Brazil’s Barbosa banned for anti-doping fraud attempt

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Flamengo striker Gabriel Barbosa reacts

Flamengo and Brazil striker Gabriel Barbosa has been suspended for two years for attempted anti-doping fraud.

Local media have reported that the 27-year-old, known as ‘Gabigol’, made it difficult to carry out an anti-doping test the day before a game.

Barbosa, who has played 18 times for his country, denies the allegations.

“I have never attempted to obstruct or defraud any test, and I trust that I will be cleared by the higher court,” he said in a post on X.

“Since the beginning of my career as a footballer, I have always followed the rules of the game and never used banned substances. I have been subjected to dozens of tests, all of which have always been negative.

“I am disappointed with the outcome of the judgement, but I will continue co-operating with the sporting authorities and trust that my innocence will be proven and re-established by the higher court.”

Barbosa, who was part of Brazil’s gold medal-winning squad at the 2016 Rio Olympics, can appeal the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

The Brazilian Doping Control Authority said: “The aforementioned athlete was judged by the Anti-Doping Sports Court of Justice and, by a majority vote, it was decided that a violation of the anti-doping rule of attempted fraud had occurred.”

The two-year ban starts from the date of violation, which occurred on 8 April 2023.

The Brazilian Serie A season starts on 14 April and runs until 8 December meaning Barbosa will miss the full season, but should be available for the start of the 2025 campaign.

Flamengo said they were surprised by the verdict and would help the player with an appeal.

“(The club) will assist the athlete in presenting an appeal to CAS, since it understands that there was no fraud, not even an attempt, to justify the punishment applied,” they said in a statement.

Barbosa signed for Flamengo on a permanent deal in 2020 after a successful loan spell from Inter Milan, where he only played nine times in four years.

The forward scored the winning goal in the 2022 Copa Libertadores final – South America’s version of the Champions League – in a 1-0 win over fellow Brazilian side Athletico Paranaense.

Barbosa made his Brazil debut in a 2-0 friendly win over Panama in May 2016 and has scored five international goals.

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