As the FIFA World Cup 2022 looms large, France head coach Didier Deschamps finds himself in a tricky spot. He may have to take eye-raising decisions if things don’t ameliorate between two of his most prominent players – Kylian Mbappe and Paul Pogba.
Earlier this week, Pogba confirmed an extortion attempt by his childhood friend of Paris and his own brother Mathias. The group dragged Pogba into a flat in Paris, demanded a ransom of €13 million, and confronted him once again in Turin, when Pogba was there to play for his national side.
The French authorities are investigating a case of “attempted extortion by an organized gang” with regards to Paul Pogba.
Pogba has told police that he was trapped by childhood friends and two hooded men with assault rifles, who demanded €13m from him. https://t.co/eDVLmg2E3c
— Zach Lowy (@ZachLowy) August 28, 2022
Mathis Pogba, who is also a professional footballer in France, is allegedly playing a leading role in the whole saga, as it was his video on Instagram that sparked the rage after he promised to expose his elder brother and his teammate Mbappe.
The current Juventus midfielder told the investigators that they wanted money for taking care of him when he was young. Pogba admitted paying €100,000 and said he always supported them until he found one of his childhood friends stealing a hefty sum from his house.
Soon after he released an official statement, his brother Mathias dropped another bombshell by claiming that Paul hired a witch doctor to cast a spell on Mbappe.
“Kylian, do you understand now? I have nothing against you, what I am saying is for your own good, everything is true and known, the witch doctor is known!” wrote Mathias on Twitter.
As per Get French Football News, the coach Deschamps and FFF president Noël Le Graët is in the know of the things from long ago and had attempted to clear the air between Pogba and Mbappe before the much-awaited World Cup. But Pogba reportedly hasn’t called up the PSG striker to state his version of the events.
“These are just rumors at this point,” Le Graet told Radio Monte Carlo. “I love Paul. I hope this does not call into question his (World Cup) spot on the French side.” Crucially, Le Graet had initially taken Benzema’s side before Euro 2016, only to fall into line with what Deschamps wanted — leaving Benzema feeling let down, since he was close to Le Graet.
But this is the first time Deschamps finds himself in such a situation. Ahead of the 2016 Euro, the France team was rocked by a sex tape scandal involving their star striker Karim Benzema and Mathieu Valbuena. Deschamps decided to drop both strikers out of the campaign and played Antoine Griezmann as the primary striker.
Valbuena never played for France again, while Benzema too was kept aside for the next five years, including the World Cup-winning year. Last year, however, he earned a surprise recall, and he is in the scheme of things for the upcoming World Cup.
🇦🇷 Leo Messi – 3⚽, 4🅰️
🇧🇷 Neymar – 7⚽, 6🅰️
🇫🇷 Kylian Mbappe – 5⚽
👨🍳 Paris Saint-Germain’s front three are cooking this season
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) September 1, 2022
Deschamps will soon have to name the squad for the UEFA Nations League, in which they will be playing Denmark and Austria. While Pogba is already out of contention for these games due to his knee injury, it will be a hard decision for Deschamps to take a call over his future once he returns. Moreover, Unlike Benzema and Mbappe, Pogba is no longer irreplaceable in the side. Aurelien Tchouameni has provided a glimpse of his talent in Madrid, and he can be the perfect replacement for Pogba.
Lead Image: Paul Pogba/Twitter