steroids in soccer

Steroids in the Premier League and Europe?

Lance Armstrong, Alex Rodriguez and Ben Johnson, names most people think of when it comes to steroid use in sports.

Cycling, American Football, MMA and Baseball, sports that come to mind when thinking of steroids in sports.

So why has football/soccer never been grouped with these other sports? Is it that football is clean or is there a much darker and very well hidden meaning?

NFL players don’t get tested in the off-season. When they do get caught during the season, they face a 4 game ban, hardly a major punishment.

In boxing athletes are removed from the testing pool the moment they no longer have a fight lined up.

In all American colleges steroids are pretty much encouraged, hence why you see 16 year olds standing 6ft 4 and 280lbs.

Why have I mentioned these three senarios? Well each of these cases highlights a cash cow that’s too big to fail.

When something is too big to fail, or perhaps more fitting; too profitable to fail, there are special rules created in order to protect that revenue stream by the people at the heal of the organisation.

In 2018 103 million people watched the Superbowl. Also in 2018 3.5 billion people watched the Football World Cup Final in Russia. Just to put this into perspective, 75 million people watched Barcelona vs Real Madrid (the el classico) which is nothing more than a league game in the Spanish La Liga.

You see these figures and you begin to understand why football is so protected, it’s comfortably the biggest sport in the world with the largest audience on a weekly basis.

With this in mind would it not be smart to protect players from any potential accusations? That’s exactly what we’re going to explore within this article as we look at the overwhelming evidence that suggests our beautiful game has an ugly secret.

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It’s 2014 and Real Madrid are taking on Atletico Madrid in the final of the champions league. Defender Sergio Ramos manages to score a last minute header to send the game into extra time after Atletico were able to hold them off for 93 minutes working their socks off the entire time.

Traditionally in extra time both teams are exhausted and the quality seems to diminish. Atletico being perhaps the fittest team that had ever existed at the time in many people’s eye’s were out on their feet in extra time. Real Madrid however scored another 3 goals and made the remainder of the game look easy.

In fact the Real Madrid players looked stronger and fresher in extra time than they did during the standard 90 minutes. Most notably were Ronaldo, Modric and Marcelo, 3 world class players who could possibly be fit enough to do this, but to think the Atletico players couldn’t is suspicious.

That game was the first time I had truly questioned if steroids were being used in football in order to increase some teams chances of success. Little did I know how deep the rabbit hole went!

Dr Fuentes

The world of cycing has been at the centre of drug scandals more than it would wish.

Documentaries like Icarus have shown us how bad the problem really is. It’s pretty much standard knowledge that the Tour De France is impossible to do without steroids never mind win. It’s also standard knowledge that every professional cyclist is using in order to compete with everyone else who are also using.

At the heart of all of this is Dr Fuentes. Dr Fuentes is a Spanish sports doctor who was convicted of running one of the worlds largest sports doping rings, mainly in the world of cycling.

Here’s where things get interesting;

Many of Fuentes’ cycling clients have claimed that they saw athletes from many other sports when visiting the Dr. They mention tennis players and many famous footballers.

Fuentes began working with footballers in 2002 it is believed. So the disgraced cycling doctor was allowed to bridge over to an even bigger sport to continue we pressume what he was doing for the cyclists, yet no one questioned this? Fuentes himself claims that Real Madrid still owe him for his services. Journalist Stephane Mandard from Le Monde newspaper said a doctor showed him medical records of players from Betis, Sevilla, Valencia, Real Madrid and Barcelona with detailed doping plans for an entire season.

When this story broke Spanish authorities raided a different office unrelated to the story. Journalist Stephane Mandard was also sued.

To further add to the mystery, a cellmate of Fuentes said Fuentes told him that if the full story ever came out, Spain would likely have to give back the World Cup trophy!

Unbelivably the confusion doesn’t end there. In court, when Fuentes offered to provide the names of all his clients, the judge actually stopped him saying it was in violation of patient-doctor confidentiallity.

