Deco fails drug test

Deco has failed a doping test in Brazil.

The 35-year-old Fluminense player was tested after the club’s match with Boavista last month and his sample was found to contain traces of furosemide, a diuretic which is banned as it can be used to mask other substances.

Fluminense issued a short statement on their website to acknowledge the results, but offering no comment until the players ‘B’ sample is revealed on Friday.

Deco protested his innocence, claiming that the positive result had probably been caused by contamination of a vitamin supplement he has used for several years. Well, he would say that, wouldn’t he.

Felleger Ahaz, a spokesman for the player, said in O Globo: “The first concern for Deco is defending his image and not with any punishment or suspension.

“He has for a long time taken a vitamin supplement and certainly there has been some contamination.”

Whether this marks the end of a long and illustrious career, remains to be seen. If he’s lucky and the judge is in a good mood, he might enjoy a similar fate to Spain’s convicted doping doctor, Eufemiano Fuentes, and receive a slap on the wrists and reminder to be more careful in future.

Operation cover-up?

On the subject of Dr. Fuentes, Spain’s anti-doping agency (AEA) plans to contest a court’s surprising decision that blood bags gathered in the cycling dope case should be destroyed.

“We do not consider this the end of the process,” said AEA boss Ana Munoz.

“We will now use all resources at our disposal to investigate further,” she added on BBC Radio 5 live.

Anti-doping authorities and international sports bodies want to analyse the bags to see whether they implicate athletes in sports other than cycling, but Judge Julia Patricia Santamaria denied them access and ordered that the bags be destroyed.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) said the decision was “disappointing”.

Dick Pound, the former head of Wada, agreed: “It’s been a disappointing experience from start to finish, from the original suppression of the evidence to an ongoing resistance that continues to this day.

“It’s embarrassing for Spain. Everybody knows we will be able to uncover quite a bit more doping if the examples are made available.”

Of particular interest to the football community is an quote allegedly made by Fuentes in December 2010.

Newspaper El Mundo quotes him as telling other detainees in a Madrid cell: “If I talk, Spain would be stripped of the 2008 Euro championship and 2010 World Cup.”

Sour grapes

Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho criticised referee Howard Webb after his side were denied a place in the Champions League final by Borussia Dortmund.

With Madrid winning 2-0 on the night, but losing the tie 4-3 on aggregate, Mourinho was left lamenting Webb’s decision not to dismiss Dortmund’s Mats Hummels for handball in the second half and accused the English referee of not doing so to allow the defender to play in next month’s final.

“It’s incredible and I continue to say the same that he is a fantastic referee,” Mourinho told Spanish television.

“But it’s incredible that he didn’t give Hummels a red card,” added the Portuguese.

“I have spoken to him (Webb) already and he didn’t give Mats Hummels a red card so that Mats Hummels can play in the final.

“There were 18 minutes left in the match. I come to the conclusion that in the end Webb is as good a referee as he is a person, with a big heart.

“Because he let a player off a red card to the detriment of the other team.”

Here’s the incident that caused Mourinho so much anguish.

Football graveyard

Fans of the Serbian third division club Macva Sabac have placed a grave with a cross in the centre of the pitch as a threat to the players.

The effigy was left with the message, “D2 or this,” a clear reference to the players who appear to have two options: be promoted to the second division or face death.

If anything was designed to put the players off their game, then the planting of a grave in the middle of the pitch might be it.

The grave was buried about 15 inches into the field, and was discovered on Monday.

“During the year we were very close to reaching D2 (second division), only we were lacking just a few points,” said Zvone Jovanovic, general secretary for the club.

“We can’t believe that someone had the idea. I think that this could not be one of our fans.

You can see the somewhat macabre addition to the pitch here.

Goal of the day

Preceded by a comical dispute over the precise placement of the ball, Herminio Miranda curls one round the wall in Olimpia’s 2-1 home defeat to Tigre.

Save of the day

Borussia Dortmund were hanging on during the closing stages of their Champions League, but their nerves would have been eased had İlkay Gündoğan’s close range effort not been denied by a remarkable save by Real Madrid goalkeeper Diego Lopez.

Quote of the day

“I’ve never been to Wembley before. i have watched Wimbledon many times though. It will be one of the greatest moments in our lives but we don’t want to be tourists.”

Jurgen Klopp looks ahead to his trip to London.

