Football: Pogba undergoes 'successful' knee surgery but is a doubt for World Cup

Paul Pogba during a pre-season friendly match against Chivas at Allegiant Stadium on July 22, 2022. PHOTO: AFP

PARIS - Paul Pogba underwent successful knee surgery on Monday night, Juventus said as the France midfielder's hopes of appearing at the World Cup hang in the balance.

"This evening, Paul Pogba underwent selective external arthroscopic meniscectomy," the Italian football giants said in a statement. "The surgery, performed by Prof. Roberto Rossi in the presence of the Juventus team doctor, Luca Stefanini, was a complete success."

The 29-year-old injured the meniscus in his right knee in July and initially opted against surgery in a bid to be fit for the World Cup which kicks off on Nov 19.

However, after returning to training on Sunday, Pogba changed his mind about an operation which, according to multiple reports, could keep him out of action for as long as two months.

Juve coach Massimiliano Allegri had already plunged into doubt his availability at the Qatar tournament earlier on Monday when he revealed that Pogba would go under the knife.

Allegri said that Juve "needed to be realistic", saying that Pogba would probably not play for Juve until January after rejoining from Manchester United in the close season.

Pogba was a star performer in 2018 when France were crowned world champions.

Juve play Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League in Paris on Tuesday.Meanwhile, Kylian Mbappe on Monday played down suggestions that his relationship with Pogba could be impacted after his name came up in a blackmail affair engulfing his France teammate.

Pogba says he is the victim of a multi-million euro blackmail plot to discredit him by claiming he asked a witch doctor to cast a spell on Mbappe.

The claims about the witch doctor were revealed publicly by Pogba’s elder brother Mathias.

Pogba denies the accusation.

“No because today, as things stand, I prefer to believe what my teammate says,” Paris Saint-Germain star Mbappe said when asked if there might be a problem with Pogba.

Mbappe was speaking at a press conference ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League game between PSG and Juventus.

“He called me and gave me his version of events. It is his word against his brother’s word. I am going to trust my teammate,” Mbappe said of his fellow 2018 World Cup winner.

“I think it’s in the interests of the national team as well with a big tournament coming up.

“At the moment, he already has certain problems and now is not the time to add to those problems.

“We’ll see what happens but I am quite detached from all that.”

A criminal investigation was launched in France last week into the affair.

Based on the findings of a preliminary investigation last month, it will examine allegations – for now against persons unknown – including blackmail by an armed gang, kidnapping and membership of a criminal conspiracy. AFP

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