Doping happens in football as it does in all professional sports and for all the honest, decent pros who wouldn’t dream of using drugs, there’s always the odd rotten apple who just can’t help himself. It’s time now to have a look at some who were sniffing a little (or a lot) of what they shouldn’t, as well as a couple who were inadvertent drugs cheats – either way they were banned for their offences, and here it is, our drugs cheat hall of shame.
Ah, yes, Bosnich – a decent keeper at the Villa, the Australian must have thought his career was really going places when he signed for Manchester United in 1999 to replace club legend Peter Schmeichel. Sadly for chubby Bosnich, he failed to live up to expectations at Old Trafford and was shipped out after just one season. Still, Chelsea held a new hope for the Australian No.1, that was until he failed a drugs test in November 2002. Bosnich the big-time charlie had been doing, well… charlie and was banned from football for 9 months and unceremoniously sacked by Chelsea. He never played in England again.
Perhaps more famous for his outrageous(ly dreadful) hairstyles and beard combos, Portuguese defender Xavier was also caught out as a drugs cheat. Platinum blond beard or not, Xavier was obviously not happy with his physical appearance at Middlesborough, where he failed a drugs test in November 2005; the former Liverpool player was found to have taken anabolic steroids. Initially banned for 18 months, the duration was reduced to 12 months on appeal. UEFA had hoped that the Portuguese would take the time to think about what he’d done, and finally get a haircut.
The greatest player of all time is no stranger to controversy; from karate kicking opponents to shooting at journalists, El Diego has had his far share of notoriety. A World Cup winner in 1986, he got to the final again in 1990 and Argentina’s legendary number 10 was looking to bow out of the world’s biggest stage with a fairy-tale victory at USA 94. A particularly wide-eyed and frenzied celebration after scoring against Greece was Diego’s downfall, he was unsurprisingly called in for a drugs test after his next game against Nigeria, which he failed. Maradona was found to have taken ephedrine and was sent home from the tournament in disgrace, he never played for Argentina again.
The most prolific offender on this list, Mutu has failed drugs tests in England and Italy and is going to pay a very dear price for his off-field foolishness. Having signed after a very good season with Parma, Mutu started well but the goals dried up and he soon fell out with Jose Mourinho. Then came the bombshell, Mutu failed a drugs test in September 2004, being found to have taken cocaine. Chelsea had been in this situation before with Mark ‘fatty’ Bosnich and were in no mood for pity; Mutu was sacked for breach of contract and given a 7 month ban by the FA.
Mutu has since failed 2 drugs tests at Fiorentina; in Januray 2010 he was found to have taken Subitramine in two separate tests and was banned for 9 months and suspended by his club. Mutu could be made to pay by far the greatest punishment for his offences; the Romanian will have to pay Chelsea a whopping €17million for breach of contract over his drugs sacking unless his desperate appeal to the European Court of Justice is successful.
The rotund QPR keeper, who is no stranger to off-field troubles, having had his eyebrow bitten off in a fight outside a curry house in his time at Sheffield United, was banned from football for 9 months in September 2009 following a failed drug test showing his use of ephedrine. The ‘Irishman’ apparently inadvertently took the drug in an over-the-counter cough medicine, whether or no the remedy cured his cough is, tragically, unknown.
So, there we have it, 5 drug cheats of low-esteem. Take heed of the punishments meted out to these ne’er-do-wells and keep away from the cake. Remember kids, drugs are bad, mm’kay?
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