From injuries to doping revelation: Paul Pogba’s nightmarish second spell at Juventus
Juventus' Paul Pogba had shifted his base to Manchester in 2016 for a then-world record fee of £89 million.
Paul Pogba has endured enough turbulence since rejoining Juventus last summer. In his second spell in Turin, Pogba has so far started in one game for the Italian side due to long-standing injury issues. The situation became worse after the French midfielder failed a random drug test following Juventus’ Serie A fixture against Udinese on August 20. The results of the anti-doping test showed an elevated dose of testosterone in Pogba’s blood. The French star was a substitute in the game and never came onto the pitch.
Following the anti-doping offence, the Italian anti-doping tribunal (NADO Italia) has provisionally suspended Pogba. It brought out a statement on September 11 to confirm the midfielder’s suspension. In an interaction with Sky Sports, Pogba’s representative Rafaela Pimenta said that Juventus have been preparing for "the next procedural steps" to counter the decision of the Italian anti-doping body.
Pimenta reiterated that “Pogba never wanted to break the rules” of the game. “We are waiting for the counter-analysis and until then we can't say anything. The certain thing is that Paul Pogba never wanted to break the rules,” she said. If the testing of the backup B sample confirms the presence of the banned substance in Pogba’s system, the footballer may get banned from football for anywhere between two to four years.
After spending a successful few years of his career with Juventus, Pogba shifted his base to Manchester in 2016. The Premier League club secured his signing for a then-world record fee of £89 million. Pogba took his game to another level during his spell at Old Trafford. He represented United in 233 games across all competitions, scoring 39 goals and recording 51 assists. He was also part of the Red Devil’s famous Europa League triumph in 2017.
Despite enjoying success with the French national team, including the 2018 World Cup, Pogba failed to match the expectations in his last three seasons in Manchester. During this period, the 30-year-old was opted out of the team sheet due to injury issues on eight separate occasions. When he started falling down the pecking order, Juventus roped in Pogba as a free agent in the summer of 2022.
Only two weeks after joining Juventus, Pogba suddenly experienced pain in his right knee during a training session ahead of a pre-season fixture against Barcelona in Dallas. In July last year, Pogba jetted off to Lyon to consult a knee specialist and chose to undergo conservative therapy instead of surgery. The decision backfired as Pogba needed to go under the knife in the following month, which ruled him out of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
In between all of these, Pogba was reportedly blackmailed by a criminal gang in August, with his brother Mathias Pogba also suspected to be involved with the culprits. Back then, the footballer lodged a formal complaint that two hooded, armed men threatened him with assault rifles in an effort to extort £11.1m from him. Mathias was put behind bars but was released in December after French Police gave him a clean chit.