Former Sao Paolo star Flavio Donizete has shed a light on his struggles with drug addiction that blighted his promising career ? admitting he sold his Club World Cup medal to fund the habit.
The Brazilian, who played as a defender, had come through the ranks at Sao Paolo as a teenager in 2005 when the league winners took on Champions League kings Liverpool in Japan, beating them 1-0 through midfielder Mineiro.
Donizete only made the bench through injury to a teammate, but did not feature as his side lifted the trophy ? although he was awarded the medal in what would become the crowning achievement of his career.
But speaking to Globoesporte, the former centre back, 36, spoke of his crippling cocaine addiction that put the brakes on his progress as a footballer ? revealing he cashed in on his medal for nearly £3,000, spending nearly all of it on the drugs and using it in two days.
He added, “I sold it to buy drugs.” “I sold it for 7,000 reais (around £2,875/$3,500).
“When I sold it the money came and I blew almost all of it on cocaine. The first delivery was 1,000 reais of cocaine. I used it in two days. The more money I had, the more drugs I wanted.
“After I was acquainted with cocaine, I lost everything else. Because at the start, I was a moderate user. Until cocaine became more important in my life, I started to lose everything I had. Any money saved I used to buy drugs. I wouldn’t let myself be without drugs. Morning, afternoon and evening I had to take cocaine.
“Any money in my account, my possessions, I started losing them. I lost everything, except my wife, daughters and family, who are still with me even today.”
“I was never at home, it was just parties and drinking. There were times I wouldn’t go a single day without taking cocaine.
“I started to get fat through the drink, I picked up a knee injury and I couldn’t run. All that as well as the coke. So I said, “that’s it”. I gave up football for good.”
“My biggest regret is having tried cocaine. It destroyed me.”
He was released from his Sao Paolo contract in 2009.