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Blackmail ‘not uncommon’ in football, says France star Pogba’s agent

Professional footballers are frequent targets for blackmailers, says Paul Pogba’s agent with the France star embroiled in an alleged extortion plot.

In August Pogba’s elder brother Mathias published a bizarre video online promising “great revelations” about the Juventus midfielder, who according to sources is being targeted by a criminal gang.

And Rafaela Pimenta, the heir to deceased superagent Mino Raiola’s empire, told Italian daily Tuttosport that players are often targeted by people hoping to extort money from very rich sportsmen.

“Being extorted or living under threat is not an uncommon problem with footballers. They’re threatened because they are very exposed,” Pimenta said in an interview published on Monday.

“I’ve seen it all, especially blackmail. The players are scared to flag these things up because they’re worried about their image or they’re ashamed. They keep quiet and live under incredible stress.”

Sources close to the Pogba family have told AFP that money is being demanded from Paul Pogba if he wants to avoid the dissemination of allegedly compromising videos.

Mathias Pogba, 32, was charged last month along with four other people, all close to the World Cup winner who filed a complaint with Turin prosecutors in July which said he was being blackmailed for 13 million euros ($12.6m).

Paul Pogba told investigators that his blackmailers wanted to discredit him by claiming he asked a marabout (holy man) to cast a spell on Paris Saint-Germain and France star Kylian Mbappe, which Pogba denies.

“When Paul finally asked for help, his situation improved and he realised that there is a solution,” added Pimenta.

“Everything is in the hands of the lawyers. Paul has done everything he could do.”

On the field, Pogba’s hopes of playing for France at the World Cup in Qatar next month hang in the balance after a knee injury. He had surgery that was described as “successful” earlier this month.

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