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France’s renowned footballer Paul Pogba has handed a four-year suspension from the sport by Italy’s anti-doping tribunal, following a positive test for testosterone, as confirmed by his club, Juventus. This decision communicated to the club, marking a significant setback for the 30-year-old World Cup champion who had already faced provisional suspension since September. This ruling, pending an appeal from Pogba’s side, threatens to halt his illustrious career, barring him from play until the 2027/28 season when he will be 34.

The call for Pogba’s ban came after anti-doping prosecutors evaluated the case, stemming from a test after Juventus’s Serie A opener against Udinese on August 20, where Pogba did not play. The confirmation of testosterone presence via a B sample led to his suspension. Pogba’s team argues the substance part of a food supplement prescribed by a U.S. doctor. The severity of the ban hinged on proving the unintentional intake of the banned substance, which could have reduced the suspension significantly. Pogba, pivotal in France’s 2018 World Cup victory and struggling with injuries since his return to Juventus, now faces a challenging period ahead.

Extortion attempt

Paul Pogba, who began his career at Le Havre before moving to Manchester United at the age of 16 in 2009, has faced challenges beyond the pitch. The French midfielder is currently embroiled in an investigation related to an extortion attempt in March 2022. During this incident, two individuals reportedly entered his residence near Paris, detaining Pogba and demanding €13 million. Notably, among the suspects is Pogba’s elder brother, Mathias, alongside individuals known to the family since childhood.

Amidst these off-field issues, Pogba’s professional situation at Juventus has also affected. His contract with the Italian club, valued at approximately €8 million annually, extends until 2026. Following the revelation of his positive drug test, Juventus has ceased salary payments, as Pogba has barred from participating in team training sessions.

Pogba’s initial tenure at Manchester United was brief, but he rose to prominence during his spell at Juventus from 2012 to 2016, securing four consecutive Serie A titles and reaching the Champions League final in 2015 against Barcelona. His return to Manchester United in 2016 for a then-record fee of €105 million saw him clinch the Europa League and League Cup in his first season back, under the management of Jose Mourinho.

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