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Doping in Soccer/Football

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Oct 21, 2012
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What strikes me as odd about Barcelona is the immense consistency of Xavi and Messi. They've rarely been injured/fatigued since Guardiola took over at the club and they have for almost those entire 5 years played at their absolute peak.

Compare that to most other teams/players, who do go bad spells every now and then, or at least don't play at their absolute best consistently for 5 consecutive seasons. Torres, for example started that 5 year period brilliantly and then tailed away to become useless, as a result of injury and being overused by Liverpool. The only time I can think of Messi performing below expectations since 2007 would have been around the late April/May period earlier this year, when he looked really jaded. And I guess Xavi underperformed at Euro 2012.

If they are doping though I don't think that it has really made that much of a difference. They would still be an excellent team regardless of access to PEDs.
 
While all the dope in the world won't make your skills better, their ability to play the high pressing game and the ability to have the sensory perception to spot the right gaps and so on when fatigued will be affected - greatly - by PED use. It's no good being amazing at pass-and-move football for 80 minutes if the other team soak up the pressure then beat you in the last 10 minutes when you're so tired you can't run.

And also, you point out Xavi and Messi have played consistently excellently (except for Messi in international games, at least until recently) for five seasons. In the days of two games a week 40 weeks a year, you know what would help them be able to keep playing well without showing obvious signs of fatigue? PEDs.

Barcelona are a team of top quality individuals with some incredible skills. But they HAVE benefited from their doping and it HAS made a difference. Maybe not domestically, where the awful situation regarding TV rights and money distribution between clubs ensures that you have a two-team hegemony that almost cannot change, but certainly when it comes to the Champions' League, they have found themselves advantages by their doping up.

Also, Messi and his HGH - without dope, that kid could still have all the skills in the world, but he'd just be pushed off the ball if he hadn't been on that course of HGH, because he weighed next to nothing. Imagine Pepe going up against Domenico Pozzovivo.
 
Oct 21, 2012
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Pepe trying to ride up a HC climb would be a great sight :D.

Of course, access to PEDs makes a difference but I think if every team was clean we would still be in a position where Barcelona and Spain would be the best teams. Perhaps the gap between them and others wouldn't be quite so large, but that's not a given because I'm pretty sure most teams dope. Chelsea, for example, did so openly back in 2004/2005. Robben was injured, and the medical staff used 'blood spinning' (I'm not entirely sure what that is but it seems to be some form of blood transfusion) to get him to heal quicker. I can recall Pound condemning it but we got away with it because it wasn't on WADA's banned list.
 
Oct 21, 2012
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Also I've been seeing a lot of people in the Sky/Wiggins threads praising the Daily Mail for their investigative journalism in sports doping. This is a great piece from the Mail:

‘Of course I think Cech could play,’ Mourinho said. ‘I don’t listen to those reports that he’s out for a month or more. Dr Needles can get him healthy enough to play — and play well.’

For extra emphasis, maybe he should have made a pantomime show of covering his mouth, then slapping his wrist and saying: ‘Oops, silly me, now I’ve let the cat out of the bag.’ He might even regret not doing that because his cunning slur did not have the desired effect. Nobody picked up on such a delicately placed hint that Chelsea may have a medical professional injecting their players back to health. That will teach Mourinho to be subtle.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/article-1257933/Martin-Samuel-Jose-Mourinho--just-stop-needling-Chelsea-come-clean.html


Mourinho dropping 'Dr. Needles' and the aforementioned blood spinning seems to indicate that doping is pretty rife in the Premier League as well as Spain and Italy.
 
