Keeping up with the Pogbas
Paul Pogba is living a disenchanted life. The Frenchman is currently recovering from a serious injury which derailed his Juventus comeback and put his World Cup participation in jeopardy. But, as is the norm with the Pogba clan, another embarrassing storm ensued.
On August 28, it was revealed that Paul Pogba sought the help of the police for a reported extortion attempt by an organized gang. He claimed the gang had first ambushed him and demanded ransom during a family visit to his hometown. They had since followed him to Manchester in April, and Turin in July, where he recognised his older brother, Mathias among the "culprits".
A day after these revelations, Mathias opened a Twitter account and claimed that his little brother is finally beginning to reveal his true identity. He accused Paul of using witchcraft to cast a spell on Kylian Mbappe and to stay clear of injuries.
In the days that followed, Mathias became even more aggressive, releasing video messages and professing that Paul became disconnected from reality due to his wealth. Paul apparently never gave back to the community and abandoned his poorer family members. Mathias also feared he and his family would either "be killed by Paul or be locked away in prison for revealing the true face of his younger brother".
Inevitably, Mathias received significant backlash but that didn't stop him. He later claimed the French government and the France Football Federation (FFF) themselves covered Paul's misdeeds. As for the midfielder, he has denied any wrongdoing, saying he has and will always keep on supporting his roots. Nonetheless, he has admitted to 'seeing' a marabout (a north African holy man, or hermit) and spending millions to protect himself from injury, but he never cast a spell on Mbappe.
After the exposés, Paul was quick to take action. Supported by his mother, Yeo Moriba, he lodged a complaint and had Mathias arrested on September 18. Even from prison, Mathias had his account manager make one last tweet, stating that Paul's crimes, despite conspiracy by the French police and Paul himself, would be unveiled in due time.
The message it sends to fans
Any family conflict gone public is embarrassing, and the Pogbas are no exception. Given his high status, his case will receive seismic media attention, which might damage Paul's reputation if the allegations are proven.
Mathias's accusation of not getting justice "for being poor" and his fear for life is an ominous sign – it lays bare the huge gulf between the rich and the poor, even between siblings. If Pogba is found guilty of any allegations, it would be indicative of the fact that money triumphs justice and it is easy for rigid systems of law to be compromised.
Furthermore, the possibility that the French government and the FFF protected Paul also deserves scrutiny. While FFF is well within their rights to protect their star players, the question of exactly what secrets they are keeping from the public, and if it's something unethical, remains.
The investigations of journalist Romain Molina brought to light some dark truths about the FFF, the unsettling details of which can be found online. The bone-chilling fact is, it's all done by the top executives of the federation and players of high calibre are involved as well. The France National Team coach, Didier Deschamps and French President, Emmanuel Macron are fully aware of it all but has chosen to turn a blind eye.
The protection that Paul is receiving, if Mathias is to be believed, reflects poorly on the FFF. That isn't to say they should have abandoned their star midfielder, but with serious allegations involving the FFF already, what is it to stop people from believing these rumours about Paul Pogba as well?
Although there is no evidence confirming the allegations, the timing of Mathias and Molina's announcements means Paul isn't off the hook just yet. In the event that Pogba is proven guilty in any of this, it will not only destroy his career but also be very disheartening for fans who look up to him.
This episode, regardless of how it turns out, does him more harm than good in the grand scheme of things. It sends out a grim message regarding the Pogbas – that despite their success, they are a broken family with no harmony. It would further cement Paul's legacy as a dramatic maverick who couldn't realise his talents fully. With the investigation still in progress, all we can do is wait and watch things unfold.
Franceinfo Sport. (August 28, 2022). 'Extortion attempts' on Paul Pogba: the brother, the childhood friends and the marabout… What the player told the police.
Inqiad is a long-suffering Man United fan and a self-proclaimed Targaryen. Contact him at [email protected]