Real Madrid have denied a claim that club captain Sergio Ramos failed a doping test after the 2017 Champions League final, and also that the proper procedures were not followed when the current Spain skipper was asked to take a test following a La Liga game against Malaga in April 2018.
The article published on Der Spiegel’s website claimed that after the 2017 UCL final in Cardiff, Ramos gave a sample which contained traces of WADA-prohibited substance dexamethasone — a steroid often used to treat inflammation — but no disciplinary action was ever taken.
The La Liga giants on Friday quickly responded with a statement which said the case mentioned in the Der Spiegel story was “immediately closed” by the relevant authorities after “specific information” was provided, while also calling the reports “insubstantial.”
“With regards to the reports published by Der Spiegel in relation to our captain, Sergio Ramos, the club wishes to express the following,” the Madrid statement said. “1. Sergio Ramos has never breached anti-doping regulations. 2. UEFA requested specific information and immediately closed the case referred to, as is customary in such instances, following tests carried out by experts from the World Anti-Doping Association [WADA] and UEFA itself. 3. In terms of the rest of the content published by the aforementioned publication, the club will not be making any comment, given the clearly insubstantial nature of the reports.”
The Der Spiegel report mentions further communication between Ramos, Madrid and UEFA in the days following the 2017 UCL final, in which Juventus were defeated 3-1, and claims that a team medical official named only as “Dr. A” took responsibility for allegedly forgetting to mention on the relevant form that the player had received two injections of dexamethasone before the match to deal with chronic issues in his shoulder and knee.
The report also mentions another incident after a La Liga game between Madrid and Malaga in April 2018, when an anti-doping officer reported that Ramos did not follow correct procedures by insisting on showering before taking a routine test after a game. Again, no further action was taken in this case.
Ramos’ representatives did not immediately respond when asked by ESPN FC to comment on the Der Spiegel story.
UEFA drug testers regularly visit Madrid’s Valdebebas training ground during the Champions League season, while players are also systematically tested after games in both UEFA competition and La Liga.
In July of 2017, controversial medical chief Jesus Olmo left the club by “mutual agreement” though no further explanation was given for his departure.
Olmo joined Madrid’s staff as club doctor in the summer of 2013 and oversaw a medical department which was criticised at times over the intervening four years amid persistent injury issues suffered by players such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale.