A lull for the West African music genre Afrobeats was expected in the first month of 2023. This much can be predicted for the first quarter of ... 2023, a necessary spell of relative silence and rest from the dashing throttle of the last few months of 2022.
The great unravelling that has been taking place in the Pogba family over the past few days could no doubt serve as the inspiration for one of those documentaries about unglamorous events that streaming platforms make their money from.
On 27 August, an evening like any other on the footballing planet, 32-year-old Mathias Pogba, Paul’s older brother (30) posted a video in which he not only promised “great revelations” about his younger brother, but also about Rafaela Pimenta, the latter’s lawyer, while the European championships were taking place as usual. He also promised to say “very important things about Kylian Mbappé”.
A complaint filed
Even though the attack seemed to come out of nowhere, Pogba’s lawyers are not surprised. “This is in addition to threats and attempts at extortion against Paul Pogba by organised crime. The relevant authorities in Italy and France have been alerted.”
Salut à tous, je viens de rejoindre Twitter car j'ai soudainement eu envie de m'exprimer et prochainement je crois que je vais bien me lâcher ! Alors suivez moi et tenez-vous prêt !
👇🏿 La vidéo complète est sur insta
— Mathias Pogba (@LeMathiasPogba) August 27, 2022
Translation: Hi all, I just joined Twitter because I suddenly felt like expressing myself and I think I’m going to let loose soon! So follow me and get ready!
👇🏿 The full video can be found on insta
In a nutshell, the French midfielder (91 caps) filed a complaint, which is said to have motivated Mathias’ spectacular outing. Paul Pogba is believed to have told French investigators that he was set up by childhood friends and accompanied by two hooded men armed with assault rifles last March. The friendly gang allegedly demanded a modest sum of €13m for services rendered in recent years, even threatening him recently at the Juventus Turin training centre. The problem is that the midfielder is said to have recognised Mathias among the suspects.
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The case is being taken very seriously, and not only by Didier Deschamps, the coach of Les Bleus, whose attention had been focused until this bad soap opera on preparing for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. An investigation for “attempted extortion in an organised gang” was opened at the beginning of August and entrusted to the Central Directorate of the Judicial Police (DCPJ).
Relations between the two brothers had been good, at least until the early months of this year. Everything changed when the French team met in March, during which time hooded and armed men threatened it. Previously, Mathias – who was born in Conakry, a Guinean international (5 selections) and now retired from the field – had always been closest with the youngest of the siblings, who was born in France, in Lagny-sur-Marne. In particular, he helped him join Juventus Turin in 2012, when Paul, who trained in Le Havre, signed his first professional contract with Manchester United. The latter is also one of the main donors of the association “48 hours for Guinea”, which is chaired by his elder brother.
The two brothers have followed completely different career paths. Paul has only played for two professional clubs (Manchester United and Juventus Turin). He has won a number of titles, mainly with the Italian team, as well as the 2018 World Cup with Les Bleus, and earns €8m a year in Italy, compared to twice that in England. Mathias, on the other hand, is more of the adventurous type, and his career is far less flamboyant than that of his brother. He has played in France, England, Wales, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and Slovenia, sometimes in the third or fourth division, and has obviously never made as much money – and titles – as the one whom he’s tearing himself from.
He co-owns a barber shop in Paris with his twin brother Florentin, who is also a Guinean international and plays for Mohun Bagan (India). Florentin has also been a sports consultant in Spain and recently on the L’Équipe TV channel. “Like other players who earn a lot of money, Paul Pogba is often asked to help members of his family, more or less close, friends, etc. As he comes from a modest background, his childhood friends probably have the same social status and he no doubt has relatives in Guinea, he will be expected to provide even more support. In some circles, footballers are real sources of income, cash cows, to put it mildly. The entourage can be very toxic, and this is obviously the case in this affair,” says a player agent, speaking on condition of anonymity.
A mother as gang leader?
Jean-Marc Ettori, president of FC Tours, a club where Mathias Pogba played in 2018-2019, recently spoke to Le Figaro about the Pogba family’s practices, during which time he described Yeo Moriba, the mother of the two players, as a “gang leader”. The French club had been offered to sign Mathias, but had politely refused. “She is the one who controls everything, who says yes or no. We were told that Paul would pay his brother’s salary, a total of €80,000, but we never saw the money.”
Moriba, who was interviewed by the investigators, is said to have sided with the Juventus player. Mathias Pogba, on the other hand, has still not been interviewed, although it is probably only a matter of time before he is. Florentin, his twin, does not seem to have any connection with this sulphurous affair.
Mentioned in the 27 August video, Mbappé called both his French teammate Paul and Mathias to discuss the persistent rumours that Paul Pogba had paid a marabout to cast a spell on the world champion. Paul Pogba has reportedly denied this, while his accuser brother has promised to back up his claims with hard evidence.
Various sources appear to claim that ‘La Pioche’, Paul Pogba’s nickname, has frequently used marabouts. “If Mathias Pogba can prove what he says, it will make some noise. Mbappé probably doesn’t care about these stories of marabouts, because it is not at all in his nature, but what could upset him is the fact that one of his teammates in the selection, with whom he has a rather cordial relationship, wants to harm him,” said a journalist who follows the case.
But not as much as Deschamps, who could have done without this news less than three months before the World Cup. “If this story about Pogba hiring a marabout to cast a spell on Mbappé is true, it will be difficult for a coach to get them to play together,” continues the colleague. And needless to say, it is pretty clear which player Deschamps will keep if he has to choose between the two of them.
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