Alphabet said:
Also I've been seeing a lot of people in the Sky/Wiggins threads praising the Daily Mail for their investigative journalism in sports doping. This is a great piece from the Mail:




http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/article-1257933/Martin-Samuel-Jose-Mourinho--just-stop-needling-Chelsea-come-clean.html


Mourinho dropping 'Dr. Needles' and the aforementioned blood spinning seems to indicate that doping is pretty rife in the Premier League as well as Spain and Italy.
I doubt this proves it: needles refers to injections....pain killing injections are all too common to pro footballers, often to their long term detriment.
As for blood spinning, its possible, but the demands of 2 games a week for 35 weeks would make the withdrawal period very difficult. Some other blood boosting method more believable.
(I think treating a sportsman, who is injured and not able to compete, with something dodgy, is significantly different from routine use to boost performance. But this should be done openly, and notified to WADA to monitor)
 
Oct 16, 2010
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Libertine Seguros said:
While all the dope in the world won't make your skills better, their ability to play the high pressing game and the ability to have the sensory perception to spot the right gaps and so on when fatigued will be affected - greatly - by PED use. It's no good being amazing at pass-and-move football for 80 minutes if the other team soak up the pressure then beat you in the last 10 minutes when you're so tired you can't run.

And also, you point out Xavi and Messi have played consistently excellently (except for Messi in international games, at least until recently) for five seasons. In the days of two games a week 40 weeks a year, you know what would help them be able to keep playing well without showing obvious signs of fatigue? PEDs.

Barcelona are a team of top quality individuals with some incredible skills. But they HAVE benefited from their doping and it HAS made a difference. Maybe not domestically, where the awful situation regarding TV rights and money distribution between clubs ensures that you have a two-team hegemony that almost cannot change, but certainly when it comes to the Champions' League, they have found themselves advantages by their doping up.

Also, Messi and his HGH - without dope, that kid could still have all the skills in the world, but he'd just be pushed off the ball if he hadn't been on that course of HGH, because he weighed next to nothing. Imagine Pepe going up against Domenico Pozzovivo.
you forget to mention that PEDs allow you to train harder and longer, which obviously has a direct positive effect on your skills.
 
Oct 21, 2012
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Blood spinning definitely happened with Robben in 2005. He was offered the service by the club but reportedly declined. **** Pound made a statement in the media about it.
 
Oct 21, 2012
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sniper said:
you forget to mention that PEDs allow you to train harder and longer, which obviously has a direct positive effect on your skills.
That's true but I don't think you can attribute Messi's freakish dribbling ability or Xavi's passing skills to PEDs.
 
Oct 17, 2012
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Maybe there was a reason why Pereiro became a footballer after winning the 2006 Tour. Maybe he was tired of all the focus on doping
 
Aug 18, 2012
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Alphabet said:
Blood spinning definitely happened with Robben in 2005. He was offered the service by the club but reportedly declined. **** Pound made a statement in the media about it.
Interesting and big props to Robben if he declined it. Do you have a source?

It seems to be bubbling under the surface quite a lot but sooner or later the **** is going to hit the fan. Players don't have to worry about FIFA but they do about countries FDA and investigative journalists.

If they get blown open by these guys they'll get off a lot more harshly than David's or Stam.
 
Aug 18, 2012
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Alphabet said:
That's true but I don't think you can attribute Messi's freakish dribbling ability or Xavi's passing skills to PEDs.
Agreed, particularly on the bit about passing skills when you hear stories about how say Beckham stays behind after generic training for an hour a day to practise free kicks, boredom is the limiting factor, it's not like a cyclist able to recover faster and train harder.

That said I think it was Blatter who said that there is nothing on the banned substance list that helps a footballer which is ludicrous.
 
Mar 19, 2011
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Alphabet said:
That's true but I don't think you can attribute Messi's freakish dribbling ability or Xavi's passing skills to PEDs.
sniper believes that Spanish football success is all down to doping or better doping.

So I would assume that when Brasil were the best team in the world they were doping better than the rest and so were his country, Holland during the seventies, or maybe not because they lost two world cup finals and doping should allow you to win the finals too, and in style like Spain. :D

I have no doubt whatsoever that Spain and Barcelona are doping, but the rest are at it too.

That they are doping better? Well, I don't have the knowledge to state that or otherwise. The only thing I know is that Barcelona players and Spanish players are technically the best in the world at this moment in time. I also know that technique is a very important part of the game and in the case of Spain and Barcelona is what puts them apart from the rest.

