Having run down his contract at Manchester United and Old Trafford after a very mixed second spell at the club, French international midfielder Paul Pogba, returned to familiar soil once again when he moved on, and rejoined Italian Serie A giants, Juventus, for a second time.
Making the switch back in the summer of 2022, his fortunes have not really improved when it comes to recovering his best form, as he has been massively waylaid by injuries, and he even missed the first ever winter World Cup out in Qatar. His second spell at the Allianz Stadium has seen only one start, and eleven substitute showings.
He has featured twice for them in the domestic 2023/24 campaign, but following their 3-0 victory over Udinese back on August 20 (Pogba was an unused substitute that day) he was selected for random testing, and the 30 year old found himself provisionally suspended in September as the sample showed elevated levels of testosterone in his system.
With his suspension confirmed, anti doping agency Nado Italia claimed he had violated the rules when prohibited non-endogenous testosterone metabolites were found and they doubled down by stating that the results were ‘consistent with the exogenous origin of the target compounds’.
Pogba obviously disagreed with this and quickly requested that his B sample was tested to challenge the original findings, however, it has now been confirmed that the 30 year old’s B sample has come back positive as well, and if found guilty of a genuine doping offence, he could be fully banned from the game for between two to four years.
His agent, Rafaela Pimenta, said at the time of the initial suspension.
“What is certain is that Paul Pogba never wanted to break a rule.”
Given that initial statement, it does not take much of an educated guess to believe the media when they say that it is understood that Pogba will not now challenge that a banned substance was taken, but will defend himself on the basis that it was unknowingly and inadvertently taken, and was in no way a deliberate attempt to secure any kind of competitive advantage.
That kind of argument can hold sway given the list of medications and health supplements that players are warned to stay away from (that are widely available to the wider public) but it is not unknown for a sports person to randomly grab something off a shelf when feeling ill or low without thought, or even taking something totally kosher whilst round the house of friends of family and just not thinking of the potential ingredient ramifications.
One way or another the truth will out.