Doping, PEDs and drugs in football

Doping in Football: Fifty Years of Evidence

Football is 100% clean.

~ Cristiano Ronaldo


I have never seen doping in football and I don’t think I ever will.

~ Vicente del Bosque


Doping is just as much a problem in football as it is in tennis, athletics, swimming and cycling. It’s part of daily life. I’ve worked with footballers. They use Testosterone, EPO, Ephedrine and Stimulants.

~ Stefan Matschiner


Doping in Football / Soccer

The one issue the world of football prefers to ignore is the issue of doping. Even when faced with the revelations of cyclists like Lance Armstrong, many footballers and coaches contend that all is well in their perfectly pristine world. Doping? It just doesn’t exist in football, they’d tell you. After all, “drugs don’t make you pass better.” Cycling, now that’s a sport that’s all about physique, so doping there is useful. Football, they argue, is about technique and tactics. Giving Rio Ferdinand EPO won’t turn him into Messi. So, there’s no need for footballers to even think of using doping, and therefore there’s no need for stringent testing either – as FIFA and other federations like to justify their weak testing policies.

It’s a ludicrous argument, that completely contradicts reality: in football, physical ability is highly important, as studies by sports scientists have demonstrated.

If a player is 5% short of the level they need to be to complete a 90 minute match, given its demands, then that player may well concede the half-a-second, or the half-a-meter, to the opposition that leads to the game’s decisive moment. Winning and losing are literally separated by these margins.

Or as the Austrian doping doctor Stefan Matschiner explains

It’s completely obvious that, if in the 80th or the 85th minute you have the same coordination abilities as in the 3rd minute, because you’ve been treated with substances that improve the oxygen rates in your blood, then you have an advantage against your opponents.

Doping can also be beneficial for other purposes. For heightening concentration. For developing muscle mass. For recovery after a heavy match in a KO tournament. For healing an injury. Yet despite these benefits, footballers who want to use performance enhancing drugs face relatively low risks, compared to cyclists. Footballers and clubs have more money available, making doping a cheap investment. And whereas cyclists have to deal with far more, far better tests (which they have no problem circumventing), footballers are rarely tested. And when they are, usually all they have to do is give a urine sample – through which a variety of advanced doping techniques cannot be detected. Recently, Joey Barton expressed his surprise:

My personal experience of drugs tests, as a professional athlete, is that they have only ever taken a urine sample from me. Only urine, in numerous tests over 10+ years of competing at elite level sport. Seems strange to me after reading about cycling’s procedures. Where they frequently test by taking blood from the athletes. Sometimes storing that blood for years. I have never had blood taken during my whole career!

Considering the attractive combination of great advantages and low risks, the German legend Paul Breitner said it best in 2007, asking – Why would a footballer NOT use doping? 

The footballer who believes that with doping he can keep his starting place, who can contribute more to victory, and can earn more money – why would he not use doping? The motivation to dope is the same for a footballer as it is for a cyclist.

An examination of doping cases in football shows that the history of the sport cannot be told without frequent references to doping. From the 50’s to the 00’s, doping, we must conclude, has always been an integral part of football. Hellenio Herrera’s Inter, Rinus Michel’s Ajax, Zinedine Zidane’s Juventus, and perhaps even Barcelona and Real Madrid in the 21st century – all are linked to the use of performance enhancing drugs.

In fact, stories of doping in football go all the way back to Arsenal in the 1920’s. But let’s, for the sake of chronological relevance, pick up the tale after World War II.

Here then are the most interesting cases of doping in football:

1954 – The Wonderful ‘Vitamins’ of Die Wunder Elf

Germany 1954 doping

Never in the 20th century had a football team been as dominant as Hungary in the early 50’s. Yet in the 1954 World Cup final they lost 3-2 to West-Germany. A variety of explanations have been given for this shock defeat: Hungary’s star Puskas was injured. The Germans coped better with the slippery pitch thanks to their new Adidas boots. The Hungarians were plain unlucky, hitting the post and having a valid goal canceled. They were nonchalant because they had beaten Germany 8-3 in the groups.

And then there’s another explanation: doping.

