France midfielder Paul Pogba has revealed that he contemplated retiring from professional football in the wake of many tribulations that have marred his life, recently – notably the extortion attempt against him.
Last year, authorities launched an investigation into claims that the Juventus and French national team midfielder was the target of an extortion scheme orchestrated by his brother, Mathias, and childhood friends, who were demanding €13 million from him.
In an interview with Al Jazeera’s Generation Sport, Pogba revealed that this incident significantly contributed to his desire to step away from the world of football.
“Money changes people. … It can break up a family,” he said. “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’s on-field challenges exacerbated his predicament following his return to Juventus after departing from Manchester United.
The 30-year-old grappled with persistent injury setbacks last season and was ultimately compelled to withdraw from France’s World Cup squad in Qatar.
Despite these tribulations, the midfielder remains resolute in his determination to silence his critics, emphasizing the detrimental impact of relentless criticism on athletes.
“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. Football is very beautiful, but is cruel. People can forget you in one day. You can do something great, but the next day you are nobody,” he added.
The former Manchester United midfielder now faces another obstacle in his life and football career for an anti-doping violation after elevated testosterone levels were detected in his blood.
Italy’s anti-doping tribunal has provisionally suspended him and could be banned for up to four years, pending a trial and testing of a backup sample.