Top Footballer Blackmailed Over Witchcraft in France, Where 40 Per Cent of Youth Now Believe in Magic

TURIN, ITALY - AUGUST 27: Paul Pogba of Juventus during the Serie A match between Juventus
Daniele Badolato - Juventus FC/Juventus FC via Getty Images

Football star Paul Pogba has allegedly been blackmailed by a group who accuse him of attempts to cast spells  — potentially a serious accusation in France, as surveys claim as many as 40 per cent of under-35s there now believe in witchcraft.

Paul Pogba, a star of the French national football (soccer) squad who currently plays for Italian side Juventus, allegedly paid off a group of blackmailers, including his own brother, 100,000 euros ($100,100) in April, and claimed masked men armed with rifles threatened him in a Paris apartment the month prior.

The blackmailers, believed to be childhood friends of Pogba, are said to have demanded as much as 13 million euros. The case became public after Mathias Pogba began posting tweets regarding his brother, including allegations that Paul had used witchcraft to cast spells on fellow player Kylian Mbappé, Marianne reports.

“Consequently, the only path to survival is to unveil his lies and deception. That is why I revealed his use of witchcraft because what matters here is not whether you believe in it or whether it works, more that it is malicious as these practices expect you to do bad things with a will to cause harm,” Mathias is reported to have said.

Another report from the Daily Mail claims Mbappé has since telephoned the pair in confusion, trying to discover why his name is being cited in the witchcraft blackmail case.

While Paul Pogba has admitted to hiring a witch doctor in the past, claiming he did so to prevent injuries, he has denied casting spells on fellow players.

Investigators say they are looking into the alleged extortion, with a source close to the investigation saying: “That Paul Pogba helped his childhood friends from time to time already seems to be established and there is no reason to doubt the reported events — particularly the extortion attempt. It seems that he thought joining Juventus would enable him to get rid of his blackmailers. It was only when he saw them again in Turin that he alerted club lawyers.”

Unlike in many Western nations where belief in witchcraft is confined to the distant past, France has been a massive resurgence in acceptance of magic as real — a trend which shows some indications of being linked to mass migration.

A survey conducted by the firm Ifop for the Jean Jaurès Foundation in 2020 revealed among French residents under the age of 35, around 40 per cent seriously believe in witchcraft, compared to 25 per cent of people over 35.

Another survey conducted earlier this year by the firm Ifop found that belief in witchcraft had increased in the general population from 28 per cent to 32 per cent, with 38 per cent of women believing in witchcraft compared to 27 per cent of men.

Witchcraft has featured in several criminal cases in Europe in recent years, particularly among Nigerian mafia gangs who have been accused of using voodoo and other forms of witchcraft against victims of sex trafficking, including forcing women to eat raw chicken hearts.

In a recent case last year, 12 Nigerian men and two women were sentenced to between two and nine years by a French court for trafficking at least 40 women and forcing them into prostitution, using the fear of witchcraft and voodoo to control them.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.