Following the match, syringes and needles were found in the German locker room. Puskas suspected doping, but the German doctor claimed he had merely injected a placebo. German scientist Erik Eggers has since examined the case and concluded the following:

There are several strong indications that point to the injection of pervitin in some Germany players and not vitamin C as it was claimed.

Pervitin is a stimulant which, as it happens, was also distributed to German soldiers in World War II to turn their fears into aggression.

1960’s – Il Caffè Herrera

herrera inter doping

Europe’s most successful team in the 1960’s was Il Grande Inter. The Inter of Helenio Herrera, the master of catennaccio. The Inter too of the great playmaker Sandro Mazzola. His brother, Ferruccio, was also on the team, but rarely ever played. In his autobiography, Ferruccio spoke openly about Herrera’s Doping practises.

Herrera provided pills that were to be placed under our tongues. He used to experiment on us bench players only to later give them to the first team players. My brother Sandro suggested to me that if I had no intention of taking them, I should just run to the toilet and spit them out. Eventually Herrera found out and decided to dilute them in coffee. From that day on “Il Caffè Herrera” became a habit at Inter.

Ferruccio’s more famous brother Sandro wasn’t too happy with his sibling’s revelations, as Ferruccio says:

I don’t know for sure what was in the pills, but I believe amphetamins. Once, after a Caffè Herrera, it was prior to a Como vs Inter (1967), I suffered 3 days and nights in a state of complete hallucinations. Nowadays, everybody denies, even Sandro. Since I decided to speak out, Sandro and I simply don’t talk to each other. He says that dirty laundry should be washed at home. On the contrary, I believe that it’s right to speak out, above all for my former teammates, some of whom are very sick or have already passed away.”

1967 – Ajax loves Sprinkles

Doping Ajax

The Ajax of Rinus Michels and Johan Cruyff. Is there a more admired club team in the history of the game? But perhaps not all about them was as exalted as popularly believed. Defender Barry Hulshoff (pictured above), who won the European Cup with Ajax in 1971, 1972 and 1973, confessed that that he and his teammates at Ajax occasionaly received pills from Docter Rolink. In a 1973 interview, Hulshoff said to Vrij Nederland:

I can remember well, a season or five ago, just before the away game against Real Madrid, we received a white pill, and also something in a capsule. We called it Hagelslag [chocolate sprinkles] I have no idea what it was. You felt very strong and never were out of oxygen. The bad thing was that you lost all saliva in your mouth.

1977 – Beckenbauer’s Blood

Beckenbauer doping

Franz Beckenbauer revealed the secret to his fitness in a 1977 interview to magazine Stern.

As for me personally, I have a special method to remain at top level: the injection of my own blood. Several times a month, my friend Manfred Köhnlechner draws blood from my arm, and re-injects it in my butt. This causes an artificial inflammation  As a result, the amount of red and white blood cells goes up.

 I’m not sure whether such practices were illegal at the time, but it does show that even going back to the 1970’s footballers were experimenting with blood transfusions, and undergoing procedures aimed at raising red blood cells.

1980 – Not just at Feyenoord

Feyenoord doping

In May of 1980, Feyenoord had to concede another championship to their great rivals Ajax. Both clubs were a pale shadow of their all-conquering 1970 sides, but Ajax at least had managed to win the league. Feyenoord had ended a disappointing fourth. But there was one chance to reclaim some glory. The Dutch Cup final. Played in Feyenoord’s own De Kuip. The opponent? Ajax. After an energetic match, Feyenoord won 3-1. Thirty years later, Former Feyenoord forward Jan Peters confessed that his team used doping.

We received all kinds of stuff before important matches. A cup with a drink, a pill, and a needle that went into my upper arm. I have no idea what it was. I didn’t care. But ten minutes into the game I felt a boost h.of energy. After the game, far into the night, I was still doing back flips in the discotheque. That’s how fit I was. Later in Belgium, Spain and Portugal I took stuff as well.

If what Peters says is true, it shows that throughout Europe, doping was common practise in the 1980’s.

1980’s – Algeria’s handicapped offspring

Algeria doping

One of the more tragic cases of doping in football involves the Algerian national team of the 1980’s. Appearing from nowhere, Algeria managed to qualify for two World Cups. They impressed the most in the 1982 tournament, where they beat West-Germany. It appears however that the team received illegal assistance from their Soviet doctor. In an interview with Djamel Menad describes a consequence of the doping practises: he and seven of his teammates now have severely handicapped children.

