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Fans react to Graeme Souness Pogba doping ban criticism

It’s been a tough few days for Paul Pogba. On Thursday, the Juventus midfielder was banned from football for four years by the National Anti-Doping Tribunal after testing positive for abnormal levels of testosterone.

It is a bitter blow for the World Cup winner, who will be nearly 35 by the time he is able to return to football, unless he is successful in his appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

Graeme Souness has been particularly vocal in his criticism of the former Manchester United man over the years, and has delivered one final note of criticism in his column in the Daily Mail.

Unsurprisingly, this has caused social media to debate Souness’ treatment of the Frenchman, and the relationship the two now have.

Harry Maguire
Paul Pogba has been banned from football for four years. Photo by Icon Sport

What did Graeme Souness say about Paul Pogba?

 Despite the Scot’s long-running criticism of Pogba, Souness wrote that he took no pleasure from seeing news of the ban.

“It was only sadness that I felt this week, when I learned that he has been banned from football for four years, for a doping offence,” he wrote.

That did not mean, however, that Souness did not double down on his condemnation of the Frenchman.

“It was his lack of honesty and poor effort levels which always frustrated me. Frankly, he was lazy. Someone with the extreme talent he possessed should perform in a way which means he is remembered as one of the best players in the world, long after has left the stage,” he wrote.

“Instead, he wasted his career. Having won the World Cup with France in Russia, in 2018, he allowed himself to get into his armchair and was never fully committed to the cause of being a team player.”

Souness concluded by saying: “He is 30 years old and we won't see him at an elite level again. A desperately sad ending to the career of someone who had the world at his feet and might still have been talked about, 20, 30 or 40 years from now.”

How did fans react to Souness’ further criticism of Pogba?

The way that Souness has talked about Pogba has long been a conversation topic among fans. While some saw his evaluation of the French midfielder as justified, others felt that he unfairly went after Pogba and ignored examples of his good performances.

It is no surprise, then, to see social media awash with discussion on this last example of Souness’ criticism.

Many saw the doping ban news as justification for Souness’ view, claiming that this news meant that the Scot had now “won” the argument.

X user @chinuaa wrote: “Graeme Souness really won the Pogba feud.”

Similarly, SeanDOlfc tweeted “Souness will forever be in Liverpool's history, while not one club will bother to claim Pogba. Put your medals AND club legacy on the table brother. Same career high as Blaise Matuidi in 2018.”

However, others felt that Souness has just been using his criticism of Pogba to stay relevant in an ever-more-competitive pundit landscape.

@UTDFR2 posted: “The only reason why Souness is known is cause of Pogba. Pogba gave that man a career.”

@ousman_10 agreed, writing “Souness has no legacy without Pogba. Who talks about Souness the footballer?”

Others were content just to laugh at the situation. Comedian Nathan Caton asked “Is there a happier man in the world right now than Graeme Souness?”

With Pogba now seemingly out of the picture, we will now see how he is remembered by supporters. Will he be known as a World Cup winner who has played for some of the biggest clubs in the world, or a waste of potential?

Jamie Barton

A freelance football writer and podcaster, Jamie has appeared on/in the BBC World Service, PA Media, Charlton Athletic FC and Empire of the Kop, among others. He's attended matches all around the world, from Tranmere to Tokyo, and once had his bus home from the 2022 Champions League final in Paris delayed by 28 hours.

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