McManaman lashes out at Liverpool defender Sakho after failed drugs test
Liverpool great Steve McManaman has launched a stinging attack on Mamadou Sakho, suggesting the Reds defender has “let himself and his club down” after his failed drugs test.
UEFA have started disciplinary proceedings against Sakho after traces of a banned fat burning substance were found in his system following last month’s Europa League clash against Manchester United, with a lengthy ban inevitable for the French international after he opted not to contest his UEFA drugs charge.
In an interview with Yahoo Sports, McManaman expressed the views of many of the club’s supporters as he hit out at Sakho’s unprofessionalism.
“The guy has let himself and his club down,” stated McManaman.
“It’s ridiculous that a top professional would take anything without checking with every doctor that he is safe to do so. There can be no excuses. There are enough doctors associated with Liverpool who would have advised him on this, but has he gone and taken a supplement without asking?
“You are told by everyone associated with a club not to take anything without checking it a thousand times, yet he seems to have taken some tablets that have had a banned substance in them. It is amazing.
“I wouldn’t take a Lemsip without asking first whether I am allowed to do it and yet here we are talking about a player who was just starting to develop something of a cult hero status at Liverpool and he has blown it all with his stupidity.
“He has played a key role in getting Liverpool through to the Europa League semi-finals and will now miss the end of the season. He will also miss the Euro 2016 finals in his own country, which will never come around again for him.
“At a time of the season when you want to be involved, when the trophies are being handed out, Sakho finds himself watching from the sidelines and he only has himself to blame.
“The fact that he has not contested the charge confirms he is guilty of taking whatever substance they have found and he will live to regret that decision for years to come. It’s madness, it really is.”
McManaman also suggested the Sakho case is not evidence that football has an underlying drugs problem, as he insisted he never saw any evidence of doping in his career with Liverpool and Real Madrid.
“Maybe I am naive, but I don’t think football has a drugs problem,” he added. ”In all my time in the game, I was never aware of anyone taking drugs or even talking about it.
“I’m not sure there is a drug that can make you play like Lionel Messi, or dribble around five players and score a great goal. So for me, drugs don’t really work in football.
“We are living in an era of the game where every training ground is immaculate. Players have everything laid on for them and all they are requested to do is get fit and perform at their best when the time comes.
“I don’t think anyone in the game would turn to drugs to try and make them better as they have nothing to do all day other than to train and practice their skills. I’d like to think they all do it within the rules of the game. Hopefully I’m right about that.”