Unlike some other sports – cycling, MMA and athletics to name three – football doesn’t really have a drug problem. It’s most likely down to the fact that as a team sport, PEDs wouldn’t have too much effect unless a whole team were using, and as we’ve seen with Russia’s Euro 2016 campaign – allegedly – even when they are used, they don’t necessarily make a difference.
That isn’t to say that a handful of players haven’t had a problem with drugs – including the most commonly abused drug of them all, alcohol. While they haven’t really been of the PED type, more of the recreational type, some players have completely damaged or outright ruined their careers with their use. Here are five of the most prevalent.
#5 Mark Bosnich
Despite some heavily controversial moments – including a weird foul on Jurgen Klinsmann that more closely resembled a flying knee straight out of the UFC, and an incident that saw him land in hot water for taunting Tottenham fans with a Nazi salute – Australian goalkeeper Bosnich was recognised during the mid 1990s as one of the best goalies in the Premier League. Making a name for himself at Aston Villa as a penalty-saving expert, Bosnich helped the side win the League Cup in both 1993/94 and 1995/96.
A move to Manchester United in the summer of 1999 followed, and Bosnich was supposed to be the successor to the great Peter Schmeichel. Despite a good first season – Bosnich played the majority of United’s games in 1999/00 as they romped to the Premier League title – things soon went sour as the Aussie piled on weight and was dropped in favour of new signing Fabien Barthez.
Eventually, Bosnich moved on a free transfer to Chelsea in January 2001, and really he should still have been at his prime given he was just 29, still young for a keeper.
Problems with his fitness meant he was out until 2001/02, though, and then it happened – Bosnich tested positive for cocaine and was banned for nine months and fired by Chelsea. From there, the Australian spiralled out of control and became a recluse, completely addicted to cocaine to the point where he was spending around £5k a week on the drug.
Bosnich spent five years in the grip of cocaine and it basically ended his playing career, as he only played a further twelve professional games before retiring. In the end, it was a complete waste of a pretty great talent.