From Maradona to Pogba: 5 Footballers Who Have Been Banned for Doping

From Maradona to Pogba: 5 Footballers Who Have Been Banned for Doping

  • Paul Pogba, former Manchester United midfielder has been handed a four-year ban from football after failing a drugs test in August 2023
  • Pogba's suspension showed a dramatic fall from grace for a player who was once the most expensive footballer in the world
  • This article by presents a list of five other notable players who faced significant suspensions during their careers journalist Esther Odili has over two years of experience covering political parties and movements.

On Thursday, February 29, France star Paul Pogba was handed a four-year ban by the Italian anti-doping tribunal after testing positive for testosterone in August 2023.

Diego Maradona, Paul Pogba, Andre Onana
Pogba joins the likes of Maradona and others who have been banned for doping. Photo: David Cannon/Allsport, Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images, belN SPORTS
Source: Getty Images

Pogba was provisionally suspended by Italy’s national anti-doping (NADO Italia) tribunal in September after testing positive for testosterone – a banned substance, AlJazeera reported.

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The test, performed after Juventus' 3-0 Serie A season-opening victory at Udinese on August 20, detected testosterone, a hormone that increases athletes’ endurance. The 30-year-old was an unused substitute in that game.

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Reacting to the verdict, the France international stressed that he had been handed a ruling that was 'incorrect', DailyMail reported.

With the ban, Pogba will be unable to play until the 2027–28 season, when he will be 34.

Following this development, below are other top football stars who have been banned for doping;

Diego Maradona

As reported by Vanguard, the disciplinary committee of the Italian League banned Diego Maradona from football for 15 months in March 1991 for using cocaine before a league game for SC Napoli against Bari. His ban was extended worldwide after a hearing by football’s governing body, FIFA.

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Maradona, arguably considered football’s greatest player of all time, had a career marked by off-field controversy and doping scandals. After his ban in 1991, he was arrested in Buenos Aires for cocaine possession and trafficking.

On November 25, 2020, at the age of 60, Maradona suffered a cardiac arrest and passed away in his sleep at his home in Dique Luján, Buenos Aires Province, Argentina.

Andre Onana

In 2021, UEFA, Europe’s football governing body, banned Manchester United goalkeeper Andre Onana for one year for doping after he tested positive for a banned substance.

Onana claimed he “mistakenly” took his wife’s medicine after feeling unwell, which led to the banned diuretic furosemide appearing in his urine.

Following an appeal, the Court of Arbitration for Sport reduced the ban to nine months.

Andrian Mutu

Andrian Mutu, former Chelsea forward is one of the footballers to have been banned for doping twice.

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In 2004, after his move from Barcelona to England, Mutu was suspended for seven months following his admittance to taking a banned substance. He was sacked by the club in October 2004, after his doping and off-field issues.

Similarly, in 2010, while playing for Fiorentina, the Romanian was handed a nine-month ban by the Italian Olympic Committee’s (Coni) anti-doping tribunal for failing two drug tests.

Samir Nasri

Former France star Samir Nasri was banned for 18 months in 2018 over the intravenous drip treatment he received at a Los Angeles clinic in 2016.

His 18-month ban for doping was backdated to July 2017, which saw him return to football action in January 2019.

Kolo Toure

Kolo Toure, in May 2011, while playing for Manchester City, was suspended for six months for doping.

The former Ivorian star admitted to taking his wife’s diet pill.

Toure was also target-tested for two years, following an independent regulatory commission hearing convened at Wembley by the Football Association.

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However, the commission ruled that Toure did not intend to enhance sporting performance, and his ban was backed to March.

Paul Pogba reveals next move after 4-year ban

Meanwhile, Pogba has expressed readiness to appeal his sanction by taking the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

According to Sky in Italy, Pogba will appeal against this decision to the Court of Arbitration of Sport (CAS) in Lausanne. Should Pogba take the ruling to CAS to judge, WADA will appeal against that. A final judgment could end up at the Swiss courts.

In a tweet by Sports Brief, Pogba reportedly released a statement announcing his appeal against the judgment banning him from playing football for four years.


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