Football

Flamengo's Gabriel Barbosa Faces 2-Year Suspension Amid Doping Fraud Allegations

Anti-doping officers who came to test Flamengo players on April 8, 2023 were largely ignored by Gabriel Barbosa, who took his test hours after his teammates. His lawyers argued his blood test at the time proved the Brazilian striker was clean

AP
Brazilian striker Gabriel Barbosa has pleaded innocent after being handed a two-year suspension for doping fraud. Photo: AP
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Brazilian striker Gabriel Barbosa was suspended for two years following a doping fraud investigation. The country's Anti-Doping Sports Court of Justice voted 5-4 to punish Barbosa to April 2025. (More Football News)

He brought attention to himself by his erratic behavior during a surprise test on April 8, 2023, one day before Flamengo played the Rio de Janeiro state championship. Anti-doping officers who came to test players at the club training ground were largely ignored by Barbosa, who took his test hours after his teammates.

Barbosa's lawyers argued his blood test at the time, which is considered a more effective test, proved he was clean, and added his unfriendly behavior toward the officers did not mean he tricked the test.

“Despite my respect for the court, I stress that I never tried to obstruct or fraud any test. I trust that I will be found not guilty in my appeal,” Barbosa said on his social media channels.

“Since the beginning of my career as a footballer I always followed the rules of the game and I never used prohibited substances. I have been a subject of dozens of tests, they all came negative, which shows my commitment with my club and with Brazilian fans.”

Flamengo said “there was no fraud, not even an attempted fraud."

“The club received the decision with surprise and will help the athlete in his representation at the Court for Arbitration of Sport,” it added in a statement.

Nicknamed Gabigol, the 27-year-old Barbosa is in the final year of his contract with Flamengo, which has given him national acclaim after failed stints at Inter Milan and Benfica.The striker was part of Brazil's Olympic gold medal squad at the Rio Olympics in 2016.

He left that year for Europe but returned to Santos in 2018, and became one of the most prolific scorers in Brazil. He moved to Flamengo in 2019 and helped it win two Copa Libertadores and two Brazilian leagues. But he has been benched since former Brazil coach Tite took over at Flamengo last October.

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