Italian Football Filled With Doping, Says Matías Almeyda

The former Argentina international, Matías Almeyda, has made a series of startling accusations in his autobiography.

In his book Almeyda: Life and Soul, the former Parma midfielder claimed that he was given what he now believes were drugs while at the Serie A club between 2000 and 2002. Born on 21 December 1973, the retired Argentine footballer is presently the manager of Club Atlético River Plate. He was voted the competition’s best player in 1998–99 and played alongside Diego Maradona and participated in the Indoor Football World Cup in Spain. He played in Serie A of Italy and represented S.S. Lazio, Parma F.C., and F.C. Internazionale Milano.

Almeyda claimed the game of football in Italy is rotten to its core with corruption. The player who played for Lazio, Parma, Brescia and Inter Milan during an eight-year stay in the country insisted that football in Italy is plagued by corruption, doping, and match fixing. He went on to suggest that some clubs have fostered worryingly close ties to organised crime syndicates that fuel a climate of fear among the players.

Almeyda also remarked that he was hooked up to an intravenous drip before matches during his time at Parma and was convinced that the drips were used to give the players performance enhancing drugs that have done serious health damage in the long term, a story that was reinforced by television footage of Fabio Cannavaro taking on intravenous fluids the night before a match. He said it was said that the IV [intravenous] drip before games was a mixture of vitamins but before entering the field he was able to jump up as high as the ceiling.

The former Argentina international said he believes that a disagreement between him and Parma’s former president and owner, Stefano Tanzi, led to his house being broken into as a form of intimidation and added that former Aston Villa striker Savo Milosevic was another person who had a similar break after an argument with Tanzi. Though he denied being associated with any match fixing, Almeyda said he suspects several of his team-mates did during a match between Parma and Roma in 2001.

Almeyda helped the Olympic side win silver at the Summer Olympics in Atlanta and won a total of 35 caps for the Argentine national football team.

Almeyda was in news a year back when he made David Trezeguet, the former France international, the captain of River Plate and the honor of leading Los Millonarios in this season’s Primera Division campaign. Almeyda praised the 34-year-old former Juventus striker and said Trezeguet’s humility, comradeship, and commitment make him a good captain material. On 16 January 2009, Almeyda signed with modest Club Atlético Fénix, in the fourth division and finally -joined his main club River Plate, teaming up with former club teammates Marcelo Gallardo and Ariel Ortega on 19 August 2009. In June 2011, River Plate was relegated to the second level for the first time in its history and Matías Almeyda retired from football and was appointed the side’s manager the following month.

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