Paul Pogba has admitted he considered retiring from football amid the alleged extortion plot against him and his family in 2022.
The French midfielder was threatened by a gang of masked, armed men in a Paris apartment who demanded millions from the star for ‘protection services.’
Pogba’s brother Mathias was investigated into his own role into the extortion attempt, and spent three months in prison last year, while four others were also placed under investigation.
Mathias has always retained his innocence in the plot, and was released under judicial review, but he has been prohibited from contacting his brother, leaving France and using any social networks.
The World Cup winner appeared to testify in the extortion case back in April, and has now spoken about the plot and the effect it had on him and his family. Revealing to Al Jazeera’s Generation Sport the ordeal nearly made him quit the game.
Paul Pogba has admitted he was close to retiring amid the extortion plot against him in 2022
Pogba’s brother Mathias (left) spent three months in prison last year for his alleged role in the extortion plot against France and Juventus footballer Paul
‘Money changes people. … It can break up a family. It can create a war,’ said Pogba.
‘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 had told police that the gang had been threatening him since March 2022 and were demanding €13m [£11m] for ‘protection’.
Pogba missed the whole of last season through injury but has appeared for Juventus this term
After being confronted by men armed with M16 assault rifles while on international duty with France, Pogba reportedly paid the group €100,000 to ‘save time’ – but they continued to make demands for more money.
The midfielder reportedly facd acts of intimidation against whilst in Manchester in April last year, and later in the city of Turin after he moved to Juventus.
The terrifying situation added to a nightmare year for the 30-year-old who missed the whole of 2022-23 through injury, after returning to Juventus following the end of his contract at Old Trafford.
He was welcomed back into the fold at the start of this season, making his first two appearances for club since his return, before suffering a fresh back injury in the 2-0 win over Empoli earlier this month.