In a bizarre video on Saturday, Mathias Pogba – the older brother of French footballer Paul Pogba – promised ‘great revelations’ about the Juventus superstar.
The next day, judicial sources in Paris confirmed that an investigation for ‘attempted extortion in an organised gang’ has been opened after Paul alleged a group had attempted to extort him for €13 million (£11m), threatening him with assault rifles.
A source close to the case told the Franceinfo news outlet that Paul Pogba’s ‘big brother [Mathias] and childhood friends’ have all been named as suspects.
By all accounts, Paul and Mathias – who is also a professional footballer – have enjoyed a good relationship over the years. However, Paul’s claims point to a dramatic breakdown in relations between the pair in recent months.
While it is yet to come to light why Mathias has allegedly resorted to extorting him, it is fair to say Paul has been by far the more successful of the Pogba brothers.
Their vastly different career trajectories could go some way towards explaining the dramatic turn of events.
In a bizarre video on Saturday, Mathias Pogba – the older brother of French footballer Paul Pogba (pictured playing for Manchester United in September) promised ‘great revelations’ about the Juventus superstar
The next day, judicial sources in Paris confirmed that an investigation for ‘attempted extortion in an organised gang’ has been opened after Paul alleged a gang had attempted to extort him for €13 million (£11m), threatening him with assault rifles. A source close to the case told the Franceinfo news outlet that Paul Pogba’s ‘big brother [Mathias] and childhood friends’ have all been named as suspects. Pictured: Mathias is seen playing football in Slovenia
In this file photo taken on June 25, 2017, Mathias Pogba (right) celebrates his goal with his brother Paul Pogba (left) during a friendly match in Medellin, Colombia
Left: Mathias Pogba speaks in a video promising ‘great revelations’ about his younger brother Paul. The next day, judicial sources in Paris confirmed that an investigation for ‘attempted extortion in an organised gang’ has been opened after Paul Pogba (right) alleged a gang had attempted to extort him for €13 million (£11m)
While he has struggled for consistent form in recent seasons, 29-year-old Paul has enjoyed success and riches that most footballers could only dream of.
In addition to playing for two of the world’s biggest clubs – making over 150 appearances for both England’s Manchester United and Italy’s Juventus – he is also a World Cup winner with the French national team.
Pogba won the tournament in Russia 2018, and even scored the third and ultimately winning goal in the final – a dramatic 4-2 victory over Croatia.
For Juventus, he has won the top Italian league (Serie A) four times, the Coppa Italia twice and Supercoppa Italiana twice. For Manchester United, he won the UEFA Europa League in 2017, and the League Cup that same year.
To add to that success, he has also been one of the sport’s top earners and most marketable figures, gaining a reputation as a larger-than-life character.
Before he left Manchester United earlier this year, he was said to be earning around £15million each year. Now, he is understood to be earning £7 million per year after his move to Juventus, in addition to earnings from his lucrative sponsorship deals.
Furthermore, with over 55 million Instagram followers, he is amongst the most influential footballers in the world. Only players like Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Neymar are followed by more people on the social media platform.
His wealth has meant he has developed a penchant for flashy purchases, such as extravagant cars and luxurious homes – to the point where he had some pundits questioning his commitment to football, despite his obvious ability.
Posts to Instagram and paparazzi snaps have shown off his extravagant lifestyle – such him being chauffeured in a Rolls Royce and playing table football in the basement of his home in front of a huge fish tank.
His move to Turin meant he had to sell his £3 million home in Manchester, which featured a swimming pool and its own indoor mini football pitch.
He also reportedly owns an apartment in Miami, and is married to the Bolivian model, Maria Zulay Salaues. They have two children together.
Pogba (pictured) claims two armed men said they ‘protected him discreetly’ during a period that spanned more than a decade, including during two spells at Manchester United , the last of which ended earlier this year. In Turin, Paul Pogba says he recognised his brother Mathias amongst those that came to his home to intimidate him
His parents – Fassou Antoine and Yeo Moriba Pogba – were both born in Guinea. His two other brothers – Mathias and Florentin, who are twins – were also born there, while Paul was born in France three years later.