They certainly do not cover more distance than other teams or do more high intensity runs or have the fastest players. What hey do best is keeping the ball by passing it more accurately than other teams. Perhaps there is where they are getting the better doping, substances that allow you to pass the ball with more precision. :D

Ah, and just fresh from UEFA press kits.

http://www.uefa.com/newsfiles/ucl/2013/2009533_ts.pdf

Barcelona average distance covered per game 107. 1 kms per game

Average distance covered by all teams in the CH L 113.6

Barcelona season high 108.8 kms
Season high of all teams 125 kms
 
Albatros said:
So I would assume that when Brasil were the best team in the world they were doping better than the rest and so were his country, Holland during the seventies, or maybe not because they lost two world cup finals and doping should allow you to win the finals too, and in style like Spain. :D
I have know idea whether any current teams are doping or not, but to suggest teams in the 70s were doping is ridiculous, have you seen the pace those games where played at compared to today, George Best even played with alcohol still flowing through his veins. Paul Gascoigne said something like he admired Bryan Robson's ability to drink 15 pints (Beer) and play the next day. Players then compared to now were generally unfit, (see Jan Molby for Liverpool)
 
Oct 21, 2012
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Briant_Gumble said:
Interesting and big props to Robben if he declined it. Do you have a source?

It seems to be bubbling under the surface quite a lot but sooner or later the **** is going to hit the fan. Players don't have to worry about FIFA but they do about countries FDA and investigative journalists.

If they get blown open by these guys they'll get off a lot more harshly than David's or Stam.

Here are some articles about it:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2005/apr/01/newsstory.sport9

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2005-04-02/dope-chiefs-warn-chelsea-over-blood-spinning/1544306

Edit: There are some conflicting stories in there. The Guardian says Robben didn't accept the offer, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (owned by the government, probably the most reliable source from the two) says he did.
 
Oct 16, 2010
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Albatros said:
sniper believes that Spanish football success is all down to doping or better doping.

So I would assume that when Brasil were the best team in the world they were doping better than the rest and so were his country, Holland during the seventies, or maybe not because they lost two world cup finals and doping should allow you to win the finals too, and in style like Spain. :D

I have no doubt whatsoever that Spain and Barcelona are doping, but the rest are at it too.

That they are doping better? Well, I don't have the knowledge to state that or otherwise. The only thing I know is that Barcelona players and Spanish players are technically the best in the world at this moment in time. I also know that technique is a very important part of the game and in the case of Spain and Barcelona is what puts them apart from the rest.

They certainly do not cover more distance than other teams or do more high intensity runs or have the fastest players. What hey do best is keeping the ball by passing it more accurately than other teams. Perhaps there is where they are getting the better doping, substances that allow you to pass the ball with more precision. :D

Ah, and just fresh from UEFA press kits.

http://www.uefa.com/newsfiles/ucl/2013/2009533_ts.pdf

Barcelona average distance covered per game 107. 1 kms per game

Average distance covered by all teams in the CH L 113.6

Barcelona season high 108.8 kms
Season high of all teams 125 kms
but you'd agree that there is a ****load of evidence suggesting that barca and spain are doping, whereas there is only indirect indications that other countries are doping on the same level.
it's like saying armstrong and evans both dope. we know both dope, but
there is evidence regarding armstrong, and only indirect indications regarding evans. and armstrong probably doped harder than evans ever will.
not a level playing field.

None of this is to say the Dutch didn't dope (they most definitely did), just that the evidence in the case of Spain is much more overwehlming.
The next question should then be: why is there so much evidence against Spain and much less evidence against most other countries?
Is it really far-fetched to assume that that somehow correlates with the AMOUNT of doping going on in spain?
After all, the more a country dopes, the more evidence of that activity is likely to surface, is it not?

you see, it's a 1+1=2 equation, really.
Stating that spain's success is down to doping is hardly a risky statement. it's self-evident.

p.s. Some important differences between spain (2000s/2010s) and holland (70s):
-The dutch successes in the 70s weren't accompanied by successes in tennis, basketbal and track & field, as it is in spain's case.
-Dutch teams weren't linked to docs of the likes of Del moral and Fuentes.
 
