Varane says concerned France stars are keeping tabs on Pogba saga


Paul Pogba is enduring a difficult time in his personal and professional life, and France team-mates are concerned for the Juventus player.

Raphael Varane confirmed players in the France camp are concerned after Paul Pogba’s brother was charged and detained over an alleged extortion attempt against the midfielder.

Pogba is currently missing from the France squad due to injury and his World Cup chances are hanging in the balance.

However, off the pitch matters have caught the attention of the Juventus player recently.

In August, an investigation was launched into allegations that Pogba was the target of a €13 million blackmail plot by brother Mathias and childhood friends.

Mathias, who is a free agent after a spell with France fourth Belfort ended in April, threatened to share “explosive revelations” in a video posted on social media.

The 32-year-old denied any involvement in the blackmail attempts against his brother, but he and four others were recently charged in connection with the matter.

New videos from Mathias Pogba were released on Friday, making various unsubstantiated claims, with the story remaining high on the news agenda in France.

Asked if the France players were talking about the Pogba problem, Varane said: “Unfortunately there is a lot of unsporting news at the moment. We try to focus on the pitch.

“As a player, it has to take precedence, but we’re not indifferent to what’s going on around us. Especially when it involves someone you know. We also feel a certain sense of concern.”

“Internally, we are doing very well. We are focusing on our goal and trying to be as professional as possible.”

Varane and Pogba were club-mates at Manchester United last season before Pogba left Old Trafford for a second spell at Juventus after his contract expired.

France coach Didier Deschamps says he will not let external events distract him as he prepares his team for Sunday’s Nations League clash with Denmark.

“There is nothing and no one to disturb my peace,” said Deschamps. “If there are less unsportsmanlike debates, that’s better.”

Varane will face United team-mate Christian Eriksen in Copenhagen and is still impressed with how the former Tottenham and Inter playmaker has returned to football after suffering a cardiac arrest at last year’s European Championships.

Signed from Brentford in the off-season, Eriksen has quickly become a key figure for United and defender Varane said: “He was able to fit into the squad quickly.

“He’s got a lot of quality. We’re very happy to see him play at this level after what he’s been through. He’s a player I respect.”

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