France star was reportedly ready quit playing for after statements by French president alleging that Islam was the source of international terrorism. The Sun newspaper and various Middle Eastern news said the World Cup-winning midfielder, who is a convert to Islam, ‘resigned’ after the comments made by Macron on Friday.
But the footballer on Monday clarified his stance by saying there was no truth on the news.
Pogba posted a picture of an English newspaper’s version of the story – which was not the original source – on his Instagram account and branded it ‘unacceptable’.
The Frenchman then launched into a tirade against the ‘paper: “Absolutely 100% unfounded news about me are going around, stating things I have never said or thought.
“I am appalled, angry, shocked and frustrated some ‘media’ sources use me to make total fake headlines in the sensible subject of French current events and adding the French National Team to the pot.
“I am against any and all forms of terror and violence. Unfortunately, some press people don’t act responsibly when writing the news, abusing their press freedom, not verifying if what they write/reproduce is true, creating a gossip chain without caring it affects people’s lives and my life
“I am taking legal action against the publishers and spreaders of these 100% Fake News. In a quick shout out to The Sun, who normally could not care less: some of you guys probably went to school and will remember how your teacher said to always check your sources, don’t write without making sure. But hey, seems you did it again and in a very serious topic this time, shame on you!”
Samuel Paty, 47, was attacked on his way home from the junior high school where he taught in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, 40 kilometres northwest of Paris.
He was awarded the French Legion d’honneur, the highest decoration bestowed by the French state, in recognition of the fact that he died trying to explain the importance of freedom of speech.
Macron described the murder as an ‘Islamic terrorist attack’ that took the life of the French teacher and later added: ‘Unity and firmness are the only answers to the monstrosity of Islamist terrorism.’
Pogba’s resignation was published on Sunday in the Arabic sports website, which said that the decision to give the teacher the Legion d’honneur and the comments were the motivation for his decision to stop playing as a French international.
It said Pogba considered the decision as an insult to him and to French Muslims, especially since Islam is the second religion in France after Christianity.
Calls are growing meanwhile around the world for people to boycott French goods in the wake of the president’s comments accusing Muslims of separatism and he pledged not to give up cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed.
Schoolteacher Samuel Paty was beheaded on Friday 16 October 16 by 18-year-old Abdullakh Anzorov.
Prior to his death, Mr Paty had received threats after he had showed pupils in his class cartoons of the prophet Muhammad on October 6.
Mr Paty had been teaching the children about free speech. His death follows the 2015 terrorist attack at the office of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, which had published on its cover a cartoon of Muhammad. Twelve people were killed and 11 injured by gunmen.
French president Emmanuel Macron said at Mr Paty’s funeral:
‘He was killed precisely because he incarnated the Republic. He was killed because the Islamists want our future.
They know that with quiet heroes like him, they will never have it.’
Mr Paty, a history and geography teacher, had advised Muslim students to look away if they thought they might be offended before showing thew class the cartoon.
He has been posthumously awarded the Legion d’Honneur, France’s highest honour.
Anzorov, was shot dead by police after killing Mr Paty.
In 2019, Pogba revealed why he converted to Islam – insisting that doing so has made him become a better person.
Asked what being a Muslim meant to him in The Times’ new Life Times podcast, Pogba said: ‘It’s everything. That’s what makes me thankful for everything.
‘It made me change, realise things in life. I guess, maybe, it makes me more peaceful inside.
‘It was a good change in my life because I wasn’t born a Muslim, even if my mum was. I just grew up like that, respect for everyone.
‘Islam is not the image that everyone sees – terrorism… What we hear in the media is really something else, it’s something beautiful.
‘You get to know it. Anybody can find that he feels connected with Islam.’