XI Footballers That Were Caught Taking Performance Enhancing Substances

XI players who have all been banned for taking performance enhancing substances. Whether it be a missed test or snorting a line of the good stuff.

XI Footballers That Were Caught Taking Performance Enhancing Substances

We've assembled a motley crew of XI players who have all been banned for taking performance enhancing substances. Whether it be a missed test or snorting a line of the good stuff.


Goalkeeper - René Higuita

Between the sticks is Colombia kingpin René Higuita who twice tested positive for cocaine between 2002 and 2004. He served just a six game ban for the first offence but was sacked from Ecuadorian club SD Aucas after his second snort of the white powder. Then again it's hardly surprising for a player who once served over six months in jail after getting involved in a kidnapping connected to Pablo Escobar. Explains why Higuita was nicknamed the mad man.

Centre Back - Kolo Toure

The chubby Ivorian was trying to shed a few pounds back in 2011 and started taking clenbuterol. A six-month ban soon followed, causing man City to fine him a hefty seven hundred and forty thousand pounds as a punishment. Toure did, however, miss the clubs landmark of FA cup win forced to watch from the sidelines as his teammates lifted the trophy.

Centre Back - Jaap Stam

The big Dutchman won pretty much every trophy under the sun while at Man United. But his move to a big spending Lazio side went south almost immediately. Just two months after joining the Italian side in 2001, Stam tested positive for banned steroid nandrolone and served a four-month ban. He protested his innocence, saying he accidentally took diet supplements that contained the drug. He even claimed that he was so stressed after being forced out of Old Trafford, that his muscles produced the steroid naturally.

Centre Back - Rio Ferdinand

Let's get the legal stuff out of the way Rio never failed a drug's test in his career. But he did miss one and that's enough for him to make our list. In 2003 during his second season at Old Trafford following a 30 million pound transfer from Leeds, Ferdinand left training to go shopping and completely forgot about the test. By the time he remembered and returned to the ground it was too late. He passed the test the next day but it wasn't enough. Ferdinand was handed a whopping eight-month ban, causing him to miss the rest of the season and Euro 2004. United called the ban savage, and to be fair in hindsight it does seem pretty harsh.

Left Wing-back - Edgar Davids

Davids failed drugs test back in 2001 while tearing opponents back in Juventus. The one man engine tested positive in 2001 for the same drug Jaap Stam shown later to have taken, that pesky steroid nandrolone. He denied having taken any prohibited substance saying homoeopathic medicine might have caused the issue. Either way, he served four months on the sidelines as a result of the scandal.

Right Wing-back - Abel Xavier

Remembered for having the best beard and hair combo of any player in history, Portuguese right back Abel Xavier, tested positive for methandrostenolone in 2005. Despite protesting his innocence, saying he took the steroid by accident in a contaminated supplement. He got an 18-month ban later reduced to a year. As a result, the Middlesbrough defender earned himself the dubious honour of being the first Premier League player ever banned for taking a performance enhancing drug.

Defensive Midfielder - Pep Guardiola

Surprised? We were. But Barcelona legend Pep Guardiola did indeed fail a drug test while at Brescia in 2001. And you'd never guess what drug it was for, nandrolone yet again. Like everyone else who tested positive for the steroid in Serie A at the time, he was slapped with a four-month ban. Understandably, Pep wasn't happy with this stain on his reputation and fought to clear his name. Which he did, twice. After winning two hearings in 2007 and 2009, Pep's reputation was finally restored.

Right Wing - Claudio Caniggia

This won't be the last Argentinian party animal to feature in our team, but for now, we'll focus on Claudio Caniggia, who got a 13-month ban for cocaine abuse in 1993. As soon as the ban expired he went to play at the Wold-Cup in 1994 and joined Benfica. Something of a national legend, Cannigia was frozen out of the team for a while for refusing to cut his hair but made the Wold-Cup 2002 squad aged 35. He didn't play but still managed to get sent off by swearing at the ref, making Cannigia first player in World-Cup history to be red carded from the bench.

Attacking Midfielder - Deco

Brazilian born Portuguese maestro Deco was coming off the back of a disappointing stint at Stanford Bridge when he joined Fluminense in 2010, but his swan song back home ended badly with the former Barcelona and Chelsea player testing positive for furosemide in 2013. Deco said a contaminated vitamin supplement caused the problem. But the diminutive playmaker was banned for a year, although he'd already retired when he was given the sentence.

Left Winger - Diego Maradona

You knew it was coming but here he is anyway. One of the greatest players to grace the pitch Diego Maradona battled drugs throughout his career. From the time he joined Barcelona during his epic World-Cup winning performance, and throughout his glorious reign with Napoli, Maradona was battling cocaine addiction. He was finally caught out in 1991 and given a 15-month worldwide ban.

Striker - Adrian Mutu

After smashing in 22 goals in 36 games for Parma, Mutu made a 16 million pound move to Chelsea in 2003. But a year later he'd been sacked out of the club after failing a cocaine test. Despite being banned for the rest of the season, the Romanian was picked up just a few months later on a free by Juventus, although he couldn't play at first. In fact, Mutu would enjoy eight seasons in Serie A with Juve, Fiorentina and Cesena before spells elsewhere. While the doping scandal didn't hurt his career it certainly did hurt his wallet, Chelsea suede him for breach of contract leaving Mutu owning the Stanford Bridge 17 million euros.

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FM 2018 Blog - Football Manager 2018: XI Footballers That Were Caught Taking Performance Enhancing Substances
XI Footballers That Were Caught Taking Performance Enhancing Substances
XI players who have all been banned for taking performance enhancing substances. Whether it be a missed test or snorting a line of the good stuff.
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