Busted: 6 High Profile Players Who Have Failed Drugs Tests

The news that former Italy striker Giuseppe Rossi is facing a one-year ban for testing positive for a banned substance has shone a spotlight on the dark side of the game.

It also brings memories flooding back of high profile names of the past being shamed in a similar manner. 

Here are six surprisingly famous players from the past who have failed drugs tests:

6. Adrian Mutu

Probably the most high profile offender of the Premier League era, everyone remembers Adrian Mutu. The striker arrived at Chelsea at the inception of the Roman Abramovich era, for around €22.5m, but wouldn’t stay for long. 

The Romanian collected six goals and nine assists for the Blues in his first season at west London. Then, in September 2004, he failed a routine drugs test for the use of Cocaine. A month later, he was acrimoniously released from his contract, after being handed a seven month contract and £20,000 fine. 

To this day, the two parties have been embroiled in a legal dispute about the breach of his contract. The 39-year-old has continually rejected the club’s demands, which have now amounted to over €17m in compensation, even taking it to the Supreme Court of Switzerland. It is yet to be resolved.

5. Edgar Davids

Although this particular set of sports goggles might portend to another drug entirely, Edgar Davids was actually downed in 2001 for the use of the anabolic steroid nandrolone. 

The Dutchman is the first of three players on this list to be caught in the nandrolone boom of the early 2000’s, the epicentre of which was, unsurprisingly, Italy. Having been threatened with a two-year ban, the Juventus midfielder was eventually condemned to just a four month exile from the game.

However, in 2012 he was retroactively forced to serve out the full sentence and then some, in the form of two punitive years as player-manager of Barnet. Harsh.

4. Jaap Stam

The second of the nandrolone convicts, Jaap Stam had only just arrived at Lazio in 2001 when he was forced out for five months following testing positively for the notorious pick-me-up-come-weight-builder. 

The recently departed Manchester United man was also hit with a €50,000 fine. 

3. Pep Guardiola

The third and final nandrolone user was none other than current wonder tactician, Pep Guardiola. Surprise, surprise, Pep was caught snuffling the substance in his time at Brescia, within the same news cycle as Jip-Jaap Stam. 

For his crimes, the former Barcelona captain was forced to miss four months of action, and received the same ban as Stam. 

2. Kolo Toure

Here is Kolo Toure in full Kingpin mode. But he wasn’t looking so suave in 2011 when he was reprimanded with a six month ban for a doping violation. 

In a novel approach, the Ivorian blamed the affair on his wife’s new diet pills, which he was using in order to lose some weight. 

Exploring this possibility, and the evidence put forth, the FA’s commission found it to be true. This enabled the defender to avoid the two-year ban that is normally associated with infractions of Regulation 3 of the FA Doping Regulations.

1. Diego Maradona

Here he is, the Golden Boy. One of the greatest players of all time was also one of the greatest dopers of all time. Controversy was never too far from the Argentinian, and it finally caught up with him in his international swansong at the 1994 World Cup.

After scoring against Greece in the Alibiceleste’s second game of the tournament, the 34-year-old performed THAT outlandishly exuberant celebration. In the immediate aftermath of that startling moment, Maradona failed a drug test for ephedrine doping, and was sent home in disgrace.

Being Diego, he did not go down without a fight. To this day, he claims the confusion came from an energy drink he regularly enjoyed in south America called ‘Rip Fuel’ having different ingredients in north America, including the banned substances found in his system. 

Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt, eh?


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