PAUL Pogba has revealed that he almost retired from football due to alleged extortion and threats from an organised gang, including his older brother Mathias, even as the Juventus star has reportedly tested positive for a banned substance.
The 30-year-old France midfielder filed a complaint with Italian prosecutors in July last year, claiming he was the target of a €13m blackmail plot.
Mathias Pogba, 33, was detained last September but was released in December under judicial review and he
denies all the allegations against him.
“When there is money you have to be careful. Money changes people. It can break up a family. It can create a war,” Paul Pogba told Al Jazeera.
“Sometimes I was just by myself thinking, ‘I don’t want to have money anymore. I just don’t want to play anymore. I just want to be with normal people, so they will love me for me – not for the fame, not for the money.’
“Sometimes it’s tough. This life, you have to go through it. It will only make me stronger.”
French prosecutors opened a judicial investigation last September, two months after former Manchester United star Pogba filed an initial complaint.
Paris prosecutor Laure Beccuau said the investigation would examine allegations including “blackmail by an armed gang, kidnapping and membership of a criminal conspiracy”.
Meanwhile, Italian outlets Corriere Della Serra and Sport Mediaset have claimed that traces of testosterone were found in Pogba’s system following Juventus’ first game of the new season.
The 30-year-old was an unused substitute in his side’s 3-0 win over Udinese on August 20.
Testosterone is a hormone which can increase muscle strength and is found in various over-the-counter products at pharmacies.
If found guilty of doping, Pogba faces a ban of up to two years.
In addition, if a tribunal finds him guilty of taking the product intentionally, he could be banned for up to four years.