As is often the ambition of footballing superstars from humble beginnings, Paul Pogba has been able to share these successes with his family, who have been an ever-present source of support.
His mother and brothers have often been spotted watching Paul from the stands, and emotionally celebrated his World Cup win on the pitch together in 2018. His father also often watched his matches until his death in 2017.
Mathias and Florentin are themselves professional footballers. Florentin currently plays as a defender for Indian club ATK Mohun Bagan, while Mathias plies his trade at ASM Belfort – a club currently in France’s fourth tier.
Mathias has previously played in English football at Wrexham, Crewe and Crawley Town, but made no more than 66 appearance for a single club (Wrexham).
During his time at Welsh club – from 2010 to 2012 – Mathias lived with Paul – who at the time was struggling through his first stint at Old Trafford.
However, neither of Paul’s older brothers have reached the same dizzying heights of global stardom that he has in the last decade. Mathias in particular has bounced from club-to-club in lower divisions, or playing for B-Teams.
Mathias’ clubs – such as Crawley Town, Sparta Rotterdam and Racing Murcia – have nowhere near the same financial clout as the likes of Manchester United and Juventus, and he therefore will have earned far less during his own playing career.
And while Mathias and Florentin both played for the Guinea national team, Mathias is retired from international football.
Paul, meanwhile, continues to play for France – and is expected to be part of the team defending their World Cup crown in Qatar later this year.
Instagram and paparazzi snaps have shown off Paul Pogba’s extravagant lifestyle – such him being chauffeured in a Rolls Royce (pictured)
Pictured: Paul Pogba plays table football in a luxurious-looking room in his Manchester house
The house also boasts an indoor football pitch which was named P. P Arena by Pogba himself
The 2018 World Cup winner (pictured right with his wife Zilay Pogba) left United for a second time this summer and re-joined Italian giants Juventus. At times in his career, he has been amongst the sports top-earners, and most marketable figures
In recent months, it appears the relationship between Mathias and his family has dramatically broken down, with Paul saying the gang accused him of not helping them financially since he became a house-hold name.
According to French sources, Paul said the men wanted money for ‘protection services’ stretching back 13 years, including for the time he spent in Manchester.
He claims two armed men said they ‘protected him discreetly’ during a period that spanned more than a decade, and in Turin, he says he recognised Mathias amongst those that came to his home to intimidate him, according to sources.
A statement signed by his lawyers, his mother and current agent Rafaela Pimenta said that the videos ‘are unfortunately no surprise’ and were in addition to other ‘threats and extortion attempts’.
One such threat, Pogba reportedly told investigators, was to claim that he had asked a witch doctor to cast a spell on Paris Saint-Germain superstar and French teammate Kylian Mbappe, something which Pogba denies doing.
Judicial sources in Paris confirmed on Sunday that an investigation for ‘attempted extortion in an organised gang’ has been opened.
On Sunday night a source close to the case told the Franceinfo news outlet that Pogba’s ‘big brother and childhood friends’ are all named as suspects.
But last night, Mathias denied the claims from his better-known sibling in a furious Twitter outburst.
He wrote: ‘Paul, you really wanted to shut me up completely to lie and send me to prison, I suspected it now it’s true, my version of the facts happens and unlike you.’
Pogba, 29, who has won the World Cup with France, said the men wanted the money for ‘protection services’ stretching back 13 years and also followed him to Manchester. Pictured: France midfield superstar Paul Pogba (top, second from right) poses before a football match in France in 2019 with brothers Florentin (first to Pogba’s left) and Mathias (to his right)
Pictured: Pogba celebrates winning the World Cup with his brothers and mother. Mathias Pogba has said he will share ‘explosive’ revelations about the former Man United midfielder in a Twitter video, released a day before judicial sources in Paris confirmed that an investigation for ‘attempted extortion in an organised gang’ has been opened
Pogba said the gang wanted €13m – the equivalent of £11m – and had been threatening him for four months.
