Varane says 'concerned' France stars are keeping tabs on Pogba saga

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Paul Pogba is enduring a difficult time in his personal and professional life, and France team-mates are concerned for the Juventus player.
FotMob - 2 months ago

Raphael Varane confirmed players in the France camp are concerned after Paul Pogba's brother was charged and detained over an alleged extortion attempt against the midfielder.

Pogba is absent from the France squad at present due to injury, and his chances of playing at the World Cup hang in the balance.

However, it has been off-field matters that have grabbed the attention recently regarding the Juventus player.

An investigation was opened in August into allegations Pogba was the target of an extortion plot by brother Mathias and childhood friends demanding a €13million sum.

Mathias, who is a free agent after a spell with French fourth-tier side Belfort came to an end in April, threatened to share "explosive revelations" in a video posted on social media.

The 32-year-old has denied taking part in extortion attempts against his brother, but he and four others were recently charged in relation to the matter.

New videos from Mathias Pogba were released on Friday, making various claims that were not substantiated, with the story remaining high on the news agenda in France.

Asked whether the France players are talking about the Pogba issue, Varane said: "Unfortunately there is lots of non-sporting news at the moment. We try to be focused on the pitch.

"As a player, that is what must take precedence, but we are not insensitive to what is happening around us. Especially when it involves someone you know. We also feel concerned in a certain way.

"Internally, we're going very well. We are focused on our objective, and we try to be as professional as possible."

Varane and Pogba were club-mates at Manchester United last season, before Pogba moved on at the end of his Old Trafford contract to embark on a second spell at Juventus.

France head coach Didier Deschamps said he would not be distracted by external events, as he prepares his team to face Denmark on Sunday in the Nations League.

"There is nothing and no one to disturb my tranquillity," Deschamps said. "If there are fewer non-sporting debates, it is better."

Varane is set to face United team-mate Christian Eriksen in Copenhagen, and he continues to be impressed by how the former Tottenham and Inter playmaker has returned to football following the cardiac arrest he suffered at last year's European Championship.

Acquired from Brentford in the off-season, Eriksen has quickly become a key figure at United, and defender Varane said: "He managed to integrate quickly into the squad.

"He has a lot of qualities. We are very happy to see him playing at this level after what he has been through. He's a player that I appreciate."

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