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Other SportsPaul Pogba ban: Massimiliano Allegri says football losing 'extraordinary' player

Paul Pogba ban: Massimiliano Allegri says football losing ‘extraordinary’ player

Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri believes Paul Pogba’s four-year ban for doping is a sad moment for football, saying the sport is losing an “extraordinary” player.

Pogba’s punishment was confirmed by Italy’s National Anti-Doping Tribunal on Thursday, after he tested positive for testosterone following Juve’s 3-0 win over Udinese on August 20, 2023.

The former Manchester United midfielder – who was suspended by his current club following that test result – has pledged to contest the verdict.

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Pogba insists he has “never knowingly or deliberately taken any supplements that violate anti-doping regulations”, and has confirmed he intends to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

The 30-year-old has endured a dismal second stint at Juve since leaving Old Trafford as a free agent in 2022, only making one start during an injury-plagued 2022-23 campaign.

If Pogba’s punishment is upheld, it will almost certainly spell the end of his career at the top level, and Allegri believes football would be worse for his absence.

 

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Speaking at a press conference to preview Sunday’s Serie A clash with Napoli, Allegri said of Pogba’s ban: “It’s very sad both on a human level and for football. We are losing an extraordinary player.

“I was lucky enough to work with him, to coach him, and it’s very difficult to find players like him. He’s a fantastic guy.”

Allegri declined, however, to comment on the details of the case, adding: “I won’t go into the merits of the sentence, that is for the authorities.”

On Friday, France boss Didier Deschamps defended Pogba, telling L’Equipe: “I don’t believe for a minute that Pogba intended to or wanted to dope. Knowing him well, I know that is not how he is.

“What Paul has experienced these past months has been extremely difficult and I can’t be insensitive to his pain, given what he has done with the national team and the relationships that have been formed with the France national team.”

Harry Carr
Harry Carr
Harry is a freelance sports journalist with experience of working for the Racing Post, Stats Perform, Opta Analyst and more, covering major events across all sports but holding a particular love for the beautiful game.
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