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Top 10 footballers who were banned for doping

Published at :September 19, 2023 at 5:31 AM
Modified at :September 19, 2023 at 3:43 PM
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Even with strict norms, there have been cases of doping in the beautiful game

Football is known as the most beautiful game worldwide. And also happens to be the most anticipated sport throughout the calendar year. The modern game is of technique and tactics more so than the earlier days. But still, a top physical performance can help the game to be grabbed by one team than the other.

There have been instances where things get a bit unusual and different. We have seen Johan Cruyff opposing and finally not wearing Adidas's third stripe in the 1974 World Cup. Cristiano Ronaldo refused to come on from the bench in added time against Tottenham in his second Manchester United stint. But the thing that bothers the football world the most is the unethical use of drugs to enhance physical performance. It is the term called doping and is banned in football.

The authorities are clear on their stance that it is the players' responsibility to not allow any unbanned substance to enter their bodies knowingly or unknowingly. Still, a handful of cases arise in the game every now and then. Let's have a look at the top 10 footballers who were caught doping and subsequently punished:

10. Kolo Touré

The older brother of former Manchester City midfielder Yaya Touré was once involved in serving a six-month ban. Defender Kolo Touré notably tested positive by the anti-doping authorities during his time in the blue part of Manchester. It happened in 2011 and City had to replace him with Joleon Lescott in the backline during his absence. Touré though in his defence had stated to be taken his wife's tablets without much knowledge.

9. Edgar Davids

Edgar Davids may be more famous for his goggles and his dreadlock hairstyle but he too was caught doping. The Dutch midfielder moved from AC Milan to join Juventus in 1998. And a few years later failed the drug tests. In 2001, the player was found to have Nandrolene in his system.

8. Adrian Mutu

Adrian Mutu not only got caught doping in 2004 when he was at Chelsea but six years down the line was banned once again while in the ranks of Fiorentina. During his time at Stamford Bridge Mutu was allegedly using cocaine and was banned for seven months. And the second time in 2010 was found to be on sibutramine while in Florence.

7. Pep Guardiola

He may have led Manchester City to a treble last season that included the first UEFA Champions League triumph for the club, but Pep Guardiola was also caught in the act once during his playing days. It was in the year 2001 when he joined Brescia to play in the Serie A after his FC Barcelona contract expired. The La Masia graduate was found to be on nandrolone. But later in 2009, he was cleared of all the charges after his appeal.

6. Andre Onana

Andre Onana was recruited in this summer's transfer window by Manchester United. United had decided to not continue with their long-standing keeper David de Gea and signed Onana for a £47.2 million transfer fee from Inter Milan. But the goalkeeper once claimed his career almost got derailed when he took his wife's tablets by mistake. This resulted in him serving a nine-month ban following his urine had diuretic furosemide.

5. Fred

fred football doping Fenerbache
Fred is now playing for Turkish club Fenerbache

In July 2018 the Ukrainian outfit Shakhtar Donetsk parted ways with the Brazilian midfielder Fred after a fee was agreed with Premier League side Manchester United. In the year 2015, while he was in Chile to participate in the Copa America competition for his country, Fred was caught on diuretic hydrochlorothiazide. It itself isn't a performance-enhancing drug but can mask one. Even FIFA extended his doping ban worldwide to keep him out of play for four months of matches for Donetsk.

4. Deco

The Portuguese attacking midfielder has played for Benfica, FC Porto, Chelsea and even FC Barcelona before deciding to retire in August 2013. In March of the same year, Deco tested positive for a masking substance called furosemide. His ban was officially announced after his retirement so that didn't play a major problem in his regular life. Later after Deco appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), his samples were retested and his name was cleared. Also, the Rio laboratory that had found him positive was suspended.

3. Samir Nasri

Samir Nasri served an 18-month-long ban after being found to have gone for a 500-millilitre infusion. Actually, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) only allows players to go through a 50-millilitre infusion in a six-hour period. This is where Nasri was doomed. His lengthy ban was backdated to 1 July 2017 and thus ended in December 2018. He was back in the game when Premier League side West Ham signed him as soon as his ban ended.

2. Paul Pogba

Paul Pogba is the latest player on course to serve a lengthy ban. Even though the player has appealed for a counter-analysis, his initial sample was found to be high in testosterone. The 2018 FIFA World Cup-winning midfielder with France is on his way to tarnishing his image and even Juventus has proposed to terminate his contract entirely if found guilty after the counter-analysis. A four-year ban is proposed and in Italy, it is also a criminal offence. Pogba reiterates he didn't know the supplement he was consuming had testosterone.

1. Diego Maradona

The Argentina legend was notably famous for the "hand of god" goal against England in the 1986 World Cup apart from the great player he was. But subsequently, Diego Maradona has been caught more than once in regards to doping. His first ban came in 1991 while he was with Napoli. Maradona tested positive for cocaine and thus received a fifteen-month ban.

Once again the same period ban was issued when he was caught being on ephedrine in the 1994 World Cup held in the United States. After that, he went back to his country to join Boca Juniors which also ended abruptly due to being caught doping and along with Maradona also chose to retire from his playing career.