End of the road

Real Madrid’s exit at the semi final stage of the Champions League marks the moment when Jose Mourinho, erstwhile ‘Special One’, mutated into the Lame Duck coach.

With the Portuguese hired to bring the club the decima (10th European Cup) they so desperately crave, a third consecutive elimination at this stage, almost certainly heralds the departure of Mourinho. True, there is a Spanish Cup to be won at the end of the season, but the speculation until then will not be about Real next season, but about Real’s next manager.

Mourinho certainly seemed to speak with an air of resignation when discussing what his future plans might be.

“I want to think [about my future] at the end of the season,” Mourinho said. “Obviously I like to be where people love me without reservations, where I have support from everyone. But what matters is Madrid. They are much more important than me.”

“I have not made a decision yet because I have a contract. So that is why I want to play the [Copa del Rey] final, finish the season, finish second [in the league] and at the end of the season I will talk to Florentino Pérez, my president and my friend, and we will decide what is best.”

“I know that in England I am loved by the fans and by the media, which treats me in a fair way – criticising me when they have to but giving me credit when I deserve it. I know I am loved by some clubs, especially one, and in Spain the situation is a bit different because some people hate me. And many of you are in this room.”

“It is difficult to make a decision because I like the club, I like the president and we made a fantastic team that is ready to [achieve] big things. So it is hard but I need to be honest and fair and at the end of the season we will speak.”

Press pack

The Spanish press certainly wasted little time in revealing their hand when it came to Mourinho’s post-match press conference.

El País, gave little attention to the action in the Bernabéu and instead took Mourinho to task over his self-indulgent reaction to defeat, describing him as the master of spinning failure into “opportunity for personal aggrandisement, self-promotion and the construction of alternative stories”.

“Whether Mourinho understands it or not, the fans are disappointed because semi-finals are not enough. That’s why it is a special club. No one is more special than Madrid. A tenth will always be more important than a third.”

Marca described up the impact of the press conference: “The elimination of Real Madrid at the hands of Borussia went into the background. The news was Mourinho wanting to leave.”

AS’s cover juxtaposed Iker Casillas and Sergio Ramos embracing, tears in the defender’s eyes, above a small picture of Mourinho and the headline: “Mourinho and his navel.”

“I saw Ramos crying, hugging Casillas and that’s when I understood that Madrid is eternal,” said the newspaper’s Tomás Roncero. “That’s why it hurt me that Mourinho, on the night when we suffered a terrible dagger in the heart, announced that he might go. Then why did he renew his contract until 2016? He complains about a lack of love. In three years he has never understood the greatness of this club.”

The man with he child in his eyes

Liverpool striker Luis Suarez has been accused of having the mentality of a child by former boss Henk Veldmate, the man who brought him to Europe.

Veldmate signed the then 19-year-old for Dutch outfit Groningen in 2006 before his subsequent moves to Ajax and Liverpool. Veldmate  says Suarez has always adopted the mentality of a child on the pitch and attributes it to his South American upbringing.

“He’s a grown up person but also, in the way he likes playing football, he sometimes has the mentality of a child,” he told BBC Radio 5 Live.

“That’s the way he enjoys playing. If you compare the mentality and attitude to Dutch players, then in South America it’s dead or alive.

“To do the best for your family – it’s a way of life and a way of surviving.”

Despite those issues, Veldmate says he knew almost immediately that he wanted to sign Suarez from Uruguayan side Nacional.

“He had everything you see today – he scored a goal and did some fantastic dribbles,” Veldmate explained. “Sometimes you think he is lucky with his dribbles – he starts something and you think it is impossible but in the end it works and he creates a chance and scores a goal.

“He dived to win a penalty, so all the things we see in Luis’ potential we saw in that 15 minutes and most importantly we saw he was a winner.”

Former Groningen team-mate Hugo Alves said that will to win was obvious from the moment he arrived at the club.

“He is the type of player that once inside the box he is capable of anything to score a goal, to get the ball from an opponent,” he said.

“He does anything to win. He is a winner. And because of his way of thinking, if he is in the heat of the moment, full of emotion, he makes these kind of mistakes.

“In the middle of an emotional game, he can vent it in the wrong way.

“Obviously this kind of thing (biting) shouldn’t happen, cannot happen. It’s happened to him.”

These things don’t ‘happen’; he makes them happen.