ROME: Juventus’s France midfielder Paul Pogba has been provisionally suspended after testing positive for a banned substance, Italy’s national anti-doping (NADO Italia) tribunal said on Monday. The test, performed after Juve’s 3-0 Serie A season-opening victory at Udinese on Aug. 20, detected testosterone, a hormone that increases athletes’ endurance. “In acceptance of the instance proposed by the National Anti-doping Prosecutor, it has provided for the provisional suspension of the athlete Paul Labile Pogba,” NADO Italia said in a statement. The tribunal said Pogba had violated anti-doping rules when they found the prohibited substance “non-endogenous testosterone metabolites”, adding that the results were “consistent with the exogenous origin of the target compounds”. The 30-year-old Pogba was an unused substitute in the win at Udinese. Juventus said they had been informed of the provisional suspension and were evaluating the next steps. If found guilty of doping, Pogba could be suspended for between two and four years. He will now await the results of the B Sample test. “We are waiting for the results of the counter-analysis and cannot say anything until then,” Pogba’s agent Rafaela Pimenta said in a statement reported by Italian media. “The only certain thing is that Paul Pogba never intended to break the rules.” TORRID SPELL Pogba has had a torrid second spell with Juve due to injuries since he returned to the Turin-based club following his departure from Manchester United on a free transfer last year. The 2018 World Cup winner barely played last season due to knee and hamstring injuries as well as knee surgery which prevented him playing for France at the World Cup in Qatar. Pogba has yet to start a game this season but has made two substitute appearances, last playing in the 2-0 win at Empoli. Pogba’s contract with Juve expires in June 2026. Apart from injury troubles, Pogba said last year he was the target of extortion attempts and threats from an organised gang, with his brother Mathias placed under formal investigation. Paul told the Paris prosecution office that he had been the target of extortion by childhood friends since March 2022 and had paid 100,000 euros ($107,450) to that group in the spring. Mathias was taken into custody in September last year and released in December. The 33-year-old, who has also played professionally, denied the allegations against him. In an interview with Al Jazeera published on Monday, Paul said he had considered retiring from the sport having been worn down by the alleged extortion attempts and threats. “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,'” he said.