Oct 17, 2012
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Albatros said:
sniper believes that Spanish football success is all down to doping or better doping.

So I would assume that when Brasil were the best team in the world they were doping better than the rest and so were his country, Holland during the seventies, or maybe not because they lost two world cup finals and doping should allow you to win the finals too, and in style like Spain. :D

I have no doubt whatsoever that Spain and Barcelona are doping, but the rest are at it too.

That they are doping better? Well, I don't have the knowledge to state that or otherwise. The only thing I know is that Barcelona players and Spanish players are technically the best in the world at this moment in time. I also know that technique is a very important part of the game and in the case of Spain and Barcelona is what puts them apart from the rest.

They certainly do not cover more distance than other teams or do more high intensity runs or have the fastest players. What hey do best is keeping the ball by passing it more accurately than other teams. Perhaps there is where they are getting the better doping, substances that allow you to pass the ball with more precision. :D

Ah, and just fresh from UEFA press kits.

http://www.uefa.com/newsfiles/ucl/2013/2009533_ts.pdf

Barcelona average distance covered per game 107. 1 kms per game

Average distance covered by all teams in the CH L 113.6

Barcelona season high 108.8 kms
Season high of all teams 125 kms
Spain currently have a crop of highly talented skillful technical players, just like the Dutch in the 70s and Brazil over the last 50 years or so. The main difference in the teams is the fitness levels. Both Cruyff and Socrates were heavy smokers and never ran around very much, but they were both brilliant. What Xavi, Iniesta et al have is the skills of Cruyff and Socrates and the fitness and endurance of the best athletes. How much of this is due to PEDs, I don't know.
 
Oct 30, 2011
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Alphabet said:
That's true but I don't think you can attribute Messi's freakish dribbling ability or Xavi's passing skills to PEDs.
Not directly, no, but I would like to point you towards a few indirect factors that may complement their natural gifts.

Firstly, both Messi and Xavi play rather cerebral games - that is to say that much of what they do requires being able to think quickly and clearly in high-pressure situations. The amount of thinking involved in Xavi's game is far more than that of, say, an archetypal English central midfielder who has two main tasks; win the ball and play a long ball up to the big man. I don't think there is much doubt that tiredness reduces one's ability to make good decisions quickly - if PEDs reduce tiredness, especially towards the end of the game, then it is fair to say that they could be of benefit.

Secondly, when thinking about dope, it is important to consider not one where someone is, but how far behind they would be without the dope. I could have been on a course of steroids, EPO, HGH and have had a blood bag the night before, but pretty much any footballer (even without any dope they may or may not have) would still run rings around me. Just because Barcelona don't run as much doesn't mean they don't dope - it might simply indicate that they were less naturally talented athletes to begin with. Before about 2006, Xavi was considered a hugely talented individual but just not athletic enough to ever be a great. His stamina, strength and pace were considered simply insufficient; granted he still does not rely on them, but it seems he needed to improve them to even stand a chance.

This brings me onto my third point for consideration, a theory which I introduced earlier in the thread - the widening of the pool. There is a certain level of athleticism that is needed to play top-level football. Simply put, one needs to be able to run about 10km, mainly consisting of short bursts, in about 90 minutes and be strong enough not to simply fall over as soon as the Didier Drogbas and Yaya Tourés of this world bump into you. It is widely accepted that (due to the reducing rates of return) PEDs help less talented athletes more than they help more talented ones. As such, an effective doping program could vastly increase the number of potential players that have the physical capabilities to play the game at the top level. From there it does not take much though to recognise that with a lot more potential players to choose from, the chance of uncovering a player with exceptional technical and mental footballing skill (such as Xavi, Messi or Iniesta) increases.
 
Libertine Seguros said:
While all the dope in the world won't make your skills better. . .
To be honest (and this is a tiny point, because I basically agree with everything you said) I'd disagree with that dope won't make your skills better.

