French international Paul Pogba’s career hung in the balance on Tuesday after Italian anti-doping authorities provisionally suspended the midfielder for testing positive for a banned substance.
Although he was only an unused substitute, Pogba submitted to doping tests following Juve’s 3-0 Serie A win at Udinese on August 20.
Testosterone, a hormone that increases athletes’ endurance, was detected in Pogba’s sample.
“By accepting the procedure proposed by the National Anti-Doping Prosecutor, the latter has provided for the provisional suspension of the athlete Paul Labile Pogba,” NADO Italia said in a press release.
If Pogba’s B sample produces the same result, he could be suspended for up to four years.
“We are waiting for the results of the counter-analysis and we cannot say anything until then,” Pogba’s agent, Rafaela Pimenta, said in a statement reported by Italian media.
“The only thing certain is that Paul Pogba never intended to break the rules.”
Misfortune has beset Pogba since his return to Juventus from Manchester United in 2022.
After injuring his left knee that summer and having surgery in September, he did not play a single match for Juventus in 2022.
At the start of 2023, he was injured when he was about to join the first team. He suffered another injury in May and was unable to regain fitness to be part of France’s squad for the 2022 World Cup.
A police investigation has also been launched in France into allegations that Pogba was the target of extortion, including from his older brother, Mathias, who has denied any wrongdoing.
Having started his career at Manchester United, then Juventus and back to Manchester, Pogba was known for his versatility, physicality and eye for goal. He scored the 3-1 goal in France’s 2018 World Cup final victory over Croatia.
In an interview with Al Jazeera on Monday, Pogba said he had considered retiring from the sport after becoming exhausted by extortion attempts and alleged threats.
“Sometimes I was alone and I thought: ‘I don’t want to have money anymore. I don’t want to play anymore. I just want to be with normal people, so that they love me for me – not for the good .” fame, not money,” he said.