NewslettersSign inAPP
spainSPAINargentinaARGENTINAchileCHILEcolombiaCOLOMBIAusaUSAmexicoMEXICOperuPERUlatin usaLATIN USAamericaAMERICA

Real Madrid

Sergio Ramos: Football Leaks claims doping test irregularities

According to Mediapart, the Real Madrid captain returned a positive test after the 2017 Champions League final and circumvented rules after a Liga game.

Ramos, en la final de Cardiff.

According to the latest batch of Football Leaks documents, Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos allegedly returned two abnormal anti-doping samples after the Champions League final in 2017 and a Liga match against Málaga in 2018.

Mediapart reported on November 2 that the most recent tranche of Football Leaks revelations included doping allegations against a household name footballer, and that player has now been revealed as Spain captain Ramos.

Ramos allegedly tested positive after Cardiff final

Full screen

The documents claim that Ramos returned a positive sample after the Champions League final in Cardiff, when Madrid neat Juventus 4-1. According to Mediapart, Uefa decided not to pursue the case as they found the explanation given by Ramos and the Real Madrid medical department satisfactory.

In the second instance, as alleged by Football Leaks, Ramos was found to have been in breach of anti-doping regulations after a LaLiga match against Málaga in April 2018.

The information released by Football Leaks and published by Mediapart and Der Spiegel stated that On Sunday June 4, 2017, the day after Madrid had won the Champions League in Cardiff, a urine sample arrived at an anti-doping laboratory in Seibersdorf, Austria, with the code number 3324822 and its place of origin listed as Wales. Contained within were 110ml collected from a Real Madrid player immediately after the final in Cardiff.

A month later, the deputy head of the lab in Seibersdorf sent the results to Uefa: the sample contained traces of dexamethasone, a cortisone preparation that has an anti-inflammatory effect in addition to relieving pain and that is included on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) list of prohibited substances. As well as its medical effects, dexamethasone can also increase concentration and cognition, Der Spiegel reported.

The sample, it was duly concluded, matched the codes and documents assigned at the time of collection and were provided by Ramos.

Real Madrid doctor cited "human error" when sampling Ramos

A member of Uefa’s anti-doping authorities subsequently contacted Ramos and Real Madrid for an explanation. The player responded that he had received treatment for pain in his left knee and shoulder a day before the game and that a medical report forwarded by Real Madrid “will fully clarify the situation.”

The problem from Ramos’ point of view was that the medical report was incomplete. Signed by Real Madrid’s team doctor, it noted that Ramos had received 1.2 milliletres of Celestone Chronodose in his knee and shoulder, a drug similar to dexamethasone and also on WADA’s list of banned substances. Both substances are permitted prior to games, but under WADA regulations must be listed on a form accompanying any doping sample as having being administered within the previous seven days. On the paperwork accompanying sample 3324822, there was no mention of dexamethasone.

Real’s doctor, named in the documents only as Dr. A., said the clerical error has been made due to the presence of former King Juan Carlos I and the Spanish prime minister at the time, Mariano Rajoy, who had paid Real’s players a visit after the game while Ramos was providing his sample.

The mistake, wrote Dr. A., “was a human error” and that it was never his intention to “infringe any anti-doping regulation.”

Uefa, satisfied with the explanation and after consulting an expert who concluded that the amount of dexamethasone present in Ramos’ sample was consistent with the administration of the two 1.2ml injections of Celestone Chronodose, decided not to pursue the matter any further.

Ramos "refused instructions" after Málaga game 

Isco during the game in La Rosaleda on April 15, 2018.
Full screen
Isco during the game in La Rosaleda on April 15, 2018.Javier SorianoAFP

The second instance cited by Football Leaks concerns a Liga match in April 2018 against Málaga. According to a report submitted by the head of the Doping Control Unit of the Spanish anti-doping agency, Ramos refused instructions after the 2-1 win in La Rosaleda and insisted on showering before providing a sample as requested.

Despite the protestations of the anti-doping official, both Ramos and the Real Madrid team doctor, presumably Dr. A. although the Der Speigel report does not specify his name, complained and Ramos proceeded to shower in front of the official, which contravenes anti-doping regulations that are designed to prevent a player from manipulating the results of a urine sample.

However, the Spanish anti-doping agency eventually concluded that Ramos’ actions, which can carry a punishment of up to a four-year ban under Spanish anti-doping laws, “did not establish any fact that would allow concluding that there was an act constituting an Anti-Doping violation.”


To be able to comment you must be registered and logged in. Forgot password?