I think, from my own experience playing football, that my skills do increase the fitter I am - not because in technique terms I can do more, but because I can execute the same skill more reliably - my first touch becomes more reliable, so I lose the ball less; my passing is less likely to go astray, so I'm a more effective part of the team; I'm more likely to be in position to shoot, and to shoot accurately (because I'm arriving with the ball rather than chasing it); so I score more goals etc. I literally display better skills the fitter I get.

Based on this I would expect that if their fitness levels dropped marginally (for whatever reason, but stopping peds if they are taking them might lead to such a drop), then Xavi and Messi would become less skillfull players than at present. They'd lose the ball more, they'd misplace passes more, they'd be slightly off the pace in comparison to their present performance. So in that sense I do think dope can - and in fact almost certainly will - make any given player's skills better.
 
Mar 19, 2011
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sniper said:
but you'd agree that there is a ****load of evidence suggesting that barca and spain are doping, whereas there is only indirect indications that other countries are doping on the same level.
it's like saying armstrong and evans both dope. we know both dope, but
there is evidence regarding armstrong, and only indirect indications regarding evans. and armstrong probably doped harder than evans ever will.
not a level playing field.

None of this is to say the Dutch didn't dope (they most definitely did), just that the evidence in the case of Spain is much more overwehlming.
The next question should then be: why is there so much evidence against Spain and much less evidence against most other countries?
Is it really far-fetched to assume that that somehow correlates with the AMOUNT of doping going on in spain?
After all, the more a country dopes, the more evidence of that activity is likely to surface, is it not?

you see, it's a 1+1=2 equation, really.
Stating that spain's success is down to doping is hardly a risky statement. it's self-evident.

p.s. Some important differences between spain (2000s/2010s) and holland (70s):
-The dutch successes in the 70s weren't accompanied by successes in tennis, basketbal and track & field, as it is in spain's case.
-Dutch teams weren't linked to docs of the likes of Del moral and Fuentes.
As a side note. That is not true. I will check my archive of football doping links where some Dutch doctors confessed they were doping their teams with anything they could get their hand on. But don't worry so were the Spanish teams and were winning very little in the 70's.

Yes, there are more links to Spanish football regarding doping than to other nations. That is an undisputed fact. But as undisputed as that is the fact that Spanish teams do not cover more distance in their international matches than the average. In fact, as you can see, Barcelona are below average. And that does not prove that they are doping worse or better than the rest. What it proves, and that is my opinion, is that the differential element is technique and football ability.

Rubin Kazan cover more than 120 kms per game, 10 kms more than Barcelona fors instance, and they never manage to get past the first round. German teams are also very high on that respect. Even Ajax cover more ground that Barcelona.

http://www.uefa.com/newsfiles/ucl/2013/2009526_ts.pdf

125 kms yesterday vs Barcelona 108.

Unless there is something seriously wrong (maybe Barcelona have hacked the computers) I just can't see where this physical superiority comes from.

And again, it is plausible that they are doping better, but it does not show on the field or I can not see it.

If we talked about Nadal then yes, he is a tremendous physical specimen but in the case of the Spanish football players, Do they run more? Do they run faster?

And I believe that you are not taking into account, in team sports, the magic that has happened during these last years in Spain. We imported managers and players from all over the world and by sheer chance, as things always happen, a great combination of italian tactical discipline with the positional play impletemented by my beloved Johan Cruyff, combined with the technique learned from the imported South American players , and you suddenly find a winning formula, the same way as Brasil had their magic formula during decades. Or was Brazilian technique chemically induced too?
 
Albatros said:
As a side note. That is not true. I will check my archive of football doping links where some Dutch doctors confessed they were doping their teams with anything they could get their hand on. But don't worry so were the Spanish teams and were winning very little in the 70's.

