Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba tested positive for testosterone, Italy’s anti-doping agency announced Monday.
The test was carried out after Juventus’ game at Udinese on Aug. 20. Pogba did not play in the Serie A match but was on Juve’s bench.
Nado Italia, the anti-doping agency, said that Pogba was suspended provisionally with immediate effect. Pending a trial and testing of a backup B sample, he risks a suspension of up to four years.
“In acceptance of the instance proposed by the National Anti-doping Prosecutor, it has provided for the provisional suspension of the athlete Paul Labile Pogba,” Nado Italia said in a statement.
The tribunal said Pogba had violated anti-doping rules when they found the prohibited substance “non-endogenous testosterone metabolites,” adding that the results were “consistent with the exogenous origin of the target compounds.”
Juventus issued a statement acknowledging the positive result and suspension, adding that it would “evaluate the next procedural steps.”
“We are waiting for the results of the counter-analysis and cannot say anything until then,” Pogba’s agent Rafaela Pimenta said in a statement reported by Italian media.
“The only certain thing is that Paul Pogba never intended to break the rules.”
It’s another negative note for a player who has been bothered by injuries ever since rejoining Juventus from Manchester United a little more than a year ago. He was ruled out of France’s run to the World Cup final last year with a knee injury.
There’s also been a police investigation ongoing in France into allegations that Pogba was targeted by extortionists — including by his older brother Mathias, who has denied any wrongdoing. Earlier on Monday, Pogba said he considered retiring as the events unfolded.
Pogba has yet to start a game this season but has made two substitute appearances, last playing in the 2-0 win at Empoli.
It’s also another blow to Juventus after a season marred by inquiries into false accounting and irregular reporting of salary payments. The legal cases resulted in the Turin club being removed by UEFA from European competition this season.
Pogba had no immediate comment.