Schuster defends doping ‘for regeneration’
BERLIN (AP) — Former West Germany midfielder Bernd Schuster has defended doping in football when it’s used to speed up recovery from injury.
“As long as it’s purely for regeneration, I don’t have a problem with it. If a player is fit again two, three weeks quicker after an injury, then it even makes sense,” Schuster said in an interview with the Sport Bild magazine on Monday.
Schuster, who is coach of Spanish side Malaga, said he is against doping to improve performances “but rather to bring (a player) back to his level as quickly as possible.”
The 53-year-old German, who played for Barcelona and Real Madrid in the 1980s, said doping wasn’t an issue when he was a player “because the word, as we know it today, didn’t exist. We all took something. No stimulants in the classical sense.”
“But the doctors and physiotherapists always gave you some kinds of things, sometimes even on the mornings of games, when you didn’t feel well somehow or you were in a bit of pain,” he added. “You didn’t ask what you were getting. But it wasn’t about getting electricity in your backside to run around the pitch at 200 percent.”
Schuster said players’ recovery times now, compared to his playing days, had shortened considerably.
“Before, if I had a swollen ankle it was kneaded out with a rod. Tears would practically shoot out of every pore in my body,” he said. “Today, the guys can play again one week after a hamstring (injury). It’s crazy what has changed for the better as a whole.”