Yes, there are more links to Spanish football regarding doping than to other nations. That is an undisputed fact. But as undisputed as that is the fact that Spanish teams do not cover more distance in their international matches than the average. In fact, as you can see, Barcelona are below average. And that does not prove that they are doping worse or better than the rest. What it proves, and that is my opinion, is that the differential element is technique and football ability.

Rubin Kazan cover more than 120 kms per game, 10 kms more than Barcelona fors instance, and they never manage to get past the first round. German teams are also very high on that respect. Even Ajax cover more ground that Barcelona.

http://www.uefa.com/newsfiles/ucl/2013/2009526_ts.pdf

125 kms yesterday vs Barcelona 108.

Unless there is something seriously wrong (maybe Barcelona have hacked the computers) I just can't see where this physical superiority comes from.

And again, it is plausible that they are doping better, but it does not show on the field or I can not see it.

If we talked about Nadal then yes, he is a tremendous physical specimen but in the case of the Spanish football players, Do they run more? Do they run faster?

And I believe that you are not taking into account, in team sports, the magic that has happened during these last years in Spain. We imported managers and players from all over the world and by sheer chance, as things always happen, a great combination of italian tactical discipline with the positional play impletemented by my beloved Johan Cruyff, combined with the technique learned from the imported South American players , and you suddenly find a winning formula, the same way as Brasil had their magic formula during decades. Or was Brazilian technique chemically induced too?
Ronaldo likely was, during his PSV time.
 
Oct 21, 2012
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Caruut said:
Not directly, no, but I would like to point you towards a few indirect factors that may complement their natural gifts.

Firstly, both Messi and Xavi play rather cerebral games - that is to say that much of what they do requires being able to think quickly and clearly in high-pressure situations. The amount of thinking involved in Xavi's game is far more than that of, say, an archetypal English central midfielder who has two main tasks; win the ball and play a long ball up to the big man. I don't think there is much doubt that tiredness reduces one's ability to make good decisions quickly - if PEDs reduce tiredness, especially towards the end of the game, then it is fair to say that they could be of benefit.

Secondly, when thinking about dope, it is important to consider not one where someone is, but how far behind they would be without the dope. I could have been on a course of steroids, EPO, HGH and have had a blood bag the night before, but pretty much any footballer (even without any dope they may or may not have) would still run rings around me. Just because Barcelona don't run as much doesn't mean they don't dope - it might simply indicate that they were less naturally talented athletes to begin with. Before about 2006, Xavi was considered a hugely talented individual but just not athletic enough to ever be a great. His stamina, strength and pace were considered simply insufficient; granted he still does not rely on them, but it seems he needed to improve them to even stand a chance.

This brings me onto my third point for consideration, a theory which I introduced earlier in the thread - the widening of the pool. There is a certain level of athleticism that is needed to play top-level football. Simply put, one needs to be able to run about 10km, mainly consisting of short bursts, in about 90 minutes and be strong enough not to simply fall over as soon as the Didier Drogbas and Yaya Tourés of this world bump into you. It is widely accepted that (due to the reducing rates of return) PEDs help less talented athletes more than they help more talented ones. As such, an effective doping program could vastly increase the number of potential players that have the physical capabilities to play the game at the top level. From there it does not take much though to recognise that with a lot more potential players to choose from, the chance of uncovering a player with exceptional technical and mental footballing skill (such as Xavi, Messi or Iniesta) increases.
Another factor you missed out on there is injury. Muscle fatigue and injury are related. I can remember Sneijder in 2010 missing a month just through fatigue. He said he felt like the smallest tap on his shin could break his leg. Now if Sneijder, a person who's body developed 'normally' unlike Messi's, felt so weak after just 1 intense season at peak performance, it does raise questions about the likes of Messi being able to keep it up week after week, season after season. Since he came back from that torn muscle in April 2008, he has missed just 8 days of football through injury, which isn't normal for someone playing just 40 games a season. Since then he's played 196 games for club and 41 for country (excluding club friendlies) and he's only missed 8 days, which is surreal. You'd expect at least a hamstring problem or a thigh strain from training/accumulated fatigue if nothing else.