1987 – Schumacher and the Walking Pharmacy

Schumacher Germany doping

Toni Schumacher is best known for his violent assault on French midfielder Batiston, but the German International made headlines for another reason as well. In his 1987 biography, he didn’t hold back when talking about doping in Germany

Some players in the national team were genuine world champions…when it came to the use of “Stärkungschemie” [literally, Strengthening chemistry]. Among them was a player from Munich, whom we used to call the “walking pharmacy”.

As a result of this revelation, Schumacher was banned from the national team by Franz Beckenbauer of all people, who was now coach of the team.

1987 Breitner: “Doping is the Norm”

Breitner talks about doping in Germany

In the wake of Schumacher’s comments, the former goalkeeper had to deal with plenty of attacks, such as from Berti Vogts, until none other than Paul Breitner stood up for the truth:

Berti can’t be serious. During his long career he must have noticed the issue of doping. That’s an issue for everyone in the Bundesliga. Either the players use it themselves, or they notice teammates or opponents who have done so.

Breitner went on to speak plainly about doping in socccer:

But the fact is, everyone knows about it, because in the Bundesliga it is common gossip. Especially before start of the season it’s a topic with new players. How much they swallowed at their former club, and what it preferred at their new club. Doping is just as much the norm in football as in other sports.

1987 – Zico gets his injections

Zico doping

Zico, that symbol of all that is beautiful about football, confessed to doping too in 1987. He stated that even as a kid he received injections

Early in my career, when I was 16 or 17, I received two to three injections at monthly intervals. They gave me more strength to train. I gained mass without compromising speed and agility.


1993 – Marseille: Bribing wasn’t enough

Olympique Marseille doping

The Olympique Marseille of the early 90’s will forever be tainted by their match fixing habits, but it appears there’s even more to blemish their achievements. Former Marseille stars Tony Cascarino and Chris Waddle spoke in their biographies about the suspicious injections they received at the French giants at the start of the 1990’s. Cascarino even enjoyed it:

After these injections I felt sharper, more energetic… if they’d discovered an illegal product I would have taken the ban. It was a risk I was prepared to take

But the most outspoken ex-player is Jean-Jacques Eydelie. In 2006 the former defender states that there was a systematic doping program at l’OM. He describes the scene just before the 1993 Champions League final against AC Milan:

On the day of the Final, Bernard Tapie demanded that all players should take a banned substance. All of us joined in a line, except one player: Rudi Völler. He was enraged and shouted German insults against the entire Marseille staff. He was really outside himself and could barely calm hilmself down.

Marseille won the match 1-0.

1994 – Wait, Maradona did drugs?

Maradona doping

Diego Armando Maradona is perhaps the least surprising entry on this list. Despite appearing in an anti-drugs campaign in 1982, Maradona was by then already addicted to cocaine, amongst others. In 1994 he was busted for performance enhancing drugs too. After Argentina’s World Cup game against Greece, Maradona’s urine sample contained traces of five different substances: ephedrine, norephedrine, pseudoephedrine, norpseudoephedrine and metephedrine.

In fact, a year earlier, the Argentina squad had already used doping. Maradona himself blamed the Argentina football federation for doping players without their knowledge before the decisive World Cup qualifier against Australia.

They put something in the coffee and it made us run more. Grondona was well aware of it, he told us that there wouldn’t be doping controls. You have got to be pretty dumb if you go through ten controls, and then there is not one in the game which decides qualification.

1990’s – The sorry fate of Ronaldo

Ronaldo PSV doping

In the public’s eye the Brazilian Ronaldo ruined his own career through overeating, but perhaps an even bigger problem that prevented Ronaldo from delivering on his promise were his terrible knee injuries. At 21, he had won the Ballon d’Or twice and looked set to become one of the all-time greats. But repeated tendon ruptures ended that dream. According to Bernardino Santi, anti-doping official at the Brazilian football Federation, Ronaldo’s injuries were no coincidence. Doping use was to blame.

I spoke to some colleagues in Holland. They told me that Ronaldo, who was very fragile at the time, received steroids during his period at PSV. As a result his muscles grew more than his tendons were capable of sustaining.