The Curious Case Of Real Sociedad

Real Sociedad president Inaki Badiola admitted that they paid €300,000 between 2001 and 2007 for Funetes’ services.

Strangely Real Socieded went from finishing 13th in 2001 to finishing 2nd in the 2002-03 season only 2 points short of Real Madrid.

Granted Real Sociedad had a great team that year and the competition was lower, but to jump 11 league positions in a single year with Real and Barca usually so dominant is fishy.

Spanish Dominance

So what does this say about the era of Spanish dominance that we have just seen come to an end?

Was it the golden generation that we’ve all been told about, with Xavi, Iniesta, Puyol, Villa and Casillas all coming along at once? Or could it be possible that doping programs were put in place to ensure Spanish success both in the Champions League and at international tournaments?

It’s entirely possible that a combination was at play. It’s impossible to ignore the obvious flight footed talents of Iniesta, Xavi and others, but for players so slight in stature it’s also entirely possible that the Spanish saw an opportunity to help.

In fact this would not be new to Spanish football. Lionel Messi, recognised by many as the greatest to ever play the game, was put on a growth hormone cycle from a young age paid for by Barcelona. It’s often over-looked but growth hormones are illegal in sports, however with Messi having medical approval due to his lack of size it doesn’t get questioned. Yet in reality it’s no different to NFL players taking steroids in college. It’s logical to think that Barcelona saw unnatural talent in an inferior frame and stepped in to create the perfect player.

If growth hormones were given to a 6 ft 2 player however questions would be raised and people would say that is why they are good.

Messi’s team-mate at Barcelona Xavi has also been suspected of using growth hormones.

In 2012 Spanish football pundit Graham Hunter spoke about Xavi trying to come back from injury quicker. He spoke about how Barcelona were publicly giving growth hormones (HGH) to Xavi in order to speed recovery. He claimed that Barcelona had been using this technique for years to treat muscle strains and fatigue. When Graham made the statements and was informed this was illegal, he claimed that if so Barcelona would be in serious trouble as they have been doing this publicly for many years.

Very strangely but unsurprisingly Graham Hunter retracted his statements shortly after.

Has This Ever Happened In Footballs Past?

The short answer is yes but it’s not spoken about for obvious reasons.

Most assume Maradona was the only case, but I bet you didn’t know Jaap Stam and Edgar Davids were found having Nandrolone in their systems. I bet you also didn’t know that Frank De Boer, Christophe Dugarry and wait for it…Pep Guardiola were all banned for steroid use at various points in their careers.

What’s even more interesting is that all three of those players played for Barcelona during their careers. Coincidence perhaps.

To think that Pep Guardiola is probabaly the most successful manager in history when you consider the time in which he’s done what he has done, it makes you wonder. Especially when he also managed Barcelona so successfully during the time that these allegations were raised/events were supposed to have happened. Although nothing can be proved it must be said.

19 years ago footballer Marcel Desailly a world cup winner with France said: “Doping exists in football that’s so obvious it would be stupid to deny it, but individually not collectively.”

To think this was 19 years ago and many of the individuals in question have gone on to become coaches. It raises the question that perhaps the individuals have encouraged the collective.

Further Back

The suspected issue of steroids in football actually goes back even further than that. In 1954 at the world cup, Ferenc Puskas suspected Germany of using performance enhancing drugs.

When Hungarian officials entered the Germany changing rooms they found srynges with suspected pervitin, a powerful stimulant administered to German troops during WW2.

Ex-Arsenal manager Leslie Knighton had a chapter in his auto-biography titled: “I dope Arsenal for a cup tie”

German superstar Franz Beckenbauer regarded by many as the perfect footballer and greatest defender ever, claimed that the secret to his fitness was reinjecting his own blood. In fact one Bayern Munich player was actually known as the walking pharmacy!

