The pressure to succeed and win in any sport is high among athletes. Football, like other sports, comes with its own stresses and high stakes. Unfortunately, in a bid to win at all costs a few footballers take harmful substances like steroids to give themselves an unfair advantage.
Steroids are man-made versions of chemicals, called hormones that are naturally produced in the human body. Sometimes steroids can be used for their medicinal value, but other times to unfairly give yourself an advantage over other athletes.
Many high-profile footballers have used steroids due to ignorance of substances they don’t know are banned, peer pressure and a poor knowledge about the negative effects of doping. Often times, they may not know that the substances that they have taken are forbidden, but ignorance doesn’t prevent them from being punished.
Today, you will find out some soccer players, who for one reason or the other used steroids.
1. Pep Guardiola
Yes, the former Barcelona midfielder and legendary coach was once banned for using an anabolic steroid called nandrolone. This steroid is a testosterone that is used by athletes to boost physical performance. While playing for Italian side Brescia in 2001, Pep was banned by the Italian football federation for using the substance. The ban was later overturned on appeal.
2. Abel Xavier
The flamboyant former Portuguese defender was banned in 2005 for using the anabolic steroid methandrostenolone (also known as Dianabol). Dianabol is a steroid used to increase muscle growth and physical performance. He was initially banned for 18 months, but it was later shortened to 12 months on appeal. Abel Xavier was the first Premier League player to be found guilty of using performance-enhancing drugs.
3. Edgar Davids
The former Dutch and Ajax Amsterdam player was caught using Nandrolone during his playing days with Italian side Juventus. The ban was meant to last for about 16 months but was later reduced to 4.
4. Dave Kitson
Kitson is a former Premier League player who featured for various clubs like Reading, Stoke City, Portsmouth among others. In a report published in the British tabloid the Mirror in 2019, Dave admitted to taking steroids at various times during his career. He admitted to using them to boost and maintain his physical performance on the pitch. The retired footballer was however, never caught using the substance during his playing days.
5. Fernando Manuel Silva Couto
The former Porto centre-back was caught using Nandrolone in 2001 while playing for Italian side Lazio. He initially denied using it, but a second ‘B’ sample confirmed the usage. Couto was initially given a 9-month ban but he only served 4 months and paid a fine of $60,000.
6. Frank de Boer
In 2001, the then Barcelona and Netherlands captain tested positive for for the anabolic steroid nandrolone. He protested the results and vehemently denied using steroids. Frank de Boer was initially banned for 12 months, but had his drug ban slashed after a UEFA hearing.
7. Jaap Stam
The former tough-tackling Dutch defender was banned in 2001 for also using Nandrolone. He was given a 5-month ban which was later reduced to a month after appealing. Jaap still insists he never knowingly used any banned substance. Many years later, Jaap Stam wrote in his autobiography that he had taken the same vitamin pills as Dutch team mates Edgar Davids and Frank de Boer, who all tested positive for Nandrolone.