Santi was promptly fired by the Brazilian football association, but similar statements have been made by Italian author Enzo Palladini, who wrote a biography on Ronaldo.

1994-1998 Rejuvenating the Old Lady with EPO

Juventus doping epo

Perhaps the biggest, most advanced, most successful and best known doping case in 20th century football involves Juventus FC. During the late 90’s, the team won three scudetti, reached three successive Champions League finals and won a World Club Cup. The team was brimming with talent: Vialli, Ravanelli, Deschamps, Del Piero, Vieri, Zidane, to name a few.

But there was another pillar that supported their success: doping.

It was Roma manager Zdenek Zeman who first cast his doubts over the physique of several Juventus players. Zeman observed that players like Gianluca Vialli and Alessandro del Piero had grown in size in record time. A feat only achievable through doping. Zeman went on to state that doping was rampant in Italian football. He was immediately attacked by much of Italy’s football world, but a Turin magistrate named Raffaele Guariniello decided to launch an investigation.

After two years of dedicated research, Guariniello had gathered enough evidence to do what had never been done before in football: make a case against an entire club team for systematical doping use. Two years later, the judge delivered the verdict. Juve’s doctor Agricola was found guilty of administering illegal substances to footballers at the club, including EPO – the new form of blood-doping that had completely changed the world of cycling in the 90’s.

Astonishingly, when all was said and done, neither the club nor any of the players received any type of punishment. Worse, Agricola was allowed to stay on as Juve’s doctor.


1998 – England standing in line for injections

England doping 1998 World Cup

In his biography, Gary Neville makes a mention of something that happened in the English camp during the 1998 World Cup. Players lined up to receive injections.

When the 1998 World Cup started, some of the players started taking injections from Glenn’s favourite medic, a Frenchman called Dr Rougier. After some of the lads said they’d felt a real burst of energy, I decided to seize any help on offer. So many of the players decided to go for it before that Argentina match that there was a queue to see the doctor.

What was in these injections, we’ll likely never know.

2000 – Infusions at Parma

Parma doping

Last year, former Argentine midfielder Matias Almeyda spoke openly about doping use at Parma, the Italian club he played for between 2000 and 2002.

At Parma we received infusions before games. They said it was only vitamins, but entering the field I was able to jump as a high as the ceiling. Players do not ask questions but then in the following years there are cases of former players dying from heart problems, suffering from muscular issues and more. I think it is the consequence of the things that have been given to them.

Clearly, the Juventus doping case had done nothing to change the use of doping in Italian football.

2001 – Stam, Davids and Guardiola: Nandrolone is all the rage

Guardiola doping

The one doping case in which high profile players actually tested positive for doping use is the nandrolone affair of 2001 and 2002. Within a short period of time, several players were caught having used the anabolic steroid nandrolone, including world class players such as Jaap Stam, Edgar Davids, Frank de Boer, Christophe Dugarry, Fernando Couto and Josep Guardiola. Of course, they blamed it on ‘contaminated supplements’.

In an added twist, Guardiola’s doctor at his then club Brescia, Ramon Segura, worked as head doctor for FC Barcelona during Pep’s reign at the club.

2003 – Zidane’s Swiss Spa

Zidane doping

As if his affiliation with the EPO-using Juventus of the 90’s wasn’t enough, Zinedine Zidane is implicated with another type of doping. That is, if we are to believe Johnny Hallyday. In a 2003 TV interview, the rockstar declared that he had received a “youth cure” through blood oxygenation, at a Swiss clinic that had been recommended to him by his friend Zidane, who went there twice a year. Such practices are, obviously, highly illegal for athletes.

2004 – Wenger talks EPO

Wenger talks doping

Arsene Wenger made an interesting statement in 2004, revealing that several players he signed from other European clubs had abnormally high amounts of red blood cells – a symptom consistent with EPO use.

We have had some players come to us at Arsenal from other clubs abroad and their red blood cell count has been abnormally high. That kind of thing makes you wonder. There are clubs who dope their players without the players knowing. The club might say that they were being injected with vitamins and the player would not necessarily know that it was something different.

2004 – Doctor Del Moral’s ‘advice’ to Barcelona and Valencia

Del Moral doping Barcelona

Cycling journalist David Walsh recently tweeted about a conversation between Cyclist Tyler Hamilton and one of his trusted ‘doping doctors’, Luis del Moral.

