Paul Pogba: Juventus midfielder ‘shocked’ by four-year doping ban

Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba says he is "sad, shocked and heartbroken" after being banned from football for four years for a doping offence.

The France international, 30, was provisionally suspended in September after a drugs test found elevated levels of testosterone in his system.

The former Manchester United player added he would appeal.

Pogba was randomly tested after Juventus’ first match of the season on 20 August.

The positive test was confirmed by Italy’s national anti-doping tribunal in a second sample in October, and the anti-doping prosecutor’s office requested a four-year suspension.

Juventus told the BBC they received notification from the anti-doping tribunal on Thursday morning.

Pogba said he believed the verdict was "incorrect" and he would "never knowingly or deliberately" dope.

"When I am free of legal restrictions, the full story will become clear," 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."

The ruling means Pogba will be unable to play until 2027, when he will be 33, with the ban backdated to the date of the failed test.

Speaking at the time of the initial suspension, Pogba’s agent, Rafaela Pimenta, said: "What is certain is that Paul Pogba never wanted to break a rule."

Testosterone is a hormone that increases the endurance of athletes.

Nado said Pogba had violated rules when prohibited non-endogenous testosterone metabolites - substances not naturally produced by the body from testosterone - were found, and the results were "consistent with the exogenous [external] origin of the target compounds".

Juventus re-signed Pogba on a four-year deal in July 2022 after he ran down his contract at Manchester United and left as a free agent.

He had previously played for the Italian giants from 2012-16, when he made 178 appearances across all competitions and scored 34 goals, before joining United for a then-world record transfer fee of £89.3m.

The 2018 World Cup winner’s return to Turin has been beset by persistent injury problems, which also led to him missing the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Pogba has played a total of 51 minutes as a substitute this season in games against Bologna and Empoli.

Last season he played 108 minutes over six Serie A games, made three appearances and one assist in the Europa League, and managed 11 minutes in the Coppa Italia - a total of 162 minutes and no goals.