Following on from the match fixing scandal in Serie A and the ‘Bung’ allegations that hang over the Premiership, in a bid not to be outdone, Spanish football could be on the verge of being embroiled in a scandal of its very own. An Italian agent, who has been involved in numerous transfer deals involving Spanish clubs, has suggested that Valencia’s recent successes were linked to drug taking by many of their star players.
The agent, Ernesto Bronzetti, was talking on Italian radio about the doping scandal that has rocked Spanish cycling and insinuated that the Doctor at the centre of the controversy, Eufemiano Fuentes, was involved in ‘treating’ a number of Valencia’s star players. The agent claims that the names of footballers have not been leaked because many of the witnesses involved are afraid for their lives after receiving death threats.
Bronzetti said “Sadly, Eufemiano Fuentes has given the full names of cyclists, but not those of footballers because of threats. I’m just talking about what has been said in Spain”
In a conversation in which the agent was clearly conscious of the legal, and possibly more pernicious, implications, it was suggested that the group of players who led Valencia to two successive Champions league finals in 2000/1 were perhaps benefiting from Dr Fuentes’ prescriptions. To support his claims, the agent points to the fact that the ‘stars’ of that Valencia side who subsequently left the club for very large transfer fees (43million euros in the case of Mendieta) underperformed in a different environment.
Citing Mendieta as an example, the Agent said “We’re dealing with a story about doping that no body knows about. Gaizka Mendieta, and I’m saying this so that everybody understands, was voted the best midfielder in Europe when Valencia enjoyed a few famous years at the very top; that cannot be denied”
“When Sergio Cragnotti (Owner and President of Lazio), in good faith, put me in charge of the transfer, something that others had failed in, I told him that Mendieta was great player, but that he would cost an awful lot of money. Think about how much we paid for him. Sadly, this famous group of players at Valencia, and I could give you names like Gerard, Farinos, Mendieta, Kily Gonzalez and others – they’ve gone out of circulation. Wherever they have gone they have been a failure. We also know that in Spain they have spent the last few months the famous case of Doctor Fuentes has been exposed”
It must be noted that the agent failed to include any ‘concrete’ evidence in his allegations and that throughout the interview preferred insinuation to fact. He concluded by saying:
“Remember the Basso case (the Italian Cyclist thrown out of the Tour de France) etc. Well, the Doctor, speaking on Spanish radio, indicated that a lot of footballers were taking substances as well, and you have to take into account that he lived in Valencia. He said that he could not give out any names because he had received death threats: at least that is what he said”