Mbappe breaks silence in Pogba ‘witchcraft’ scandal
Kylian Mbappe took advantage of a pre-match press conference on Monday to insist that there is no rift between himself and France teammate Paul Pogba despite his name being dragged into a witchcraft and extortion scandal between Pogba and his brother Mathias.
As part of a family feud that is the talk of French football, Mathias Pogba has accused Paul Pogba of hiring the services of a west African religious figure known as a Marabout, with wild suggestions that he wanted to cast a spell on Mbappe and see the Paris Saint-Germain ace injured.
Paul Pogba has said he was the victim of an extortion attempt, which investigators are looking into and which reports claim saw Mathias and Paul Pogba's childhood friends attempt to get €13 million ($13 million) out of him for protection, while Mbappe is said to have contacted the separate parties to find out why his name has been brought into their public falling out.
Ahead of PSG'S meeting with Juventus in the Champions League on Tuesday, however, Mbappe revealed at a pre-match press conference that it was Pogba who reached out to him.
Furthermore, he denied that there any differences between the Les Bleus colleagues that could hamper their country's upcoming defense of the World Cup title they won on Russian soil in 2018.
"I don't think it will alter my relationship with him," Mbappe predicted when completing his media duties alongside manager Christophe Galtier.
"As of today, I prefer to trust the word of a teammate. He called me, he gave me his version of the story and as of today, it is his word against his brother's word.
"So I will trust my teammate, in the best [interests] of the national team as well. We have a big competition coming up. He has some issues at the moment so it is not the moment to add to them for him and that's it. We will see what happens. I am pretty detached about it," Mbappe added.
Kylian Mbappe is standing with Paul Pogba over the witchcraft saga 🤝 pic.twitter.com/UBdsbWWVXo— GOAL (@goal) September 5, 2022
In the same chat with journalists, Mbappe touched on his relationship with Neymar which has had its ups and downs no better seen than earlier this season when they publicly clashed over who takes penalties during a Ligue 1 win over Montpellier and are then said to have confronted one another backstage.
"To talk about Neymar, this is the sixth year. I think we've always had a relationship like this based on respect," Mbappe explained, with the pair having joined PSG in the same summer of 2017.
"But we've always had moments like this where sometimes we've had moments that were a bit colder and moments that were a bit hotter.
"There are times, you'll see, when we're the best of friends and sometimes we don't talk so much, it's the nature of our relationship that's like that," Mbappe pointed out.
"But there is a lot of respect, I have a lot of respect for the player he is, the player he represents and the importance he has in our team.
"Afterwards, when you have two players with a strong character like that, life is not linear. It's [certain] that sometimes things happen but it always remains in the respect and in the interest of PSG," he further claimed.
As for Pogba, who has allegedly admitted to using a witchdoctor but not to harm Mbappe, he won't face off against the number '7' or Neymar at the Parc des Princes on Tuesday night due to a knee injury picked up in preseason that has prevented him from making his second debut for Juventus since joining them on a free transfer from Manchester United.
Pogba had previously ruled out surgery, but as detailed by his manager Massimiliano Allegri, this course of action will now be taken in order for the playmaker to return to the field.
"This morning he trained for the second time but then stopped and it was then decided that he undergo surgery. We will realistically get him back in January," Allegri stated to reporters in his own pre-match press conference, while unsure as to whether Pogba will make FIFA's showpiece international tournament in Qatar later this year.
"The World Cup is not my problem, Juventus' problem is that he comes back in January," Allegri stressed.
At least for France national team manager Didier Deschamps, though, a lack of conflict between Mbappe and Pogba means that he will not be forced to make a choice between the two for his 23-man squad providing they are both fit.