In The More Recent Past

Jean-Pierre Paclet, a France U-21 Doctor claimed that France’s famous 1998 World Cup winning team had suspect blood results. Following on from this French singer Johnny Hallyday claimed that Zidane told him to use oxygenisation treatment as Zidane did it 1 or 2 times per year. Zidane was France’s best player scoring two goals in the final of that world cup.

English Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson recalls being at a Holiday Inn hotel and being given a yellow substance the night before a game that gave him “boundless energy.”

Another Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville wrote in his biography, that there were ques out the door of players lining up to take an unknown substance that gave energy boosts before England played Argentina in 1998, the game where Michael Owen scored that wonder goal.

How Can We Tell If Someone Is On Steroids?

There’s no sure way other than a blood test and a urine test, but there are suspected signs that are repeated time and time again in users. These include;

Young Players Who Peak Early & Decline Quicker/Players Who Peak For One Or Two Seasons

One suspected sign of steroid use is a meteoric rise and a fall from grace that’s just as quick, as the body cannot handle the substances over a prolongued period of time.

Players that come to mind include Jack Wilshere, Michael Owen, El Shaarawy, Wayne Rooney, Adriano, Brazilian Ronaldo, Balotelli, Micah Richards, Jamie Vardy, Milito, Veron, Ryan Babel, Fernando Torres, Denilson, Feddy Adu and Gareth Bale. Although we are not accusing any player and no evidence has ever been found to suggest they take steroids.

Wayne Rooney came into the game at 16 with the body of a stocky full grown man, his hairline was already fading away and after around 25 when he should’ve been in his peak, he barely played another decent game again.

Micah Richards looked like the greatest athlete to ever grace the game at 18, yet multiple knee injuries, too much muscle and a general decline of performances by 23 saw his future die fast.

Adriano was the worlds most unstoppable striker for around 2 years, then declined rapidly.

Jack Wilshere was playing for Arsenal at 16 and dominated Barcelona recieving plaudits from Pep Guardiola at just 19 years old. Fast forward to 2019 and Jack’s career has gone in the complete opposite direction. It’s hard to believe someone can be worse in their physical prime than they were when they were a teenager, simply makes no sense.

Repeat Long Term Injuries

Jurgen Klopp claimed that steroids is not an issue in football, yet every team he has managed has had major long term and repeat injuries. We’re not saying Klopp is guilty, but there are some suspect features with the clubs that he is at.

Long term injury list: Gundogan, Reus, Blaszczykowski , Gotze, Hummels, Chamberlain, lallana, it’s rare for players to be out for 6 months or more repeatably. When taking steroids it’s well known that the muscles become too big and strong for the ligaments which leads to major repeat injuries. Not to mention that Klopps Dortmund and Liverpool sides both enormously over-achieved whilst running a ridiculous amount multiple times per week without signs of fatigue. But it is also entire possible that Klopp pushes his players hard resulting in injuries but improved performance.

Klopps rival and former drug cheat Pep Guardiola has had a similar experience. Since arriving at Manchester City long term injuries include Mendy, Gundogan, Kompany, John Stones, De Bruyne, Claudio Bravo and Aguero. Long term injuries do happen in football and we are not suggesting Pep Guardiola encourages his players to cheat but there is a noticable trend.

One thing that a lot of people have noted is how Pep Guardiola always sends his players to Ramon Cugat known as the Messi of medicine, a Barcelona based doctor who helped him get over a hamstring injury and who he encouraged his Barcelona and Manchester City players to use.

At Bayern Pep did not have full control over the players. They used a different doctor – Muller-Wohlfahrt. According to Muller-Wohlfahrt, Guardiola had told him: “It cannot be that injuries here last six weeks but in Spain only a fortnight.”

With the talk from Graham Hunter of Xavi recieving growth hormones, could it be that Guardiola is sending his players to Barcelona to recieve similar treatment which enables his players to recover quicker? Again it could be that Guardiola simply trusts the man who helped him and there is no wrong doing.

