Didier Deschamps 'can't imagine for a moment' Paul Pogba had intention of doping

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Didier Deschamps 'can't imagine for a moment' Paul Pogba had intention of doping
Didier Deschamps said Paul Pogba's "situation saddens me"
Didier Deschamps said Paul Pogba's "situation saddens me"
JULIEN DE ROSA/AFP
France coach Didier Deschamps said in a statement on Thursday that he "can't imagine" that Paul Pogba (30), who has been suspended for four years for doping, "had the intention or the will to dope".

Pogba was handed a four-year ban from football after testing positive for testosterone - a hormone that increases athletes' endurance - following Juventus' first game of the season against Udinese in August last year.

His positive doping test was also confirmed in a counter-analysis on a second sample in October, but national coach Deschamps believes doping is not in Pogba's "state of mind".

"I can't imagine for a moment that Paul had the intention or the will to dope," Deschamps said. "Knowing him well, I know that's not at all in his state of mind. Now there are the facts and what the two samples taken reveal. The presence of the illegal hormone is indisputable."

Pogba had released a statement on his official Instagram page on Thursday, saying he was "shocked and heartbroken" by the news of his ban.

"When I am free of legal restrictions the full story will become clear, but I have never knowingly or deliberately taken any supplements that violate anti-doping regulations," he said.

"I am sad, shocked and heartbroken that everything I have built in my professional playing career has been taken away from me."

Deschamps said: "Paul is going to have to fight a new battle to defend himself, before the Court of Arbitration for Sport and convince the judges that he did not knowingly take banned products.

"What Paul has been going through for several months is extremely hard and I obviously cannot remain insensitive to his pain, given everything he has achieved in the national team and the relationships we have forged in the French team.

"His situation saddens me and I hope with all my heart that it can be resolved. In any case, I want to believe in it."

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