Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe on Monday confirmed that Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba reached out to him and denied that the two had differences after Mbappe’s name came up in an extortion scandal currently under criminal investigation by French prosecutors.
French prosecutors are investigating allegations that Pogba was the target of extortion by his elder brother Mathias Pogba and childhood friends. They allegedly demanded €13 million (nearly $13m) from the France midfielder.
French media reports said Paul Pogba told investigators the extortionists wanted to discredit him by claiming he asked a witch doctor to cast a spell on Mbappe — an allegation denied by his France teammate.
On Monday, Mbappe told a news conference that he had no issues and confirmed that Pogba had already reached out to him.
“I don’t think it will alter my relationship with him,” Mbappe said during the news conference prior to PSG’s Tuesday Champions League match against Juventus. “As of today, I prefer to trust the word of a teammate. He called me, he gave me his version of the story and as of today, it is his word against his brother’s word.
“So I will trust my teammate, in the best of interest of the national team as well. We have a big competition coming up. He has some issues at the moment so it is not the moment to add to them for him and that’s it.
“We will see what happens. I am pretty detached about it.”
Mathias Pogba last week appeared to address the witch doctor claim in a Twitter post directed at 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!”
Pogba reportedly made a €100,000 ($100,000) payment after he was threatened by masked, armed men in a Paris apartment in March while he was in France for national team duty.
He also denied the accusation about Mbappe, telling media in France that he had not sought to cast any type of spell to harm Mbappe and only used the sorcerer in a bid to be protected from injuries.
Pogba, whose knee injury requires surgery, is sidelined for Juve’s clash with PSG on Tuesday and faces a battle to be fit for France’s defence of the World Cup trophy in Qatar starting in November.
Early reports say he might not return to action for the Serie A club until January. Last month Pogba decided not to have surgery after he damaged his meniscus in training following his move back to Juve from Manchester United in the close season.
“This morning he trained for the second time but then stopped and it was then decided that he undergo surgery. We will realistically get him back in January,” Allegri told reporters before Tuesday’s Champions League clash at PSG.
Allegri was unsure if 29-year-old Pogba would be ready for France’s world title defence at the Nov. 21-Dec. 18 World Cup in Qatar, adding: “The World Cup is not my problem, Juventus’ problem is that he comes back in January.”
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.