(Reuters) – Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba may not return to action for the Serie A club until January due to a knee injury which requires surgery, manager Massimiliano Allegri said on Monday, casting doubts over the Frenchman’s World Cup participation.
Last month Pogba decided not to have surgery after damaging his meniscus in training following his move back to Juve from Manchester United in the close season but Allegri said circumstances had changed after he tried to train again.
“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 told reporters before Tuesday’s Champions League clash at Paris St Germain.
Allegri was unsure if 29-year-old Pogba would be ready for France’s world title defence at the Nov. 21-Dec. 18 World Cup in Qatar, adding: “The World Cup is not my problem, Juventus’ problem is that he comes back in January.”
Pogba was instrumental in France’s World Cup victory in 2018 in Russia, scoring in the final where they beat Croatia 4-2 to lift the trophy after a gap of 20 years. He has scored 11 goals in 91 appearances for France.
Juve’s Angel Di Maria is another new recruit who is injured and Allegri said the Argentine winger will not be risked.
“We didn’t want to risk Angel right now, as many important matches await us,” he said.
“(Leonardo) Bonucci, (Dusan) Vlahovic, (Adrien) Rabiot and (Mattia) Perin are the only ones certain of playing tomorrow night. I have yet to decide on the rest.”
Juventus and PSG are in Champions League Group H with Benfica and Maccabi Haifa. Allegri said his side would need at least 10 points to qualify for the knockout stages, adding that PSG are one of the title favourites.
“We face an opponent who is among the strongest in Europe, who this year I count as a favourite for the final,” Allegri said. “Tomorrow will be a good match, and we will certainly aim to play a great game from a technical point of view.”
(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris)