Football is no stranger to controversies, and the recent revelation concerning Paul Pogba, the World Champion of 2018, is the latest to rock the sporting world.
Paul Pogba’s recent ordeal began with a doping test carried out in August. The results were distressing.
- A Sample: The initial test results turned out to be positive for testosterone.
- B Sample: Hoping for a different outcome, a counter-analysis was requested. Unfortunately for Pogba, it reaffirmed the initial findings.
Gazzetta dello Sport was the first to break the news, closely followed by other prominent Italian media outlets. An informed insider later confirmed the results to AFP.
The Implications of Positive Testosterone Findings
Under the stringent guidelines of the World Anti-Doping Code, an athlete found guilty could face some severe repercussions.
|Potential Suspension Time
|Presence of Testosterone Metabolites
|Up to four years
|Proven unintentional intake
|Possibly halved to two years
|Usage outside of competition unrelated to performance level
|Reduced to just a few months
But what led to this predicament? Pogba’s close associates had an explanation. They attributed the presence of the testosterone metabolites to a dietary supplement. This wasn’t just any over-the-counter pill; it was prescribed by a doctor Pogba consulted in the US.
“I am coming back stronger.” – Paul Pogba, in an interview with Qatari channel Al-Jazeera
The Clock Ticks for Pogba
With the confirmation of the B sample, the clock started ticking for Pogba. He was given a mere seven days to present his defense to the National Anti-Doping Tribunal. This tribunal is responsible for investigating the case and suggesting appropriate sanctions. The entire process, understandably, will stretch over several weeks.
Italy doesn’t merely view doping as an unethical act in sports; it’s a criminal offense. Following the disclosure of Pogba’s test results, the Turin public prosecutor’s office initiated a judicial investigation.
Juventus Turin’s Reaction
The immediate fallout for Pogba was palpable. He could no longer participate in training sessions with Juventus Turin, a club he rejoined in July 2022 after spending six seasons with Manchester United. The club’s management, taking a cautious approach, suspended his hefty annual salary, estimated at €8 million, at least until 2026.
Despite the mounting pressure, Juventus’ coach, Massimiliano Allegri, voiced his sympathy.
“I am sorry for Paul.” – Massimiliano Allegri, at a press conference
A Turbulent Year for Pogba
The doping scandal is the climax of an already tumultuous year and a half for the player.
On the Field:
- Made only ten appearances for Juventus last season.
- Battled with a persistent meniscus injury in his right knee.
- Underwent surgery in September.
- Missed the chance to compete in the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
Off the Field:
- March 2022: A harrowing experience unfolded. Close childhood friends, along with a few familiar faces from Pogba’s old neighborhood, held him hostage. Their aim? To extort a whopping 13 million euros. This wasn’t a simple case of greed; it was a meticulously planned operation involving hooded men armed with rifles and threats to his immediate family.
- September 2022: The drama didn’t end there. Pogba found himself face to face with relatives suspected of playing a role in his earlier kidnapping.
The 2023-24 season had initially promised a fresh start for Pogba. The shadows of his injury and subsequent surgery lingered, but he was selected for the first match of the Italian Championship. Despite being benched during the anti-doping tests, he was back on the field just a week later, giving fans a glimmer of hope.
The Road Ahead
The controversy is far from over. Pogba, a celebrated footballer with a promising career, now finds himself at a crossroads. As investigations continue and the football world waits with bated breath, only time will reveal whether Pogba can truly come back “stronger”.