Tyler Hamilton recalled a short conversation with US Postal doctor Luis del Moral from 1999: “you guys take nothing in comparison to footballers.”

Indeed, Del Moral’s involvement with football teams was confirmed on the website of the company Del Moral used to work for. On this page, it featured a list of Del Moral’s previous employers. All references to Del Moral have been removed since his conviction, but a screenshot has saved the claims. On it it’s stated that Del Moral used to be medical adviser of several football teams, most notably Barcelona and Valencia.

Daily Telegraph journalist Matt Scott pursued the story and questioned Barcelona and Valencia about the claims.

The four-times European champions responded by stating that they had searched employment records and could confirm that Del Moral was “never on the staff payroll”. However, Barça said they could not guarantee that Del Moral had not been engaged on an ad hoc basis by the medical department during that period, or been used by individual players. When asked who ran the club’s medical affairs at the time, Barcelona did not respond. Valencia did not answer calls and did not respond to two emails.

2006 – Fuentes: King of All Spain

Fuentes doping spain

This is the big one. The case that has the potential to become the greatest doping scandal in all of football’s history. The case that should already have been the biggest doping scandal in all of football, if it hadn’t been for the Spanish authorities and their commitment to ‘protect’ Spanish football from the truth.

In 2006, Spanish investigators uncovered a wide doping network around doctor Eufemiano Fuentes. Most big name cyclists from around the world were implicated and subsequently banned. Then something strange happened. As soon as reports surfaced that footballers too, were on Fuentes’ client lists, no further action was taken.

Even during the current trial of Fuentes, the Spanish judge has forbidden Fuentes to name any athletes other than cyclists. Clearly, some people don’t want the truth to come out.

In a 2006 interview with French newspaper Le Monde, Fuentes himself stated the following

I worked with Spanish first and second division clubs. Sometimes directly with the footballers themselves, sometimes by sharing my knowledge with the teams doctors. I had an offer from an Italian club but I turned it down.

Fuentes refused to reveal which clubs he had supplied with doping:

I can’t tell which clubs, I have received death threats. I was told that if I told certain things, my family and myself could have serious problems. There are sports against which you cannot go against, because they have access to very powerful legal means to defend themselves. And it could also cost the current chief of the sport his post.

The only team now confirmed to have been on Fuentes’ list is Real Sociedad, that pesky Basque team about whom nobody in Spain cares. Meanwhile, Spain’s big teams, most notably the two giants Barcelona and Real Madrid, remain untouched by the scandal. Or do they?

Le Monde in 2006 claimed to have obtained two sheets of paper from Dr Fuentes’ Canary Islands residence. According to the French publication, the documents reveal that Real Madrid and FC Barcelona were making use of Fuentes’s services. They show, for example, that the main objective of FC Barcelona was the Champions League in May, which it won, as well as having the players peak for the World Cup. The training programs include circles and ‘IG’ symbols that correspond to preparation or rest periods. These are the same symbols that we’ve recently seen used by Dr Fuentes in his plans for Real Sociedad

Given the protection these two teams receive from higher-up, it’s possible that we might never come to know the truth about the ties between Real Madrid, Barcelona and Fuentes.

But does it even matter? Isn’t the mountain of evidence presented on this page, already sufficient to turn anyone into a sceptic? Don’t the statements made by Cristiano Ronaldo and Vicente del Bosque suddenly appear to border between the comical and the suspicious? Are they truly ignorant of all that has happened and is still happening in the sport? Are they simply protecting their little world? Is there a similar code of silence among footballers as there is among cyclists?

Perhaps. In 1987 Paul Breitner said the public wasn’t ready to deal with the fact that doping is rampant in football. 26 years later, has the public become informed enough to accept the reality of doping in football?

It’s a question everyone must answer for himself.

Are you ready to accept that your favourite players and your favourites teams may be using illegal performance enhancing drugs?

24 thoughts on “Doping in Football: Fifty Years of Evidence”

  1. Pretty damning evidence I’d say. Of course this doesn’t mean ALL players and teams have been doping. But in every league, in every decade, doping has been a somewhat common practise. wonder how many World Cup winning teams have been 100% clean.

  2. if all of this proves right and it might be ,then it means all football that we saw throughout the years is a big damn lie.

  3. I’m not surprised at all tbh. It happens in all professional sports; football is no different.

    I am surprised though that there was nothing about AC Milan. I swear the team had to be doped up on something during their 2006-07 Champions League run. The way they out ran Manchester United in the second leg did not look natural at all.

    Also, you should proof read the last paragraph in the part about Beckenbauer again. I’m “notsure” but I think a space is needed somewhere in there :)

      1. Yes I believe that’s a valid explanation.

        In addition, Tyler Hamilton’s book reveals that there were several Italian doctors similar to Fuentes. Michele Ferrari, etc. Why would Milan reach out to Spain? No idea what goes on their lab though ;)

        Anyway, Fuentes has said he’s going to write a ‘tell-all’ book. Now that will be fascinating.

  4. Hmmm .. Great insight. I don’t know if you know about this but @Giggs_Boson (twitter account) has pretty much been tweeting everything that you have on this page. Just a heads up.

  5. That doping doctor you quote above, Stefan Matschiner, has been in the news lately. He said cyclist Michael Boogerd had bloodtransfusions at his clinic.. Couple days later Boogerd confesses. +1 for Matschiner’s credibility. makes that quote more worthwhile:

    “Doping is just as much a problem in football as it is in tennis, athletics, swimming and cycling. It’s part of daily life. I’ve worked with footballers. They use Testosterone, EPO, Ephedrine and Stimulants.”

  6. About “Perhaps the biggest, most advanced, most successful and best known doping case in 20th century football involves Juventus FC” is either incorrect and outdated.
    Maybe you dont know but two Italian Courts dismissed completly those charges

    this is the final verdict:

    Con specifico riferimento alla somministrazione di eritropoietina umana ricombinante, il ricorso del Procuratore generale (il processo d’appello aveva emesso una sentenza di assoluzione) va dichiarato inammissibile… Negli anni dal 1994 al 1998 non era stato accertato alcun caso di positività a sostanze dopanti da parte di giocatori della Juventus; che da nessun atto del processo emergeva l’acquisto di eritropoietina o la sua somministrazione agli atleti della società e non erano stati riscontrati valori superiori ai limiti fissati nei vari protocolli antidoping e che la situazione dei giocatori della Juventus, sia con riferimento ai valori ematologici medi, sia in relazione a quelli del bilancio marziale, non si discostava dalle medie della popolazione nazionale”

    1. Interestingly, only two days ago, two Italian scientists confirmed that Juventus players had been prepared with EPO for the 1996 CL final against Ajax.

      Given the reputation of Italian Courts, and the interests at stake, should we really choose to put our faith in their ‘verdicts’ and put a blind eye to all the evidence to the contrary?

  7. Funny you should talk about other countries suppressing the truth to preserve reputation when England is the very worst nation for it. Where did all those BBC investigations into match-fixing, doping and coaches being bribed in the Premier League go? Straight under the rug… No investigation wanted, no investigation undertaken. And if you look at things from an impartial point of view, Germany and Italy are by far the two most active European nations in terms of actually investigating wrongdoing in their football leagues, while England and Spain let it run rampant to preserve their reputations.

  8. Juventus were acquitted of the charges in 2004 or around there. You should probably include that in your article….you know since you are a serious publication…lol….not. But seriously…I will take any court over the word of some doctor or some shoddy link to some article you posted. Bottom line is Juve were not punished and they were acquitted of all charges.

  9. Lol…honestly…it’s laughable that you would present that link as some evidence that Juve doped while completely ignoring a court verdict. If you don’t want to believe a court verdict then cool but to then go and say these 2 guys are legit is pretty funny. All they did was look at some documents of blood samples which certainly is not enough for a guilty verdict here. Also, you can get anybody and pay them a bit of money for television and they will say anything. If you’re going to say the court is corrupt or has special interests then you can say the same thing about these scientists or anything else. The source you posted is even more dubious than any court verdict.

    1. -I’m dissapointed, but not surprised that, even faced with all the evidence, there are still people who insist that Juventus was innocent.

      After all, many people continued to insist that Lance Armstrong was innocent, ‘the victim of a witch hunt’, until he confessed it all himself.

