Paul Pogba reveals his near departure from football following alleged blackmail incident

    Paul Pogba says he was almost forced to quit football after he was allegedly blackmailed by an organized crime gang.

    The 30-year-old midfielder’s brother Mathias was detained in September 2022 for his alleged involvement in an alleged plot that Paul Pogba claimed was an attempt to extort £11.1 million from him.

    Mathias Pogba was released in December and denies the charges.

    Paul Pogba reported the incident to Turin prosecutors in July last year, shortly after leaving Manchester United on a free transfer to return to Juventus.

    Speaking to Al Jazeera, Paul Pogba said: “When you have money, you have to be careful. Money changes people. This can destroy a family. This could create a war.

    “Sometimes I just thought, ‘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 that they love me for me – not for fame, not for money.”

    “Sometimes it’s hard. This life, you have to go through it. This will only make me stronger.”

    Paris prosecutor Laure Becquo said the investigation was looking into allegations of “blackmail by an armed gang, kidnapping and participation in a criminal conspiracy.”

    Mathias Pogba is a professional footballer himself, having represented Crewe, Crawley, Wrexham and Partick Thistle, as well as the Guinea national team.

    He is currently without a club after leaving French lower league side Belfort in 2022.

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