Paul Pogba
Paul Pogba has had a difficult time at Juventus since returning to the club for a second spell in 2022. Massimo Pinca/Reuters

Juventus and France midfielder, Paul Pogba, is facing a lengthy ban from professional football after Italy's anti-doping prosecutors requested that he be handed a four-year ban for testing positive for the banned substance, DHEA.

It was announced in September that Pogba had tested positive for DHEA from being drug tested after Juventus' Serie A fixture against Udinese in August. This was despite the 30-year-old Frenchman not featuring in the game and remaining on the substitutes bench.

DHEA is known to naturally enhance testosterone production and can help boost an athlete's physical performance by providing greater levels of endurance.

The initial fallout from Pogba's positive test led to him being provisionally suspended by Italy's national anti-doping tribunal, NADO Italia, from all footballing activities and meant he took up a personal programme to maintain his fitness.

In an attempt to prove his innocence, Pogba requested counter-analysis but the B sample results, which were revealed in October, turned out to be a positive test for DHEA as well.

Now, Pogba is set to face the national anti-doping court in Italy early next year as he refused to make a plea deal with the nation's anti-doping agency. Four-year bans are typically handed out by the World Anti-Doping Code in situations where an athlete has tested positive for doping.

There is the possibility of Pogba's ban being reduced from four years in the case of him proving that his use of DHEA was not intentional or if he is able to prove that contamination was the reason for his positive test. Also, Pogba may face a shorter ban if he provides any evidence to the investigators that is deemed substantial enough to help his case.

A four-year ban would be massively detrimental to Pogba's football career as he would be 34 by the time the ban expires. It would see him miss the 2024 UEFA European Championships and the 2026 World Cup.

The current doping matter has been yet another hindrance to Pogba since leaving Manchester United on a free transfer to rejoin Juventus in July 2022.

The 2018 FIFA World Cup winner has struggled with injuries as just after re-joining Juventus, he suffered a serious knee injury, which ruled him out of action for seven months. This meant he missed the 2022 World Cup and could only make his second debut for Juventus in February 2023.

Pogba then suffered another injury setback weeks later due to a muscle issue. He only made his first start in his second spell at Juventus in May 2023 and lasted just 23 minutes before being subbed off with another muscle problem. This ended Pogba's first season back in Turin and meant he only featured in 10 games with just 161 minutes of playing time under his belt.

The Frenchman featured in just two Serie A games off the bench this season before the results came back for his failed drug test taken after the match with Udinese.

Pogba signed a four-year deal worth £9 million per year when he rejoined Juventus but there is the possibility of Juventus terminating his contract should he be found guilty as the midfielder reportedly admitted to taking a substance which Juventus' club doctors did not sign off on.

For many, a lengthy ban from football for Pogba would signal an unfortunate climax to a career that promised so much and ended up falling well below the lofty expectations which were set of him.

The doping issue coupled with the injuries he has suffered in recent times mean Pogba's career may be all but over unless he gets a reduced punishment and can work his way back to the form which saw him regarded as one of the world's most gifted midfielders.

Elsewhere, away from the pitch, Pogba has had to deal with issues in his personal life as he was threatened as part of a blackmail scheme to make him hand over £11 million to extortionists, which included his own older brother, Mathias Pogba and some childhood friends. Pogba was pressurised that if he failed to hand over the money then his older brother would make revelations about him publicly.

Mathias Pogba was eventually arrested and charged for alleged extortion before being released three months later. He was warned that he could not make any contact with his younger brother.