10 Footballers Who Have Been Banned For Doping Since 1991

10 Footballers Who Have Been Banned For Doping Since 1991

Fawaz Adebisi

In the world of football, there have been instances when players crossed the line, violating rules, by using banned substances in their body.

These violations not only tarnish their careers but also raise questions about the integrity of the sport.

Today, French footballer and Juventus midfielder, Paul Pogba, got banned from football for four years for a doping offence.

In this piece, BlackBox Nigeria highlights ten prominent footballers who faced bans for doping since 1991.

1. Diego Maradona:

Diego Maradona, the enigmatic Argentine footballer, was a genius on the field. His dribbling skills, vision, and audacity made him a legend.

However, his off-field struggles were equally legendary. In 1991, while playing for Napoli in Italy, Maradona tested positive for cocaine.

The subsequent 15-month ban cast a shadow over his illustrious career.

Maradona’s battles with addiction and his larger-than-life persona became intertwined with his footballing legacy. Despite the ban, he remains an icon, both revered and controversial.

2. Rio Ferdinand:

Rio Ferdinand, the elegant English defender, graced the Premier League with his elegance and composure.

In 2003, during his Manchester United days, Ferdinand missed a routine drug test.

The oversight led to an eight-month suspension, a rare blemish on his otherwise stellar career. Ferdinand’s case highlighted the importance of adhering to anti-doping protocols.

His subsequent return to the pitch showcased resilience and a commitment to redemption.

3. Kolo Touré:

Kolo Touré, the Ivorian center-back, was a rock for Manchester City.

In 2011, he tested positive for a banned substance, resulting in a six-month ban.

Touré’s case was a stark reminder that even established players could fall prey to doping pitfalls.

His reputation took a hit, but he emerged as an advocate for clean sports, urging young talents to stay away from shortcuts.

4. Mamadou Sakho:

Mamadou Sakho, the French defender, faced a 30-day suspension in 2016 after testing positive for a banned substance while playing for Liverpool.

The controversy surrounding his case was intense. Initially, the ban threatened his career, but it was later overturned when the substance was found not to be on the banned list.

Sakho’s rollercoaster journey exemplifies the complexities of anti-doping regulations.

5. Adrian Mutu:

Adrian Mutu, the Romanian forward, had a promising career at Chelsea.

However, his cocaine use led to a seven-month ban in 2004. Mutu’s fall from grace was swift, and he became a cautionary tale for aspiring footballers.

His talent was overshadowed by personal demons, leaving fans wondering what could have been.

6. Jaap Stam:

Jaap Stam, the Dutch center-back, was a formidable force in Serie A.

In 2001, he tested positive for nandrolone, a banned substance, while playing for Lazio.

The five-month ban disrupted his career, and Stam’s reputation suffered. His story serves as a reminder that no player is immune to the consequences of doping.

7. Frank de Boer:

Frank de Boer, the elegant Dutch defender, faced a six-month ban in 1994 after testing positive for nandrolone.

His case highlighted the need for vigilance in maintaining a clean sport.

De Boer’s graceful style on the field contrasted sharply with the stain of doping, leaving fans disappointed.

8. Edgar Davids:

Edgar Davids, the tenacious Dutch midfielder, tested positive for nandrolone in 2001 while playing for Juventus.

His four-month suspension was a blow to both his club and national team.

Davids’ relentless work ethic couldn’t shield him from the consequences of doping, emphasizing the importance of fair play.

9. Paolo Guerrero:

Paolo Guerrero, the Peruvian striker, faced a 14-month ban in 2017 after testing positive for cocaine metabolite benzoylecgonine.

His case was closely watched, and the Court of Arbitration for Sport eventually reduced the ban to six months, allowing him to participate in the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Guerrero’s resilience and subsequent comeback showcased the human side of the doping battle.

10. Paul Pogba:

Paul Pogba, the French midfield maestro, recently shocked fans with a positive test for testosterone in 2023.

The four-year ban threatens to alter his career trajectory significantly.

Pogba’s appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport will determine whether he can overcome this setback.


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