PAUL POGBA has been provisionally suspended by anti-doping chiefs.
That’s after reportedly failing a drugs test, with the midfielder potentially facing a four-year ban if found guilty of testing positive for testosterone.
Corriere Della Serra claims traces of testosterone were discovered in Pogba’s system following Juventus’ first game of the new season.
The ex-Man United midfielder, 30, was an unused sub in his side’s 3-0 win against Udinese last month.
Pogba is yet to comment, but the Frenchman has now been handed a provisional suspension by Italian anti-doping chiefs.
A statement read: “The National Anti-Doping Tribunal announces that, in acceptance of the request proposed by the National Anti-Doping Prosecutor’s Office, it has taken steps to suspend the athlete Paul Pogba on a precautionary basis for violation of articles 2.1 and 2.2.
“Substance Detected: Testosterone metabolites of non-endogenous origin.”
Pogba’s club Juventus acknowledged the provisional ban, saying: “Juventus Football Club announces that today, September 11, 2023, the footballer Paul Labile Pogba received a precautionary suspension order from the National Anti-Doping Tribunal following the results of tests carried out on August 20, 2023.
“The club reserves the right to consider the next procedural steps.”
Pogba’s agent Rafaela Pimenta added to Tuttosport: “We’re waiting for the counter-analysis and we can’t say anything now.
“For sure, Pogba never wanted to bend the rules — I can guarantee that.”
Testosterone is a hormone which can increase muscle strength and is found in various over-the-counter products at pharmacies.
It occurs naturally in men. Tests on athletes look for synthetic forms of testosterone in their systems.
It’s said Pogba now has three days to provide a sample for a counter-analysis.
If found guilty of doping, several Italian news outlets all claim Pogba faces a ban of up to two years.
And if a tribunal finds him guilty of taking the product intentionally, the ban could last up to four years.
Pogba rejoined former side Juventus in a free transfer last summer following the expiration of his Man United contract.
But injuries limited him to just ten appearances in all competitions.
He’s featured twice from the bench this term since sitting out the Udinese win.
Pogba’s last appearance came earlier this month in Juventus’ 2-0 win at Empoli.
However, boss Max Allegri claimed afterwards that the French World Cup winner had suffered a fresh back injury.
He said: “Pogba felt a pain in the back, we’ll see what the exams say. Too bad because it [Pogba’s performance] went well.”
Earlier this week, Pogba told Al Jazeera that he had been considering retirement following an alleged extortion plot involving his brother Mathias.
Pogba said: “Money changes people. . . . It can break up a family. It can create a war.
“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.”
Pogba also said: “I want to make them eat their words. I want to show them I’m not weak. They can talk bad about me, I will never give up.”
Pogba started his Premier League career at Man United in 2012 but made just three appearances before joining Juventus for free that same year.
He instantly became a smash hit in Turin, winning four Serie A titles in as many years.
Pogba was then re-signed by United for a then-club record fee of £86million in 2016.
But he failed to live up to expectations under managers Jose Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, winning just a Europa League and Carabao Cup.
And after 226 games, Pogba returned to Juventus in 2022 on another freebie.
He has since played just 12 times during his second spell with the Italians, suffering various injuries to his knee, groin, thigh and hamstring.
The biggest success of Pogba’s career came with France’s national side.
He played a key role in their 2018 World Cup triumph, forging a fine midfield partnership with ex-Chelsea star N’Golo Kante − Sun.