity to enhance athletes’ endurance. Pogba has been granted a three-day window to provide NADO with a counter-analysis of the test outcome.

Paul Pogba during the pre-season friendly  between Juventus and AC Milan at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California, July 27, 2023. /CFP

Paul Pogba during the pre-season friendly between Juventus and AC Milan at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California, July 27, 2023. /CFP

Paul Pogba during the pre-season friendly between Juventus and AC Milan at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California, July 27, 2023. /CFP

Pogba’s agent speaks out 

Although Pogba himself has not yet issued a statement in response to the allegations, his agent, Rafaela Pimenta, conveyed to the French media outlet RMC Sport that her client staunchly maintains his innocence.  

Pimenta emphasized that they are eagerly awaiting the results of the counter-analysis and cannot form an opinion until then. She emphatically stated, “What is certain is that Paul Pogba had no intention whatsoever of violating any rules.” 

Juventus added in a statement, “We announce that the player Paul Labile Pogba received a precautionary suspension order from the National Anti-Doping Tribunal following the adverse outcome of the analyzes carried out on 20 August, 2023. The club reserves the right to consider the next procedural steps.”

Paul Pogba of Juventus lies on treatment bed at JTC in Turin, Italy, July 4, 2023. /CFP

Paul Pogba of Juventus lies on treatment bed at JTC in Turin, Italy, July 4, 2023. /CFP

Paul Pogba of Juventus lies on treatment bed at JTC in Turin, Italy, July 4, 2023. /CFP

A troubled genius 

The failed drug test serves as yet another unfortunate setback for a player who has endured a string of off-pitch woes since his return to Juventus from Manchester United just over a year ago.  

Last July, Pogba lodged a complaint with Turin prosecutors, asserting that he had become the subject of a blackmail scheme involving a substantial sum of 13 million euros ($13.9 million). Adding to the complexity of the situation, his brother, Mathias Pogba, found himself under formal investigation regarding an alleged plot to extort money from the footballer. 

Pogba has vehemently refuted the allegations made by his blackmailers, asserting that their intentions were to tarnish his reputation by falsely claiming that he sought the aid of a witch doctor in an attempt to cast a curse upon his French teammate, Kylian Mbappe.  

Pogba remains steadfast in his denial of any involvement with a witch doctor. However, according to reports from the esteemed French newspaper, L’Equipe, it is purported that a video exists that substantiates Mathias’ assertions. 

Pogba’s recent campaigns has also been marred by physical ailments, preventing him from participating in France’s pursuit of the World Cup in Qatar last year due to operations on his right ankle and knee. During the previous season, he could only amass a mere 108 minutes of playing time across six Serie A matches for Juventus.

Paul Pogba celebrates as he scores his team's second goal during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Bournemouth at Old Trafford in Manchester, England, December 30, 2018. /CFP

Paul Pogba celebrates as he scores his team’s second goal during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Bournemouth at Old Trafford in Manchester, England, December 30, 2018. /CFP

Paul Pogba celebrates as he scores his team’s second goal during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Bournemouth at Old Trafford in Manchester, England, December 30, 2018. /CFP

A glorious past 

Commencing his senior career at United, thereafter venturing to Juventus and subsequently returning to Manchester, Pogba garnered recognition for his adaptability, box-to-box robustness, and goal-scoring prowess.  

Upon his homecoming to United in 2016, the English powerhouse acquired his services from Juve for a stunning transfer fee of $113 million. During his tenure at United from 2016 to 2022, Pogba made a total of 233 appearances, notching 39 goals and 51 assists.  

In July 2022, following the expiration of his contract with United, Pogba embarked on a new chapter in his career as he reunited with Juventus, signing a lucrative four-year agreement.  

Pogba’s international career boasts an impressive tally of 91 caps for the French national team, where he played a pivotal role in securing their triumphant victory in the 2018 World Cup. However, it is noteworthy that he has not represented his country since 2022.  

What Pogba truly requires is a comprehensive reset, both in terms of his physical well-being and his mental fortitude. However, lingering in the minds of his devoted fans is the pressing question of whether a complete rejuvenation is indeed attainable. 



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