Top 7 Football Players Who Did Drugs

International Edition By: Titi Odubela | 09/11/2016

Professional footballers are elite athletes who are required to be incredibly fit with a strict diet even during the off-season. Long gone are the days of players having a few pints and a cigarette after a stressful match. 

Being a professional footballer and having to be a role model in the public eye can take its toll, some players handle it well, while for others, the pressure can be a little too much.  From partying to taking drugs, some professional footballers find themselves getting too wrapped up in the moment that it gets them into trouble.

However, footballers are required to take semi-regular ‘random’ drugs tests, particularly at a high level, with some international players being tested almost weekly. Failure in one of these tests or a refusal to take the test can see a hefty ban from the game and often a sacking by one’s employers.

Here are the top 10 footballers who have been caught doing drugs. This list is in no particular order.

1. Diego Maradona

First on our list is arguably the greatest talent the game has ever seen. A combination of speed, balance, grace, skill and vision made him virtually unplayable when he was on-song.

However, Diego Armando Maradona was a drug junkie and he was banned twice for his consistent doping. Back in 1991,during his time at Napoli he failed a drug test, testing positive for cocaine and was banned for 15 months. 3 years later during the 1994 World Cup he tested positive for ephedrine, and was dismissed from the campaign after two games. He did not overcome his cocaine addiction until 2005.

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2. Edgar Davids

Edgar Davids, the popular Dutch footballer who was tough, tireless and technically tremendous couldn’t escape the nandrolone hype back in the early 2000s.

Davids tested positive for the anabolic steroid nandrolone in 2001. At the time he was playing for Juventus, and he faced a two-year ban. But ultimately got away with only four months on the sidelines. He later played for Barcelona, Inter Milan, Tottenham, Ajax, Crystal Palace and Barnet, before retiring.

 Edgar Davids

3. Jaap Stam

Back in the late 1990s and early 200s, Jaap Stam was widely regarded as one of the best defenders who was strong, quick and technically very good.

He won trophies at PSV, Manchester United, Lazio, AC Milan and Ajax, as well as playing 67 times for the Netherlands. However, back in 2001, he failed a drug test and was given a five-month ban. Stam tested positive for steroid nandrolone and after some appeals, his ban was reduced to just one month. He went on to have a great career nevertheless.

Jaap Stam

4. Garry O’Connor:

Former Hibernian and Scotland striker Garry O’Connor tested positive for cocaine back in 2009. A talented yet not prolific striker, his career came tumbling down in 2009 after he failed a drug test whilst playing at Premier League side Birmingham City.

He later revealed the severity of his situation, as he blew his entire £4 million career earnings and now lives in a council house. Now 32 and playing for minnows Selkirk FC in the fifth tier of Scottish football, he seems to still be struggling with addiction. He was handed 200 hours community service when found in possession of cocaine in 2014 and crashed his Mercedes in 2015.

5. Pep Guardiola:

Now renowned as one of Europe’s best managers from his time at Barcelona, Bayern Munich and now Manchester City, Guardiola was also a fine player. But seems he was no exception, back in 2001 when he was playing for Roma, Pep tested positive for nandrolone, receiving a four month ban. He appealed the decision, and even though he was cleared of all the allegations, he couldn’t escpae the ban.

Pep Guardiola

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6. Jake Livermore:

The most recent case, is that of Hull City midfielder Jake Livermore tested positive for cocaine and faced a two-year ban; a year after his son died at birth. The midfielder spoke to Sportsmail about his emotional turmoil and admits to having been 'not right in the head' and turning to drugs in an effort to mask the pain of his tragic personal loss.

Lake Livermore

7. Kolo Toure:

Kolo Toure played at Arsenal, Manchester City,Liverpool and now a defender at Scottish Premiership club Celtic as a defender.  While not a drug junkie per se, Kolo Toure did use some pills to lose weight.

In 2011, the Ivorian center-back was banned for six months after failing a drug test. Unlike some of the others on this list, Toure’s case was far from cut and dry. Toure was concnvinced that he was fat, and although that was just his perception, he proceeded to take water tablets recommneded by a friend of his wife Mahoo. At the time he was playing for Manchester City, and his six-month ban affected his career.

 Kolo Toure