Paul Pogba has said that he considered retiring from professional football due to an alleged organised armed extortion attempt against him which involved his brother.
Last year, an investigation was opened into allegations that Juventus and France midfielder was the target of an extortion plot by his brother Mathias and childhood friends demanding €13 million from him.
Speaking to Al Jazeera’s Generation Sport, Pogba said the case played a part in him wanted to quit football.
“Money changes people. … It can break up a family,” he said. “It can create a war. Sometimes I was just by myself thinking: ‘I don’t want to have money anymore. I just don’t want to play anymore. I just want to be with normal people, so they will love me for me — not for the fame, not for the money.’ Sometimes it’s tough.”
Pogba also endured a tough spell on the pitch following his return to Juventus following his departure from Manchester United.
The 30-year-old suffered a lot of injury problems last season and was forced to withdraw from France’s World Cup squad in Qatar.
The midfielder said he is determined to prove his critics wrong and warned that criticism can lead to players wanting to quit the sport.
“I want to make them eat their words. … I want to show them I’m not weak,” Pogba said. “They can talk bad about me. I will never give up.”
He added: “Football is very beautiful, but is cruel. People can forget you in one day. You can do something great, but the next day you are nobody.
“People are waiting for you, saying: ‘He’s done, his career is finished.’ You get these comments after scoring goals, and winning the World Cup. People forget it. So you have to prove all the time.
“You have to accept it, but nobody can be criticised like that. There are so many players that lost it mentally, they didn’t even want to play football anymore because of all the negative things.”