After Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri said he will not play for the club again until January, Paul Pogba is expected to miss this year’s World Cup in Qatar.
Pogba, 29, suffered a knee injury in the preseason and had surgery to repair it. It was thought that the France international would be able to return to training this month, but the depth of the damage was revealed on Monday after a training session.
The midfielder scored in France’s 4-2 victory over Croatia in the World Cup final in Russia four years ago. He was also a member of the group that won the Nations League last October and advanced to the Euro 2016 final, where they were defeated 1-0 by Portugal in Paris.
Pogba re-signed with Juventus in July after his contract with Manchester United expired. Due to a knee injury, the four-time Serie A champion has yet to make a competitive return for the Turin club, and it may be some time before he does.
“We will realistically have him [Pogba] back in January,” Allegri confessed ahead of Juventus’ Champions League opener against Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday night at the Parc des Princes. The other two teams in Group H are Benfica and Maccabi Haifa.
Allegri continued: “Pogba practiced for the second time this morning but then stopped, and it was agreed that he would have surgery. The World Cup is not my concern; Juventus’ concern is that he returns in January.”
Pogba underwent surgery – a selective external arthroscopic meniscectomy – after training on Monday and it was a “perfect success,” according to Juventus. According to the NHS website, recovery time for the surgery might range from a week to many months.
Pogba may be able to return in time for the World Cup, but he is unlikely to be a match fit. Didier Deschamps, France’s manager, has yet to comment on Pogba’s injury.
Deschamps is likely to pick his World Cup team at the end of October, with a November 13 deadline for submissions. The competition kicks off on November 20, with France taking against Australia two days later.
During the 2018 World Cup, Pogba stated: “It could be my final World Cup… I’m realistic; we don’t know if I’ll be called up; perhaps other players will outperform me. I’m hoping to play more. I’ve already got the opportunity to play two, whereas others can only hope to play one.”
Pogba will be 33 years old when the next World Cup is held in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. After making his debut nine years ago, he already has 91 senior caps for France. He has 11 senior goals for his country, however only one has come since the last World Cup.
Pogba earned his name in the World Cup in Brazil eight years ago, when he helped France reach the quarterfinals before losing 1-0 to eventual victors Germany. For his efforts, the midfielder was named Young Player of the Tournament.