      Of course, for those who had been paying attention, it was clear for years that Armstrong and all the other world class cyclists had been doping themselves consistently. Yet, Jalabert, Riis, Pantani, Olano, Zülle – to this day none of them has ever been convicted in court. Not enough proof. Not enough proof to even begin a court case.

      Similarly, the Italian court of appeal has judged that there wasn’t enough proof to uphold the prison sentence that Juventus’s doctor had originally received.

      But as the cycling cases clearly demonstrate, “not enough proof” doesn’t translate to “proven clean.”

      Yet that’s what some people here are suggesting. That because a couple of judges said there wasn’t enough proof to sent the ones responsible to prison, that this proves that all allegations are untrue. A ludicrous argument.

      The only reason Armstrong was forced to confess, was because the American investigator Travis Tygart persisted like a mad man. Initially, the American Court rejected his case. Only after he managed to secure 20+ confessions from fellow riders, under threat of long suspensions for all of them, could he push Armstrong in the corner.

      Sadly, such confessions are nowhere to be found within Juventus. Silence reigns supreme. As the Italian prosecutor, who studied the case for four years and is abolutely convinced that Juventus used doping, says: “it’s easier to find a Maffioso to talk about the Maffia’s crimes, than an Italian footballer about doping.”

      But considering the remarks by Zeman, Wenger, and the French team doctor. Considering the Italian prosectutor, who did a four year investigation and remains 100% convinced that the team had been doping. Considering that the Juventus doctor – Riccardo Agricola – initially received a prison sentence. And considering that we have scientists studying their blood values and concluding yes, EPO was used, you have to be willfully blind indeed to reject any suggestion that Juventus used doping.

      1. There’s no doubt that you are free to keep your convictions and speculations about whether Juve made effectively use or not of EPO.

        However, given that you are trying to underpin your speculation with court rules, it would be fair to state in your article that two superior (and subsequent) court rules have clearly excluded use of EPO. Instead, you quote prosecutors and rules when it is convenient to your thesis, but not when inconvenient. To be frank, looks quite weak to me.

        Moreover you introduce the lack of credibility of the italian courts (although previously you use it to your advantage) and then even justify your point with an US-prosecutor persistence. Ok, I can tell you that Guariniello has been even forceful in his multi-years tentative to proof his allegations. He made the whole team appear individually in court to testify and each has been treated like he was guilty of something.

        Honestly, you seem to have quite a biased opinion on the subject.

        Sorry – twice, noticed that previous answer was directing to the wrong post

    2. I am quite sure you are a blind Juventus fan. In all Italy Juventus is famous as the ” ladra d’italia” (thieves of Italy) . And of course this includes cooperation of courts, referees, etc. This website is not against Juventus, it is writing about all drugs takers and dopers in football, and it isnt sparing any clubs or players. Many of the players and clubs mentioned here have never been officially convicted. That is exactly where the story is about, that doping was used, but nearly nothing was done.

  10. Very interesting article and thank you for sharing it. It certainly makes you question the sport if nothing else.
    Just a quick tip for you, not meant in a patronising way so please don’t take it that way. It is purely because you have written a very interesting piece. Many people ‘switch off’ as soon as they encounter a type-o or incorrect grammar in an article. Subconsciously a reader will say that if the writer hasn’t bothered to edit his/her material, then just how reliable is the material that he/she is writing?
    For example, talking about the 1982 Algeria team: ‘he and several of seven of his teammates now have severely handicapped children’.
    I know I’m being picky, but it’s just because I admire the piece you’ve put together and I would wish your future articles to be all that they can be. Remember, all it takes is one type-o to lose an audience and lose credibility. (You didn’t lose me, however!)
    You’ve certainly made me question things and initiate debate among my friends, which is what it’s all about. Thank you.

    1. There’s no doubt that you are free to keep your convictions and speculations about whether Juve made effectively use or not of EPO.

      However, given that you are trying to underpin your speculation with court rules, it would be fair to state in your article that two superior (and subsequent) court rules have clearly excluded use of EPO. Instead, you quote prosecutors and rules when it is convenient to your thesis, but not when inconvenient. To be frank, looks quite weak to me.

