The Paul Pogba story is one of human tragedy

THT briefly looks at the story of Paul Pogba and concludes that the tale is one of a human tragedy based on things the midfielder went through.

A failed dope test and the subsequent four-year ban was the ultimate blow to a career that was hammered down bit by bit. Paul Pogba and his time at the top of football might be over after the recent verdict. But there is much more to the midfielder’s time in the game than merely this current issue.

Pogba was widely considered one of the most talented players of his generation, and sure enough, he had proved a point very early in his career. Moving straight from the Manchester United academy and immediately breaking into the Juventus first team is no mean task.

He won four Serie A titles there and played a crucial part in each of those seasons, which subsequently earned him a move back to Old Trafford. However, Manchester United had to shell out a then-record sum of £89 million to re-sign their former academy star.

This time, he did not have to face the wrath of Sir Alex Ferguson, who, for some reason, did not want him around the club. The legendary manager’s dislike of the Frenchman has been well documented, citing various reasons ranging from disciplinary and tactical reasons. But in truth, it had more to do with his former agent, the late Mino Raiola, whom the Scot despised.

Pogba was already caught in a vicious web of egos between a legendary manager and a super agent. More on his Manchester United career later, but Pogba was a player well ahead of his time with his style as a box-to-box midfielder, which was considered obsolete during his time at Old Trafford.

In any case, he could still show flashes of his talent, and it coincided with one of the worst periods for Manchester United, as those issues with the team are still ongoing. In any case, the story of Pogba is one of human tragedy rather than how the media has portrayed him as a sporting disaster.

The End of Paul Pogba

After his move to Manchester United, fans waited desperately for Pogba to showcase his talents and make the club big again. Those moments never arrived; instead, he proved his worth to the French national side.

Under Didier Deschamps, Pogba was used correctly and often benefited the team. Les Bleus won the World Cup with Pogba as one of their mainstays. Off-field problems soon caught up with the midfielder, and the media did not hesitate to paint him as a bad boy of football.

The recent doping scandal was at the tipping point for everyone to go all out on the midfielder, as the latest verdict handed him an incredible four-year ban. Such a long time out of the game certainly would force Pogba to call time on his career. But the punishment itself seems extraordinarily harsh, and never before a player has received such a lengthy ban in the sport.

Pogba vows to fight back and insists he never took any substance to enhance performances. He also vowed to tell the whole story when the time was right. He said, “I have today been informed of the Tribunale Nazionale Antidoping’s decision and believe that the verdict is incorrect,” Pogba said in a statement.

“I am sad, shocked and heartbroken that everything I have built in my professional playing career has been taken away from me. When I am free of legal restrictions, the whole story will become apparent, but I have never knowingly or deliberately taken any supplements that violate anti-doping regulations.”

“As a professional athlete, I would never do anything to enhance my performance by using banned substances. I have never disrespected or cheated fellow athletes and supporters of any teams I have played for or against. As a consequence of the decision announced today I will appeal this before the Court of Arbitration for Sport.”

Now, there is a big picture ahead that everyone ignores when reporting on Pogba: the ‘appeal’ part. Dutch legend Edgar Davids was once banned from the sport for 16 months, and like Pogba, he failed two drug tests and received a 16-month sentence. While that was 23 years ago, it still has plenty of relevance, as his tenure was reduced to four months upon appeal.

In Pogba’s case, he has already served a lengthy period since the start of the season and has vowed to appeal his verdict. However, the most baffling part of the Frenchman’s verdict is the length of his ban, which is the most a footballer has seen for a failed doping test.

Even Diego Maradona received less than half for testing positive for cocaine when the whole world knew he had a drug abuse problem. The Argentine great remains a celebrated figure with only national team glory by his side, although he has a significant cult following in Naples. The bigger question is, will Pogba be remembered for his exploits on the field or for this failed doping test and the subsequent ban that changed his life?

Off-field problems and the loss of a precious talent

If there is a player that defines ‘human tragedy,’ it has to be Pogba by all means. The midfielder has been plagued with off-field issues since his time at the Manchester United academy, with most of it not his doing, to be fair to him. Pogba expressed his ambitions in the game: to win the Ballon d’Or.

Many footballers say such things. But in Pogba’s case, he was immediately under the media’s scanner for putting his ambitions in front and leaving those of Manchester United behind. He did have his highs in the Manchester United and France games, where he won the Europa League and World Cup for his respective sides.

However, beyond that, he could not help Manchester United mount a challenge for the Premier League or help the French national side challenge for the Euros. The big telltale of the media was exposed at Euro 2020 (2021) when he scored against Switzerland and celebrated it like a last-minute winner.

Switzerland scored twice and forced the game to penalties, where France were subsequently beaten. Here, Pogba had no fault when his team conceded those goals, yet all the attention was drawn towards that celebration earlier in the game.

Pogba has been wrongfully targeted by pundits, fans, and many media figures for various things, such as hairstyles, blaming him solely for the team’s inadequate standards. His wife and children were also threatened during a burglary, although the biggest bombshell came in the form of his brother and mates.

Pogba was kidnapped by masked men, who later demanded €13 million ransom as protection money, a million for every season of his professional career. It turned out that his brother and many of Pogba’s childhood friends were involved in the scandal.

Such incidents bring about a lack of trust in his own personal circle, let alone in the public sphere, to which he was already exposed. We can only imagine the mental state of a player who goes through such an incident that challenges the beliefs of trust, friendship and their siblings.

As a result of that scandal, Mathias Pogba, the midfielder’s elder sibling, threatened to expose the unknown realities of the French star. The revelation claimed Pogba had visited a marabout to place a curse on Kylian Mbappe.

The midfielder confirmed visiting the marabout but only to find a solution for his persistent injuries rather than anything to do with Mbappe. All those things in the background shattered Pogba’s belief system to its core, which started showing in his game.

He has barely featured for Juventus and even suffered a significant injury while practising free klicks in training, which saw him miss France’s World Cup campaign. Is he not human for us fans to consider some sympathy towards the Frenchman? Indeed, we can not understand what he has gone through, but empathy is the least we can offer.

Overall, Pogba will forever be remembered as a lost talent more than anything, as the doping test, off-field problems, and his hairstyles will surely come to the forefront over his footballing abilities, which for sure was one of the best this generation has seen. In all, the midfielder’s story is one of human tragedy more than anything, and we hope his ban is reduced so that the player can be seen again on the pitch in the future.

Leave Comment


Welcome Back!

Login to your account below

Retrieve your password

Please enter your username or email address to reset your password.