Heartbreak for Paul Pogba as he’s ruled out of World Cup · The42

PAUL POGBA will miss France’s World Cup defense as he needs more time to recover from knee surgery, his manager said on Monday.

“Following the medical review yesterday and today in Turin and Pittsburgh, it is extremely painful to report that Paul Pogba will still need recovery time after his surgery,” Rafaela Pimenta said in a statement.

“Therefore, Paul will not be able to join Juventus’ pre-World Cup squad or the French national team in Qatar.”

Juve coach Massimiliano Allegri said on Friday it was “very unlikely” that the 29-year-old midfielder would play for his team before disbanding for the Serie A World Cup.

Italian media reported early on Monday that Pogba could be off the field for about 15 days with a hip injury.

Pogba has not played for Juve since re-signing from Manchester United in the summer and suffered a meniscus injury in his right knee in July.

He initially chose not to go under the knife to run the Qatari tournament, which will begin on November 20.

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However, after returning to training earlier last month, Pogba changed his mind and opted for surgery, which kept him on the field until he resumed partial training with Juve two weeks ago.

Missing the World Cup was another blow to a difficult year for Pogba, who was embroiled in an alleged extortion scheme involving his own brother.

Mathias Pogba, 32, was indicted last month, along with four others close to the World Cup champion, who filed a complaint in July saying that Turin prosecutors had been blackmailed for 13m euros.

Paul Pogba told investigators that Pogba refused, claiming that his blackmailers asked a marabout (holy man) to cast a spell on Paris Saint-Germain and France star Kylian Mbappe.

Meanwhile, Kevin De Bruyne admits that next month’s World Cup may be his last game and wants his kids to see him perform on the biggest stage.

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The Belgian international has been relieved before the tournament kicks off next month after Manchester City’s 1-0 win at Leicester on Saturday.

De Bruyne’s family will travel to Qatar for Belgium’s Group F matches against Canada, Morocco and Croatia.

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The 31-year-old played for Belgium four years ago when they finished third against Russia and reached the quarterfinals in Brazil in 2014, but he knows this will be his last chance with his national team.

He said: “My family is going through the group stages. I’m obviously 31 years old and I don’t know what’s going to happen in four years. My kids can come to the World Cup for the first time.

“That’s why they’re coming. It’s going to be special, something I don’t want them to miss. They’re six, four, and two. The eldest two follow a bit of football but her daughter not so much, but she can go and enjoy the sun and play in the pool.

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“I’m excited. It’s going to be a third and it’s always special. These events are great because everyone is watching. It’s big, but there’s no point dwelling on it. This is my third time, I understand what’s coming, and I can’t speak for someone who will be there for the first time.

“Unknown (timing). There is no point in worrying or thinking about it. Take it as is and try to play as well as possible. We don’t talk about it with our teammates. The program is very intense. We had two away games in a row.”

– © AFP 2022 and Press Society.

Originally published in 11.13; Updated at 16.42


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