Story By: Juan Mayes, Sub Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Golder’s News And Sport
Colombian football legend Rene Higuita has admitted he “consumed” drugs and said politicians “chose me as a scapegoat” because of his alleged friendship with former Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar.
The comments came during an interview with Argentine sports channel TyC Sports in which Higuita, 53, famous for his ‘scorpion kick’ against England in 1995, spoke about some controversy surrounding his career off the pitch.
When asked about being offered or trying drugs, the legendary goalkeeper said: “Yes, of course. And I consumed them.”
Higuita went on to speak about two doping cases in 2002 and 2004 in which he tested positive for cocaine and said: “It was not something constant, but that time its stayed in my system.
“Here, the thought is that a player consumes to improve his performance. I never consumed to enhance my performance or to play a match, it was just something I did to mess around as a hobby.
“It stayed in my system for a long time and I had to detox.”
When asked about his alleged and controversial friendship with the former Colombian cartel boss Escobar, the former goalkeeper simply answered “pass”.
Higuita then went on to say: “The politicians at the time had other interests and they chose me as a scapegoat.
“I was released as an innocent man nine months later, I sued the state and won and I just kept moving forward. If I have to do something and act for the greater good, I will do it, and if it leads us to prison, then let us go to prison.”
Higuita spent several months in prison for allegedly acting as an intermediary in a kidnapping which Escobar carried out and the case kept him out of the 1994 World Cup.
Higuita claims he was asked to give information on Escobar by the Colombian authorities at the time. He claims after his refusal to do so, he was targeted as “a scapegoat” which eventually led to his incarceration.
Higuita spent many years playing for Atletico Nacional based in the Colombian city of Medellin where he won the Copa Libertadores in 1989 and the Colombian league twice (1991 and 1994).
Higuita made 68 appearances for the Colombian national team and is widely considered as one of the best Colombian goalkeepers in history. He scored 41 goals in his career.
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