Paul Pogba: Juventus midfielder considered retiring from football over blackmail plot

Paul and Mathias Pogba celebrating France's 2018 World Cup win
Mathias Pogba, right, joined brother Paul on the pitch to celebrate France’s 2018 World Cup win

Paul Pogba says he considered retiring from football over alleged extortion and threats from an organised gang, including his brother Mathias.

Mathias Pogba was detained in September 2022 but was released in Decemberexternal-link under judicial review.

The 33-year-old denies all the allegations against him.

Speaking to Al Jazeeraexternal-link about the impact the incident had on him, former Manchester United midfielder Pogba said: “When there is money you have to be careful. 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. This life, you have to go through it. It will only make me stronger.”

French prosecutors opened a judicial investigation last September, two months after 2018 World Cup winner Pogba filed an initial complaint.

Paris prosecutor Laure Beccuau said the investigation would examine allegations including “blackmail by an armed gang, kidnapping and membership of a criminal conspiracy”.

After Mathias’ detention in September, his lawyer Yassine Bouzrou said his client is innocent.

The younger Pogba moved to Juventus on a free transfer in the summer of 2022 after leaving United.

Mathias is also a professional footballer who has been capped by Guinea and played for clubs across Europe including Crewe, Wrexham, Crawley and Partick Thistle in the UK.

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