Acts of intimidation were carried out in Manchester in April, and later around the Italian city of Turin, where Pogba currently plays for Juventus. In Turin, sources have said, Pogba recognised his brother Mathias amongst the gang.
The gang is also said to have taken Pogba to flat in the Paris suburb of Lagny-sur-Marne, where Pogba grew up, at the end of March. There, the gang members accused him of not helping them financially since he became a professional player.
During police interviews, Paul Pogba said he had always been close to his childhood friends and helped them out financially when he could.
But in January he kicked one out his house in Manchester after discovering that the unidentified man had used Pogba’s credit card to steal €200,000 – the equivalent of £170,000.
‘During various hearings, Paul Pogba was able to confide in investigators from the Central Office of Judicial Police Combating Organised Crime that he was trapped by childhood friends, and two hooded men armed with assault rifles,’ a judicial source said.
Paul Pogba was born and raised in Lagny-sur-Marne along with his two brothers. Mathias took to social media this weekend to promise ‘explosive revelations’ about his brother.
‘The French, English, Italian and Spanish public – in other words, the whole world – as well as my brother’s fans, and even more so the French team and Juventus, my brother’s team-mates and his sponsors deserve to know certain things,’ he said.
‘In order to make an informed decision if he deserves the admiration, respect and love of the public.
‘If he deserves his place in the French team and the honour of playing in the World Cup. If he deserves to be a starter at Juventus.
‘If he is a trustworthy person, that any player deserves to have at his side.’
Pogba has played for two of the world’s biggest clubs – making over 150 appearances for both England’s Manchester United (pictured) and Italy’s Juventus
Paul Pogba reportedly told investigators that the blackmailers threatened to claim he had asked a witch doctor to cast a spell on Paris Saint-Germain superstar and French teammate Kylian Mbappe (pictured), something which Pogba denies doing
Mathias Pogba also addressed his brother’s agent and lawyer, Rafaela Pimenta. Pimenta has taken over the handling of Paul Pogba’s career following the death of his former agent, Mino Raiola, in April.
Mathias Pogba has questioned her ability to hold the position.
He stated that he would let fans and players know about ‘her integrity, her professionalism… her loyalty’ so that they could decide whether she ‘deserves to represent them.’
Pogba concluded his video by referencing Kylian Mbappe, declaring he has ‘important things’ to say about the 23-year-old.
‘I will tell you very important things about him and there will be elements and many testimonies to confirm my words,’ Pogba said of Mbappe. ‘Everything could be explosive and make a lot of noise.’
Paul Pogba’s lawyers, Yeo Moriba – who is also his mother – and Pimenta have since responded to Mathias’s threats.
‘Mathias Pogba’s recent statements on social networks are unfortunately not a surprise,’ they said. ‘They are in addition to threats and organised extortion attempts against Paul Pogba.’
According to two sources close to the Pogba family contacted by AFP, large sums of money are being demanded from Paul Pogba if he wants to avoid the dissemination of the allegedly compromising videos.
Pogba also explained to investigators that his blackmailers wanted to discredit him by claiming he asked a marabout, a holy man, to cast a spell on the Paris Saint-Germain and France star, Mbappe, which Pogba denies.
Later this evening, Mathias also took to Twitter after the reports in French media to take aim at his brother and say: ‘My little brother is finally starting to show his true face.’
The French prosecutor confirmed to Reuters that an investigation was underway. ‘I confirm that an investigation was opened on 3 August 2022 on the charge of attempted extortion by an organised criminal gang.
The investigations have been entrusted to the OCLCO,’ the prosecutor’s office said.
The OCLCO is a unit within the judicial police tasked with investigating organised crime.
Paul Pogba is set to defend the World Cup he won with France in 2018 at the upcoming tournament in Qatar.
He re-joined the Serie A giants on a free transfer after his Manchester United contract expired earlier this summer.
He first arrived at Old Trafford from Le Havre as a 16-year-old in 2009 before being allowed to leave United on a free transfer and join Juventus in 2012.
He is expected to return to action next month.