      Moreover you introduce the lack of credibility of the italian courts (although previously you use it to your advantage) and then even justify your point with an US-prosecutor persistence. Ok, I can tell you that Guariniello has been even forceful in his multi-years tentative to proof his allegations. He made the whole team appear individually in court to testify and each has been treated like he was guilty of something.

      Honestly, you seem to have quite a biased opinion on the subject.

  11. Very good reading, thank you. I love sports in general, but football is at top of the list. Reading the article, I can with a fair amount of certainty what certain players were taking.

    Zico: – Testosterone
    “They gave me more strength to train. I gained mass without compromising speed and agility.”

    Beckenbauer – EPO
    “the injection of my own blood. Several times a month, my friend Manfred Köhnlechner draws blood from my arm, and re-injects it in my butt. This causes an artificial inflammation As a result, the amount of red and white blood cells goes up.”

    This is classic EPO doping for extended cardio-vascular performance.

    Ronaldo – Nandrolone Decoanate (DECA)
    (based on the era) was most likely using Nandrolone. The Netherlands is notorious for their lax enforcement of steroid abuse. Nandrolone in small amounts 150/200mg per week will help to heal ligament/tendon injuries by boosting collagen synthesis by 270%!. In larger amounts, it will significantly increase muscle mass, however, tendons do not grow at the same rate and are subject to tearing….ever wonder why a perfectly fit football player who is warmed up will now simply pop a hamstring? Some of these you can blame on DECA.

    In fact, the “Steroid ERA” has never gone away, and is still present. Gareth Bale in 2013, used Blood Spinning to boost HGH and help recover in two weeks from a bad ankle sprain. Jermain Defoe used the same technique in 2012 to recover from injuries. Where did they learn this?…from Andre Villas Boas who learned from Jose Mourinho, who used the same technique on Arjen Robben in 2005. Blood Spinning is not illegal, the banned use of it was overturned as it gives no performance advantage. However, the advantage is clear…if an injury heals faster than “normal”, then the advantage is that the player can now be on the field versus watching from the stands.

    And yet again this week, look at Neymar. Since he arrived at Barcelona, Neymar has been diagnosed with “Anemia”…really…what a joke, guess what the treatment for Anemia is…boosting Red Blood Cells, i.e….legalized EPO doping. Real Madrid and Barcelona are more important to Spain than the Crown Jewels to England. It is not humanly possible for Ronaldo to put out the effort he does week after week without “help”, or for Messi to take the physical punishment he does week after week without “help”.

    Lastly….look at Swimming. 70% of all elite swimmers “suffer” from Asthma. 70%, you would think there would be some worldwide investigation into swimming pools and there health risks. When you have Asthma, what do you get…Bronchodilators that open the airway…i.e., more oxygen. More Oxygen, faster swim times. Elite swimmers are spotted early by coaches and diagnosed with “Asthma” so that when they reach 15 years of age, they already have 7-8 years of baseline results using Bronchodilators. Again, another form of legalized doping. It’s only when the Chinese go above and beyond the normal doping that they receive a public smack down.

    The problem with the general public is that they simply do not want to know, they don’t want to believe that they have been conned, or could have been conned, they want to believe that what they are seeing is 100% legitimate, when it really isn’t. As soon as someone brings up the word “Steroids”, the image is of Body Builders, when that is small visible percentage.

    I would provide links to substantiate everything above…but it’s much more interesting if you just look for yourself.

  12. Deportivo La Coruna should really be mentioned! pirlo even talks about it in his book how it was obvious tht the Deportivo players were on some kind of drug when they wooped Milan in return leg. Average age of team was like 32 yet were running around in 88th min like they were 22 year olds in opening 10 mins!

  13. Bernd Pansold – een van de oprichters van het DDR doping programma, die in 1998 veroordeeld is voor het dopen van mindjarige meisjes zonder hun medeweten – is nu hoofd van het Red Bull Salzburg trainingscentrum. Misschien een verhaal om toe te voegen aan je artikel

  14. you talk too much about european doping cases. Did you know there is a high rate of doping cases in argentine soccer clubs? Some major south american figures have been linking with doping but since soccer is so sacred here the press/news just try to cover up calling these accusations as rumors. Even some international south american soccer players have been linked to doping cases. Doping test in south america are so bad that you can see clearly in this world cup how some players seen by their performance, are getting away using high performance drugs

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