Updated March 1st, 2024 at 14:30 IST

Football stars who fell into the DOPING NET, from Diego Maradona to Pep Guardiola to Paul Pogba

Several football stars, including Diego Maradona, Pep Guardiola, and Paul Pogba, have been ensnared in doping controversies, raising concerns in the sport.

Reported by: Aryan Suraj Chadha
Paul Pogba | Image:AP

Doping in football remains a significant concern despite strict regulations. The sport, revered for its technique and tactics, can still be influenced by physical performance. The use of performance-enhancing drugs, or doping, is strictly prohibited in football, yet cases occasionally arise, prompting scrutiny on players who have been caught and penalized for violating anti-doping regulations.

Let’s take a look at some renowned footballers who have been caught and have been banned for doping. 


Pep Guardiola

Pep Guardiola's term as Manchester City manager saw the team win a historic triple, including their first UEFA Champions League title. Guardiola's own playing career was not without controversy. After his contract with FC Barcelona expired in 2001, he joined Serie A club Brescia, but was accused of taking nandrolone. These charges tormented him until 2009, when he successfully appealed and was absolved of all wrongdoing.


Andre Onana

Andre Onana made waves when he moved to Manchester United during the recent transfer window, replacing long-time custodian David de Gea. However, Onana's rise to prominence was nearly interrupted when he accidentally consumed his wife's medication, resulting in a nine-month ban for testing positive for diuretic furosemide while at Inter Milan.


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Fred, who now plays for Fenerbahce in Turkey, was involved in a doping controversy while at Shakhtar Donetsk. Fred tested guilty for diuretic hydrochlorothiazide while playing Brazil in the Copa America in 2015, prompting FIFA to issue a four-month suspension.


Deco, the Portuguese midfield master, had an illustrious career with clubs such as Benfica, FC Porto, Chelsea, and FC Barcelona before retiring in 2013. His retirement was clouded by a positive test for the masking chemical furosemide in March of that year, but further retesting and appeals cleared his name of any wrongdoing.

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Samir Nasri 

Samir Nasri received an 18-month suspension after having a 500-milliliter infusion, which violated WADA standards that allow just 50 millilitres every six-hour period. Nasri's ban, which had been in effect since July 1, 2017, was lifted in December 2018, and he returned to West Ham United.


Paul Pogba

Paul Pogba, the French midfielder, faces a potential four-year ban following a positive test for high levels of testosterone. Despite appealing for a counter-analysis and claiming ignorance about the supplement he consumed, Pogba's future in football hangs in the balance, with Juventus considering terminating his contract.


Diego Maradona 

Diego Maradona, best known for his legendary "hand of god" goal in the 1986 World Cup, had a number of drug scandals during his career. Maradona tested positive for cocaine while playing for Napoli in 1991, and he was suspended for fifteen months. He received another ban in 1994 for taking ephedrine during the World Cup, bringing his spectacular career with Boca Juniors to an abrupt end.


Published March 1st, 2024 at 14:18 IST