Some people love the drugs. Despite frequent warnings from doctors, politicians, social workers, general do-gooders and The Verve people keep taking the drugs. In news that will come as a shock to no-one, footballers are a group of people for whom the drugs are especially desirable. They really just can’t get enough of the old drugs. Or the new drugs.
Thanks to Lance Armstrong we are now aware of this scourge blighting the beautiful game and beyond. We tip our hats and salute Lance for his ground-breaking work in exposing this sordid side of sports and hope that he never ceases in his tireless work against the evils of performance enhancing drugs.
Footballers being footballers, though, they also a like a bit of leisure time enhancing drugs but, sadly for Chris Armstrong, Paul Merson, Robbie Fowler (allegedly), Mark Bosnich, Mark Iuliano, Lee Bowyer, Adrian Mutu, Bernard Lama and Rene Higuita, we are much more interested in those who don’t just dabble in a bit of cocaine and marijuana.
In tribute, then, to the DEAs Lance Armstrong we present our XI of players who’ve been banned for have a cheeky search through the medicine cabinet. First, a quick mention of Al-Saadi Gaddafi, whose one appearance for Perugia before failing a drugs test prompted Italian newspaper la Repubblica to write, ‘Even at twice his current speed he would still be twice as slow as slow itself.’ A fitting tribute to an absolute cnut who gets nowhere near any team on his footballing merits.
Ban: 9 months for ephedrine in 2009
The man who appears to be the (fat) bastard love child of Neil Warnock, considering how much he follows him around, overdosed on over the counter cough medicine but was given full support, and a contract extension, by his then club, Sheffield Utd. By way he of thanks he buggered off to QPR as soon as the ban was over.
Ban: Lifetime for stanozolol in 2007
If you get a year ban in 2005 for taking stanozolol, what is the best thing to do in 2006? Take it again, right, and hope no-one notices? Exactly, Mr Carmona! 84 caps for Mexico, two World Cup appearances but, apparently, not enough brain cells to rub together.
Ban: 9 months for nandrolone in 2001 (served 4)
There’s nothing FIFA likes more than cracking down hard on offences that could bring the game into disrepute. Yellow cards for taking your top off after a goal, massive fines for flashing your pants, banning people selling things near a World Cup, actually enforcing drug suspensions. What? Oh.
Ban: 4 months for nandrolone in 2001
There was obviously something in the water around Lazio’s stadium back in 2001. Nandrolone, to be exact. Not to be outdone by his drugged-up teammate, Couto, Stam got himself in on the act. Still, no matter how hard he tried he could never get as high as that penalty.
Ban: 18 months for methandrostenolone in 2005 (reduced to 12)
It was obvious, surely, from the hair that Xavier was on something and so it turned out to be. Not content with a 9 month ban for haranguing the ref during Euro 2000, Xavier decided to up the ante and cop a 12 month ban for drug abuse. He denied it but everyone knew there was nothing else to do in Middlesbrough.
Ban: 4 months for nandrolone in 2001
2001 was a great time to be nandrolone. Hanging out with famous people, having your name splashed across the tabloids, just generally being the go to performance enhancer for your superstar Serie A player. And quite possibly the reason why Marcello Lippi was able to describe Davids as his ‘one-man engine room.’
Ban: 12 months for bromantan in 2003
No, bromantan is not a movie by Judd Apatow starring Paul Rudd, Jason Segel, Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill with a brief, but hilarious, uncredited cameo from Will Ferrel, it was Spartak Moscow’s drug of choice in the early part of the 2000s. A number of players later implicated the then assistant manager, who acted on behalf of the manager, as the provider of the drug. Too late for Titov to escape a ban, though.
Ban: 15 months for ephedrine in 1994
Everyone who saw Diego’s celebration after his goal against Greece knew he was whacked up on something. It was the fact his hands had turned into hooves that gave it away. Of course, it wasn’t notorious drug addict Diego’s fault, it was his trainer’s fault, the American version of the drink Rip Fuel’s fault and, best of all, FIFA’s fault.
Ban: 6 months for phenylpropanolamine in 1998
Maybe it’s a cultural thing. Perhaps a relic from the Ottoman Empire. Par for the course in a country that stands astride the Bosphorus, one leg in Europe and one in Asia. Turn up for work and announce yourself as a model employee by starting a 6 month drug ban. Welcome to Galatasary.
Ban: 12 months for fencamfamin in 1978
After Scotland’s 3-1 World Cup loss to Peru, Johnston agreed to take a urine test because Archie Gemmell couldn’t. The results highlighted his use of Reactivin, the most heinous of drug, designed to stop hay-fever! And so Johnston was sent home in disgrace. Things almost go much worse, however, as a lawyer tried to have him extradited back to Argentina to face trial for drug use, which could have led to a 3 year prison sentence.
Ban: 2 months for prednisolone and prednisone in 2007
Not a long ban and not even an attempt to try and improve his on the field performance but, my oh my, what a fantastic excuse for picking up a drugs ban. Borriello did the honourable thing and admitted to using the banned substance and then did the, perhaps, not most honourable thing and blamed it all on using a cream he used to treat an STD caught from his girlfriend. We don’t think they are still together.