Oscar Pereiro, winner of the 2006 Tour de France, claims to know of well-known footballers who have doped that are “idolized” by the general public.
The Spaniard was awarded the yellow jersey retrospectively after the original winner, Floyd Landis, was subsequently disqualified for failing a drugs test. The Spanish cyclist then went on to join Segunda Division B football team Coruxo after his retirement from cycling in 2010.
“There was a player who had transfusions to improve their performance and is idolized today,” the 35-year-old told Cadena Cope. “There was a player who used a growth hormone and is idolized today.”
It would appear to be worth mentioning at this point that as a child, Lionel Messi was diagnosed with growth hormone deficiency, an anomaly which could have prevented him from growing taller than 4 feet 7 inches. At the time, Argentinian club River Plate was not willing to pay for the treatment of the promising player. Lionel Messi’s family and Barcelona eventually reached an agreement and the young Lionel, received the treatment he needed.
“If we give the same treatment to cyclists and to those in other sports, one is doped up to their eyeballs and the other is someone who works for their club,” added Pereiro.
“It’s not about defending cycling and throwing s**t at other sports, but I wish you [the media] would give the same treatment to other sports when you recognize certain things.
“Every age is regulated by certain rules. At the time, (Lance) Armstrong raced under UCI [Union Cycliste Internationale] rules.
“The day I’m paid 1 million euros, like many have been paid, I’ll say yes or no [about whether I've doped or not].”
Modest to a fault
Louis van Gaal believes Bayern Munich have made the right choice in appointing Pep Guardiola as their new coach, largely because the new incumbent shares the same footballing philosophy as the former Bayern man.
The Bundesliga leaders announced last week that Guardiola has signed a three-year deal with Bayern and will take Jupp Heynckes’ place at the end of this season.
But, listening to Van Gaal, the appointment is just the logical continuation of an ideology that began with him. In fact, not only did the Dutchman teach Guardiola everything he knows, he taught Bayern everything they know.
“Guardiola’s appointment was not a surprise for me as Bayern always go for the best coaches out there. And Pep follows the Van Gaal-philosophy. I think it’s a fantastic choice,” the Netherlands boss told NOS.
“I’m the one who first employed the formation Bayern Munich are using these days during my time at the club. [Jupp] Heynckes then continued on the same path and Pep is the right man to succeed him. Pep thinks just like Jupp and I.
“Guardiola is a really intelligent guy. He might struggle a bit with the German language, but they all understand English as well.”
Van Gaal was in charge of Bayern from 2009 until he was sacked in 2011.
Changing world order?
The World Youth Cup which kicks off in Turkey in a few months will be the first time that a global FIFA competition will not feature either Brazil or Argentina.
The two South American countries have not made it through from South America’s Under-20 Championships. Brazil, lest we forget are the reigning world champions at this level, while Argentina won the world title at this level five times between 1995 and 2007.
If you want to find out about the players who did impress in the qualifiers, look no further than World Soccer’s Tim Vickery who, in a round-up for the BBC, has identified some of the young players to look out for in the coming years.
Uruguay began a 10-day football ban on Friday after violence marred Wednesday’s game between Penarol and Nacional at the Centenario.
The ban was announced by Football Association president Sebastian Bauza after he met Uruguay’s acting interior minister Jorge Vazquez.
Before the match, one young male fan was shot and hospitalised during clashes between supporters.
At the final whistle, Nacional players protested against the referee and police came onto the pitch to shield the official.
During the melee Nacional goalkeeper, Jorge Bava, was caught on camera hitting a policemen and Judge Alejandro Guido, who happened to be watching the match on television, immediately phoned the police station in the stadium to order the player’s arrest.
Bava spent a night in the cells before being released Thursday but may be charged with assault and is not allowed to leave the country without permission.
Goal of the day
Neat one-two before Atletico Madrid’s Koke curls in a beauty from the edge of the area against Levante.
Howler of the day
Comical blunder by Napoli Napoli keeper Morgan De Sanctis as he misjudges the flight of the ball from Facundo Roncaglia’s hopeful punt.
In the age of match fixing and Cacliocomesse this kind of mistake could give anyone a bad name.
Quote of the day
“Paul is a bit like a Dali-painting. Pieces of art are very rare and are worth a lot because they are appreciated by a lot of people. Pogba is just like that. Juventus fans are concerned that they might lose him to some rich sheik-owned club? That’s an understandable concern. I always look after the interests of my players.”
Mini Raiola, the agent of Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba compares his client to a Salvador Dali painting. It’s his way of saying that anyone has a price.
Celebration of the day
Novel goal celebration from DR Congo keeper Muteba Kidiaba after his side’s equaliser against Ghana.
On his way
Dutch midfielder Wesley Sneijder said he was “very happy” to put his protracted departure from Inter behind him as he completed his move to Galatasaray on Monday.
Galatasaray were one of several clubs interested in the playmaker, but crucially, the only one to make a concrete offer for a player, who a couple of years ago was one of Europe’s most coveted.
“I’m very happy about the way things worked out, the club (Inter) and I both got what we wanted,” Sneijder said before boarding a private jet to Turkey at Milan’s Linate airport.
Inter president Massimo Moratti said he was also happy to put the transfer saga behind him.
“Yes, without a doubt,” Moratti told inter.it.
“Galatasaray did everything properly, their president, vice president, they’re very good people. I think the player is happy too, otherwise he wouldn’t have gone there.”
Lazio’s Luciano Zauri has been described as a hero after he dived into a uncovered well to save the granddaughter of former Polish striker Zibi Boniek.
Giulia, who is the seven-year-old child of Boniek’s daughter Karolina, fell through a wooden floor and into a disused well in the basement of the restaurant.
Witnesses said that it was Zauri’s slim figure that enabled him to jump through the hole and rescue Giulia, who was in danger of drowning as she cannot swim.
Boniek, who was in Poland on business said: “Luckily it all went well. I heard how brave Zauri was – after I spoke with my family and made sure Giulia was OK I immediately called him and thanked him for saving her life and how I would be grateful forever.”