Unusual Success

As we mentioned, Klopps sides always seem to over-achieve, this is usually a sure sign that someone has been “enhanced” in order to drastically improve performance overnight. This could also be because he is a superb manager we must say, but there are question marks.

Real Sociedad was one example of a team over-achieving but the greatest ever has to be Leicester City.

Leicester City Win The Premier League After Fighting Relegation Just 12 Months Earlier!

It was the fairytale story. Leicester City with their tiny budget and lesser known players managed to win against all odds, beating out the much larger teams packed with superstars. How did they do this?

Lets take nothing away from Leicester, firstly they out-worked everybody, secondly everyone else seemed poor that year, thirdly they’re Leicester City, even if they took every steroid imaginable they still deserve credit for what they did.

Going from 41 points to 81 points is not easy, especially when you don’t have the best players. In fact they had the players no one else wanted.

So is there anything to suggest they were doping?

Firstly there is the Dr Mark Bonar story. Dr Mark Bonar admitted to having 150 sports people as clients. He administered EPO and HGH to Chelsea, Arsenal, Birmingham and Leicester City players according to his statements.

Secondly there’s the drastic improvements, after 13 games into the season, compared to the previous season Jamie Vardy went from;

Scoring 1 goal to scoring 13 goals

Scoring a goal every 889 minutes to scoring a goal every 88 minutes

Taking 14 shots compared to 44 shots

Improving shot conversion rate by 25%

Vardy is also 6% body fat, not advised for football or any sport, he also has a 70cm jump, the average NBA player has a 71cm jump.

It’s again entirely possible that Vardy worked on his game over the summer and came back stronger. However Vardy was 28 at the time, if a 19 year old came back with such improvements maybe we could justify it by saying they grew, developed, got used to the league etc. But for a 28 year old to have the season of his life out of nowhere is impossible to ignore as anything else but suspect. Especially when he was on par with Messi and Ronaldo for much of the season. It’s also hard to believe that a player who would soon be one of the best strikers in the world can be in non-league football not scoring 50 goals per season. Put Lionel Messi in a non-league team and he scores 100 goals per season. Leading up to Vardy’s stellar title winning season, the three years prior he scored 4 goals, 16 goals and 5 goals. The inconsistency is eye opening and raises questions.

It’s undoubtable that Kante, Mahrez and Vardy were the stars of the team. But the remainder of the squad was made up of players who were LET GO by their former teams as they were deemed NOT GOOD ENOUGH!

For those players to come together to form a title winning team goes against all logic. If Man City were to sell Bravo, Foden, Kompany, Danilo, Zinchenko and Jesus to Cardiff, Cardiff would probabaly have finished 8th this season at best. That’s the best team in the league giving their 2nd string players over to a relegation team and I still cannot see them winning the league. Leicester didn’t even have that, they had the 2nd tier players from sides that were not title winners and then went from relegation battles to title winners in 12 months, that doesn’t add up. But again without evidence we must say Leicester City could’ve got the better of everyone fair and square that season.

It brings us back to Marcel Desaillys comments 19 years ago. Claiming that doping is in football, but it’s being done by individuals not clubs.

Is Leicester City what happens when all of the players decide to take steroids together?

Ronaldo & Bale

The following is pure speculation and we have no evidence to solidify the following statements:

Online sources speculate Cristiano Ronaldo has had a doping plan for years. Although many close to him say that he is scared to death of losing his hairline and therefore microdoses under controlled circumstances.

Journalist Ewan McKenna spoke to a strength and conditioning expert who could not believe the shape Ronaldo was in. They claimed that a bodybuilder would do well to look like that and lifting weights is their main goal. Not to mention that a bodybuilders frame is not the best frame needed for optimal football performance due to the range of movement and extended cardio.