Edit: It seems Sneijder had anaemia immediately after the South Africa World Cup, and collapsed in the training room. Perhaps his hematocrit dropped to 20 or lower?
 
Mar 19, 2011
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Caruut said:
Not directly, no, but I would like to point you towards a few indirect factors that may complement their natural gifts.

Firstly, both Messi and Xavi play rather cerebral games - that is to say that much of what they do requires being able to think quickly and clearly in high-pressure situations. The amount of thinking involved in Xavi's game is far more than that of, say, an archetypal English central midfielder who has two main tasks; win the ball and play a long ball up to the big man. I don't think there is much doubt that tiredness reduces one's ability to make good decisions quickly - if PEDs reduce tiredness, especially towards the end of the game, then it is fair to say that they could be of benefit.

Secondly, when thinking about dope, it is important to consider not one where someone is, but how far behind they would be without the dope. I could have been on a course of steroids, EPO, HGH and have had a blood bag the night before, but pretty much any footballer (even without any dope they may or may not have) would still run rings around me. Just because Barcelona don't run as much doesn't mean they don't dope - it might simply indicate that they were less naturally talented athletes to begin with. Before about 2006, Xavi was considered a hugely talented individual but just not athletic enough to ever be a great. His stamina, strength and pace were considered simply insufficient; granted he still does not rely on them, but it seems he needed to improve them to even stand a chance.

This brings me onto my third point for consideration, a theory which I introduced earlier in the thread - the widening of the pool. There is a certain level of athleticism that is needed to play top-level football. Simply put, one needs to be able to run about 10km, mainly consisting of short bursts, in about 90 minutes and be strong enough not to simply fall over as soon as the Didier Drogbas and Yaya Tourés of this world bump into you. It is widely accepted that (due to the reducing rates of return) PEDs help less talented athletes more than they help more talented ones. As such, an effective doping program could vastly increase the number of potential players that have the physical capabilities to play the game at the top level. From there it does not take much though to recognise that with a lot more potential players to choose from, the chance of uncovering a player with exceptional technical and mental footballing skill (such as Xavi, Messi or Iniesta) increases.
You seem to place a limit on how much athletic performance is good enough to play at a professional level. That limit constantly changes. Players today run 10 kms per average, but in the past they covered less distance and average is just the mean, with huge differences between some players.

Messi for instance covers around 8 kms per game, by far the shortest distance of all players competing in the CH L. Compare that to his teammate Pedro who covers around 11 kms per game, or Xavi who covers 12. Or compare the speed of Alexis with that of Xavi.

So there is not a prototype of footballer with certain physical attributes to play the game. You have fast players, slow players, tall players and in the case of Barcelona very short ones mostly.
 
Oct 30, 2011
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Albatros said:
You seem to place a limit on how much athletic performance is good enough to play at a professional level. That limit constantly changes. Players today run 10 kms per average, but in the past they covered less distance and average is just the mean, with huge differences between some players.

Messi for instance covers around 8 kms per game, by far the shortest distance of all players competing in the CH L. Compare that to his teammate Pedro who covers around 11 kms per game, or Xavi who covers 12. Or compare the speed of Alexis with that of Xavi.

So there is not a prototype of footballer with certain physical attributes to play the game. You have fast players, slow players, tall players and in the case of Barcelona very short ones mostly.
Of course there is not one single physical "type" able to play the game at the top level. It is more or less undeniable, however, that in order to express their technical and mental skill, a player needs a certain amount of physical ability. Obviously the more skilful they are the more it makes up for a lack of physical prowess, but beyond a certain point it becomes pretty rare for a player to make it at the top level. Only Valderrama in the last 20 years or so has really played the game walking.

Again, I'm obviously not suggesting that ~10km is a hard and fast rule or that it has always been so and will remain unchanged for eternity. I am merely pointing out that the physical demands on most players are not to be scoffed at, and that there must certainly be individuals with great technique and footballing brains who lack the physicality to be able to compete at the top level. If we had some way of improving their physical capabilities, you are unlocking a lot of potential.
 

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