News for nerds

Paul Pogba is a major doubt for the World Cup in Qatar as he requires surgery on a knee injury sustained in pre-season with Juventus.

The 29-year-old has yet to feature this campaign and the Juventus head coach, Massimiliano Allegri, revealed on Monday that the midfielder will now undergo an operation to fix the problem. “We will realistically get him back in January,” Allegri added on the eve of his side’s Champions League opener at Paris Saint-Germain.

Pogba played a key role in France’s World Cup triumph in 2018. The first match of their title defence comes against Australia on 22 November, with their other Group D games coming against Denmark and Tunisia.

“This morning, Pogba trained for the second time but then stopped, and it was then decided that he undergo surgery,” Allegri said at his press conference in Paris. “The World Cup is not my problem, Juventus’s problem is that he comes back in January.”

Pogba rejoined Juventus on a free transfer this summer after his contract at Manchester United expired. Another new recruit, Ángel Di María, is also injured and Allegri said the Argentinian would not be rushed back against his former club.

“We didn’t want to risk Ángel right now, as many important matches await us,” the coach said. “Bonucci, Vlahovic, Rabiot and Perin are the only ones certain of playing tomorrow night. I have yet to decide on the rest.”

In Serie A, Atalanta moved two points clear at the top of the table with a 2-0 win at promoted Monza, who stay bottom of the table after their fifth loss in a row. The new recruit Rasmus Højlund scored the opener in the 57th minute, the teenage forward finishing into the bottom corner from Ademola Lookman’s cross.

Atalanta doubled their lead eight minutes later through an own goal when Lookman’s cut-back was deflected into the net by the Monza defender Marlon. Elsewhere, Sam Lammers’ late equaliser earned Empoli a point in their 2-2 draw at Salernitana.