Many have speculated but we must say there is no evidence to suggest true, that Real Madrid wanted to make Bale the new Ronaldo as it would make them unstoppable having two super soldiers. They put Gareth on EPO, SARMS and HGH in order to improve his slender/athletic physique to catch up with Ronaldo. Gareth firstly reacted well to the steroids.

steroids in football

Real Madrid steroids

Multiple images surfaced online of Bale looking more like a fitness model during Real Madrid pre-season training. Bear in mind this all happened within 3 months of leaving Tottenham. Bale actually claimed that his new physique was down to “A little bit of running” which sounds like a panicked answer.

Sadly Bale began to experience migraines which Real put down to the sun exposure. Bale was confined to his room for weeks due to the sensitivity to light.

EPO is known to give headaches due to blood thickening, which is how migraines happen.

SARMS is known to be a “safe steroid” it doesn’t impact the liver like steroids do, but it does build muscle and lowers body fat. The only side effect however is sensitivty to light which is what Bale reportably faced.

HGH is known to cause nerve muscle or joint pain as well as swelling in the arms and legs from fluid retention. This would explain Bales increased size, bulky look, repeat long term injuries and illness issues. Bale has had over 22 injuries since being at Madrid and has missed over 25% of the games due to injuries.

Of course we are not accusing Bale or Real Madrid as this is all from online theories, but again things seem strange.

Arsene Wenger

Arsene Wenger is a man who has had a tough ride of late. Although there was a time when Arsene was able to compete with the best in the world on a small budget purely through great scouting and his own player development.

As the game has evolved and perhaps doping become more popular, Arsenal have seen a fall from grace as Englands best team.

Arsene Wenger was quoted as saying; “Many football legends are in fact drug cheats”.

“In 30 years as a manager I’ve never had my players injected to make them better. I never gave them any product that would help enhance their performance. I’m proud of that. I’ve played against many teams that weren’t in that frame of mind.”

With this mindset, could it be possible that the decline of Arsenal has come from their manager refusing to emulate what other teams have been doing?

Brazilian Ronaldo 1998 World Cup Final

Before the 1998 world cup final between Brazil and France, world superstar Ronaldo was found having a fit on the floor of his hotel room by his team-mates.

Many speculated that the French poisoned him, etc, etc the conspiracy list goes on.

However although speculation with no hard evidence, one symptom of EPO is seizures.

To add to this Ronaldo is another footballer who rose to fame at a young age and then tailed off rather quickly with career ending injuries which does all point in the correct direction.

Bernando Santi said Ronaldo suffered so many injuries because when he signed for PSV Eindhoven in 1994 as a 17-year-old, he was regularly pumped full of anabolic steroids to help develop him physically.

As a result Ronaldo developed muscles that were unable to work with his natural knee’s bone structure, leading to devastating problems in the later stages of his career.

Fifa & Corruption

One question we must ask is, why are more players not being caught if the evidence is so vast?

How was Maradona able to pass drug tests for years, why is it that 7.7% of European players were found having unnaturally high testosterone levels yet nobody has been banned and why is it that Fifa medical doctor Dr Michel D’Hooghe can say; “English footballs biggest stars are using, which enables them to play better, have more stamina and recover quicker from injuries”, but again no investigations take place?

In short Fifa is too big and profitable to fail. We all know that Fifa were bribed in order to grant Qatar the 2022 World Cup. Platini has also admitted to fixing the 1998 World Cup draw so that Brazil and France would not face one another until the final.

Therefore we know they are corrupt enough to allow steroids in football, taking bribes and fixing draws is a much greater crime. Not to mention that the Italian league endured the match fixing scandal roughly 10 years ago. To think that a few steroids are being used here and there is childs play in comparision.

But perhaps everyone who has ever spoken out is wrong. Perhaps all of these footballers are lying in their biographies/accounts. Perhaps some players are just injury prone the second they add muscle. Perhaps Klopp and Guardiola are magicians and certain doctors have the ability to cure people quicker than others.

Maybe we will never know, but one thing we do know; football is too profitable to fail.