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France midfielder Paul Pogba will miss the World Cup in Qatar after failing to recover from knee surgery, his agent said on Monday.
Pogba underwent an operation in September, but his agent said that, after a medical review, the midfielder would not yet return to the Juventus squad or join up with France for the World Cup, which takes place from Nov. 20 to Dec. 18.
“Following yesterday and today’s medical review in Torino and Pittsburgh, it is extremely painful to inform Paul Pogba will still need recovery time from his surgery,” agent Rafaela Pimenta said.
“For this reason, Paul will not be able to join Juventus squad before the World Cup break nor the French national team in Qatar. If wishful thinking would change things, Paul would be playing tomorrow.”
The 29-year-old has not played a single minute for Juventus this season since rejoining the club from Manchester United on a free transfer in July.
Pogba injured his knee in July while on preseason with the Serie A club and first decided not to undergo surgery on his meniscus before changing his mind and having the operation.
He faced a race against time to recover in time to lead Les Bleus into the 2022 tournament and France boss Didier Deschamps was also aware of the situation.
Juventus released a statement on Monday that read: “Paul Pogba, in light of the recent radiological examinations performed at J|Medical and the consultation carried out in Pittsburgh by Prof. Volker Musahl on the evaluation of his knee, needs to continue his rehabilitation program.”
The news is a huge setback for reigning world champions France, who will also be without Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante for this year’s tournament.
Aurelien Tchouameni and Adrien Rabiot are now expected to start in midfield for France in their World Cup opener versus Australia on Nov. 22.
Pogba was one of France’s most influential players in their 2018 World Cup triumph, scoring in the 4-2 victory over Croatia in the final as they won the trophy for the second time. France will face Australia, Denmark and Tunisia in Group D at the World Cup finals.