Professional players, in general and especially in the modern game are extremely clean cut when it comes to what they are willing to put in their bodies.
The days of drinking extensively or doing drugs the night before a major game are long gone. Because of the demands of the game these days, it’s far too simple to spot someone suffering from a hangover or a comedown – but that doesn’t mean some sportsmen don’t succumb to temptation.
Footballers will occasionally be found ingesting or using stuff they shouldn’t – including drugs – whether it’s due to a temporary break in attention or long-term misuse.
We list a few famous footballers who were not only caught using drugs, but were also banned from the game for doing so.
Edgar Davids, who is already in his forties, only formally resigned from professional football in 2014, after finishing his career as the player-manager of the English club Barnet. But, during his time at Juventus in 2001, he tested positive for the illegal steroid Nandrolone, putting his career in peril. The Dutch midfielder was set to get a 16-month suspension, meaning he would have missed the 2002 World Cup.
Davids, on the other hand, appealed the decision, which resulted in a four-month suspension. The midfielder has been battling for the suspension to be lifted, alleging that high amounts of nandrolone in his system were caused by homeopathic remedies.
Jake Livermore is the most recent high-profile case of a player who has been suspended for taking drugs. In May 2015, the Hull City midfielder tested positive for cocaine and was suspended from the Premier League for the rest of the season awaiting further investigation. The investigation is still underway, and it is unclear what will happen next.
Livermore, 25, was Hull’s record signing when he signed permanently for around £8 million from Tottenham Hotspur in 2014, but he faces being sacked from the relegated club if further investigation categorically proves his abuse of the Class A drug. He earned one England cap in 2012.
Stan Lazaridis, a former Australian international who played for West Ham United and Birmingham City, was banned from the game for a year in 2007 after testing positive for the anti-androgen Finasteride, a prescription alopecia medication.
The substance was banned at the time, and despite the fact that Lazaridis stated that he used it in good faith, without knowing it was illegal, and that it wasn’t a performance-enhancing drug, he was still suspended.
When the ban was imposed, Lazaridis was playing for Perth Glory in his country. Because he was 34 years old at the time, he chose to retire from the game rather than wait for his suspension to end before returning.