In 2016, Paul Pogba seemed to have the world at his feet after completing a record transfer back to Manchester United.
Pogba was one of football’s hottest prospects, following his performances at Juventus, and became the most expensive player of all time after returning to United for a whopping £89.3 million.
However, things did not go as planned for the French midfielder who, after six years at Old Trafford, opted to return to Italy to try to regain his form.
But things went from bad to worse for Pogba after he failed a drugs test last August and waited five months for a verdict before receiving a huge four-year ban from football on Thursday morning.
Now, the Frenchman faces a major crossroads in his career: the lengthy ban casts doubt on whether he will ever set foot on a field again.
Paul Pogba (pictured with wife Zulay in February 2023) has been banned for four years after failing a drugs test.
The sanction makes it possible that the Juventus midfielder’s career is over
The 30-year-old won the World Cup with France in 2018 and scored in the final against Croatia.
Pogba, also known for his personality off the field, could now end his playing career
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Pogba’s first year in Turin proved disastrous as he missed most of the campaign due to injury.
Pogba started just one game all season after being sidelined with knee, groin and hamstring problems.
He was named on the bench for the opening match of the 2023-24 season, but was not a substitute in the 3-0 win against Udinese.
After that match, he returned to a trial that led to him receiving a four-year ban. The substance found in his system was DHEA, which can naturally increase testosterone levels.
Pogba requested to have his B sample tested but also tested positive in October, leading Juventus to consider terminating his contract.
From the beginning he insisted that he had no idea how the substance had entered his system and that he was not seeking to gain a sporting advantage.
There was also a previous case in Serie A that suggested Pogba might not receive as severe a sanction.
So, while Pogba awaited a decision, he was tasked with staying fit, despite being excluded from Juventus’ training camp.
After Juventus’ opening match, Pogba returned an anti-doping test that came back positive for DHEA
Pogba then requested to have his B sample tested but also tested positive in October, leading Juventus to consider terminating his contract entirely.
According La Gazzetta dello SportPogba and his wife Zulay have been living in the mansion of former Juventus player Cristiano Ronaldo, where he continues to train.
Although Pogba has rarely been seen in the house, Ronaldo, who left Juventus to join Man United in 2021, shared plenty of snaps while living there.
The property, located on Corso Alberto Picco, is made up of two adjacent villas and features numerous fitness machines that the midfielder has used with his personal staff.
The house has a gym, an indoor pool and a large garden where he has been able to maintain his activities and practice soccer exercises.
It is clear that those around Pogba felt that the Juventus star had been working hard to be ready for an immediate return to football, which his agent confirmed earlier this month.
Rafaela Pimenta said: ‘Pogba could return to the field tomorrow: he is prepared for any situation, he is a champion even mentally.
‘Sometimes I say to him: ‘Shall we do something else?’, and he gets angry and says to me: ‘Rafa! I have to train. You haven’t understood: I have to play, I have to win and I have to finish a path that I started.’
“He has not behaved irresponsibly, he is training knowing that he has to be prepared.”
However, despite Pogba’s preparations to return to first-team football, the midfielder will spend four years suspended from the sport, which could have huge repercussions.
First of all, La Gazzetta dello Sport reported that Pogba had been forced to take a significant pay cut while awaiting a verdict on the case.
Pogba has reportedly been living and training inside Cristiano Ronaldo’s former home.
The house, located on Corso Alberto Picco, has a gym, an indoor pool and a large garden where Pogba has carried out his training with his staff for the last five months.
Pogba stayed fit while awaiting the verdict, but received a lengthy ban.
Pogba’s agent, Rafaela Pimenta, said that the Frenchman “could return to the field tomorrow”
They claim Pogba has been earning just £1,700 a month (€2,000) for the past five months. A far cry from the £6.8 million per season (€8 million) he had hoped to earn during his time at Juventus.
He could also lose some lucrative endorsement deals as he will now spend considerable time off the pitch.
The most notable of his deals is the ten-year sponsorship with Adidas, which he signed in February 2016 for £31 million (€40 million).
He also partnered with Wahed Investing, but the details of his sponsorship are unknown.
Mail Sport has contacted Adidas and Wahed Investing for comment.
Pogba, pictured with his wife Zulay, has an interest in fashion, something he could pursue
The former Man United star shared a photo at Paris Fashion Week with Jadon Sancho (right)
While Pogba may have been focused on returning to football, he has also enjoyed a lifestyle away from the pitch that has seen him attend several fashion shows.
The 30-year-old was spotted at the Louis Vuitton Fashion Week show in Paris in June, where he rubbed shoulders with several soccer stars.
The World Cup winner has never shied away from his passion for fashion and regularly shows off his extravagant outfits on his social media pages.
You never know. Perhaps if he does not return to football, the former most expensive player on the planet could become interested in the world of fashion.