Outside the lines, 7.12/Photo: Walla Editorial BoardVideo Editing: Ziv Steiner
Unless something unexpected happens, Paul Pogba may soon find himself without a team and with a strict 4-year ban from football. The Juventus French midfielder, who was first suspended on September 12 due to high levels of testosterone found in his blood, failed another test and is expected to be off the football field in the coming years, which could precede the retirement of the player, who turns 31 this March.
It was only in July 2022 that Pogba returned to wearing the zebra uniform of his beloved club, Juventus, after spending 6 very bad years at Manchester United, to which he was sold from Juve for an unprecedented sum at the time of €105 million. In order to understand how the "golden boy" of French football went from being one of the most promising stars in the world to a flop of the Red Devils, you have to go back to his first steps in Turin.
Will it end in the most jarring way?/Reuters
The French midfielder, who grew up in Le Havre and joined Manchester United's academy, was sold to Juventus in the summer of 2012 for just €3.5 million. He quickly managed to take a place in the Bianconeri's line-up and become a key player in the Italian champions' set-up. Pogba joined a very talented midfield squad that included Andrea Pirlo, Arturo Vidal and Claudio Marquisio, and under their guidance he fit in superbly when, after two years in Turin, he won the Golden Boy award, given to the best young player in the world.
The winners of this award were divided into several categories during those years. Among the more successful ones are Lionel Messi, Cesc Fabregas, Wayne Rooney and Sergio Aguero, there were Anderson, Pato, Mario Balotelli and Mario Götze who shined only at times in their careers and mostly disappointed with mediocre seasons after winning the award. Pogba deservedly won the award and expectations from him were perhaps the highest of all the disappointing lists before him, he was expected to reach at least Fabregas' level if not more - some saw him as a future Ballon d'Or winner.
Even before that, the Juventus midfielder received his first call-up to France's senior team from Didier Deschamps, who saw him as an asset in midfield, which he would later lead to a World Cup win along with Angolo Kante in midfield. Success was inevitable from the young player who grabbed the headlines in Italy, France, Europe and around the world - everyone knew that the strong and tall midfielder would be one of the greats.
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He received the best guidance and became one of the most promising midfielders in the world. With Pirlo/Reuters
After losing to Barcelona in the 2015 Champions League final, Pogba stayed for another season at Juventus, where he also won the Italian championship, and in interviews during those months, it was clear that his hunger for titles had changed. He wanted to make amends, prove that he can succeed even in a league where Juventus doesn't win the title easily every year, and beyond that, prove that even in a stronger league he can win the title, be the best midfielder in the world and finally lift the Champions League trophy.
As mentioned, in August 2016, Manchester United broke what was then a transfer record for the lost midfielder, and Juventus came out the biggest beneficiary with a huge income. Things went well for Pogba in his second spell in Manchester, as he finished his first season winning the Europa League and FA League Cup. The following year the injury issue began to rise, but United still finished as runners-up, well ahead of city rivals Manchester City, but it was Pogba's summer with lifting the World Cup in Russia with the tricolour, when he was one of the players of the tournament in a dominant championship and a goal in the final.
The biggest mistake of a career. Manchester United/Reuters uniform
In the 2018/19 season, the French midfielder recorded his peak season in terms of goals and 13 assists in the Premier League, but the Red Devils began to decline significantly in ability and Pogba's high motivation from the French national team declined at the same time. The COVID-9 outbreak in mid-2020 came along with the many injuries to the Frenchman, who missed more than 40 games that season, and since then, Pogba's ability has changed completely.
The midfielder was pushed out of the Red Devils' rotation, recorded defeats and even suffered a stupid red card in a 5-0 defeat to Liverpool, and at the end of that season returned to where they wanted him in the first place - to Juventus. Pogba's comeback in the land of the boot was supposed to be the ultimate career rehabilitation for the former "golden boy", but things continued to get complicated in Turin as well. The French superstar continued to get injured, getting involved in scandals with his family, teammates, teammates and even Juve fans who were furious over spending time at a ski resort while he was injured.
Since his return two years ago, Pogba has made just 12 appearances for Juventus and may now end his part in a team that will try to untie his contract and save €30 million. His enormous success at a young age and the rise with winning the World Cup went on to an even greater disappointment in England, an embarrassing comeback and a suspension that could turn the "golden boy" of French football into one of the biggest crashes in world football history.
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