Football: French superstar Paul Pogba determined to fight four-year doping ban through next World Cup

Paul Pogba in action for France.
Paul Pogba in action for France. Photo credit: Getty Images

Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba's career hangs in the balance, after he was handed a four-year doping ban, but the France international says he will try to clear his name by appealing to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

The France international was provisionally suspended by a tribunal of Italy's national anti-doping organisation (NADO Italia) in September, after testing positive for DHEA - a banned substance that naturally raises levels of testosterone.

Juventus has not commented on the ban, but a source confirms they have been notified about the decision and will assess the next steps. Pogba, 30, who has a contract at Juve until June 2026, denies any wrongdoing.

"I am sad, shocked and heartbroken that everything I have built in my professional playing career has been taken away from me," he said.

"As a professional athlete, I would never do anything to enhance my performance by using banned substances, and have never disrespected or cheated fellow athletes and supporters of any of the 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," he added, referring to sport's highest court.

NADO Italia has declined to comment on Pogba's case, citing privacy rules.

The doping test was performed after Juve's 3-0 Serie A season-opening victory at Udinese on August 20.

The tribunal says it detected the prohibited substance 'non-endogenous testosterone metabolites', adding that the results are "consistent with the exogenous (external) origin of the target compounds".

Pogba was an unused substitute in that game, but made two appearances off the bench against Bologna and Empoli, before he was handed a provisional suspension. His positive doping test was also confirmed in a counter-analysis on a second sample in October.

The ban could effectively end Pogba's career at the highest level.

The Frenchman was among the sport's highest-earning players at his peak, after he completed a then-world record transfer of more than 100 million euros (NZ$177.5 million) in 2016 to English Premier League Manchester United.

Minimum wage

According to a source, Juve are paying Pogba a minimum wage of 2000 euros (NZ$3550) per month.

If the ban is upheld by CAS, Pogba's contract could be terminated and he will not be able to return to action until September 2027 - when he will be 34.

"When I am free of legal restrictions, the full story will become clear, but I have never knowingly or deliberately taken any supplements that violate anti-doping regulations," he added.

Pogba has had a disappointing second spell with Juve, due to injuries, since he returned to the Turin-based club after leaving United on a free transfer in 2022.

The 2018 World Cup winner barely featured last season, due to knee and hamstring injuries, as well as knee surgery, which prevented him playing for France at the World Cup in Qatar.