Juventus and France midfielder Paul Pogba has tested positive for testosterone doping after a routine test was carried out following Juventus‘ Serie A 2023/24 season opener against Udinese on August 20.

Pogba has had a terrible time with injuries and other personal matters since he returned to Juventus on a free transfer from Manchester United in the summer of 2022 and he could now be set for another long spell on the sidelines.

The news was first reported by Italian press agency ANSA on Monday, September 11. The match in question ended 3-0 to the Bianconeri and Pogba remained on the bench for the entire game.

What does Pogba’s positive test result mean for the player?

Paul Pogba playing for Juventus against Empoli. [@juventusfc]

The 30-year-old tested non-negative for synthetic testosterone following an anti-doping test on his urine.

Pogba‘s case is said to be very similar to that of former Juventus player Edgar Davids, who also tested positive for a banned substance after a fixture against Udinese back in 2001. The Dutchman was initially disqualified for 16 months, but it was later reduced to four months.

A more contemporary example is Atalanta‘s Jose Luis Palomino. He was later cleared of any offence but it took four months in which he could not play for La Dea, meaning he missed the entire first half of a season and struggled to refind his place in the team once cleared to return.

Many over-the-counter products sold in pharmacies contain steroid hormones, which can be used in helping to assist muscle mass growth. In addition to this, traces of testosterone can be present in both anti-inflammatory ointments and gels.

What happens next after Pogba’s doping test?

Paul Pogba playing for Juventus against Bologna. [@juventusfc]

In terms of Pogba himself, the World Cup-winning midfielder could, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport, face up to four years of disqualification, unless he can prove or demonstrate that the results were subject to contamination or an involuntary intake. This would reduce the sentence by half but would be difficult to achieve.

Due to the specificity of the substance, the four-year disqualification is a very real possibility and even if Pogba is to be cleared, he will face time on the sidelines whilst that process takes place.

Doping in Italy is a crime, meaning it will now be a question of understanding the nature of the product, the possible subscription and which third party potentially supplied it, which would consequently extend the investigation.

What does Pogba’s positive doping test mean for Juventus?

Paul Pogba in action for Juventus. [@juventusfcen]

Juventus haven’t been short of controversy in recent times and this will only add to the list following their ban from competing in European competitions this season.

Pogba played in the club’s next matches after the test was conducted, against Bologna and Empoli, looking to regain a place in the team following a long injury lay-off. However, the Bianconeri kept him on the market over the summer, testing the water for clubs who could make a serious offer in terms of both a transfer fee and wages.

On the pitch, this won’t affect Juventus heavily as Pogba has been a bit-part player since he returned, however, it could easily be the end of the road for Pogba and Juventus as reasons to retain the player are now almost non-existent. There is reason to believe the club could look to rescind his contract should it become clear that he is facing a very lengthy ban.