Darijo Srna Opens Up For First Time About Doping Scandal, World Cup Success

Daniela Rogulj

Darijo Srna spoke for the first time about his doping scandal and being without football for a year. 

Former captain of the Croatia national team has returned to football after exactly 11 and a half months. The famous footballer has finally opened up about life during his doping affair and finally returning to football in the Cagliari jersey, reports Gol.hr on August 30, 2018. 

“There are no words to describe the happiness I felt when I played again! As if at that moment everything bad that happened in the past year was finally behind me. It’s beautiful to play again, fight, feel support from the stands, compete,” he said in an exclusive interview for Sportske novosti. 

The Shakhtar legend was suspended for a doping scandal in 2017. 

‘Uf… Where do you start? Frankly, it was so hard for me that it physically hurt. I felt just how much it hurts to be punished for something you’re not guilty of, when you’re victimized for someone else’s mistakes, and the consequence is to ban you from doing what you love most. It was terrible,” Srna said, and continued:

“I knew that I did not do anything, or that I acted the way I always did in my career. And then, when it became known that the usual substitutes that everyone used, due to the superficial approach of those who were responsible for it, found a trace of some unauthorized ingredient, and it was a nightmare. All you are waiting to do is wake up, that it is all just an ugly dream, but the realization is that you live a tough reality, not from your own guilt and because of some ingredient that has nothing to do with stimulating physical athletes, that killed me.”

Srna was lucky to have his wife Mirela by his side. 

”I did not give in. My wife Mirela, above all, with the love of my children, gave me the greatest power. I talked to a psychologist, of course, and you had to find ways of thinking how you could better handle these issues. Today I am no longer the same man as I was before. It was a painful experience, but after things like this you become stronger. There will always be problems in life, but now I’m going to experience and solve them differently. My views on reality, priorities and people are now reset,” he explained.

“I realized that I trusted everyone, that I used my heart more than my head. Now I am a person who will rationalize the priorities in relationships. After my family I was given the most power by my best Dario Zahora,” said Srna, adding:

“He was with me and when everything was fine, but especially when I was in trouble. There were a few people beside me and they showed me the difference between real and occasional friends. Along with me was Mario Stanić, who was at my disposal 24 hours a day if necessary, for every single thing, he even listened to how sick I was of the pain.”

Croatia achieved a sensational success at the World Cup in Russia. How does Srna see the football euphoria that has captured the nation?

“It will last for decades. Zlatko Dalić initiated the atmosphere and created a good team. It’s not that easy, but he succeeded. But that certainly should not be used to build this far-fetched story of a national stadium.”

“We cannot make such a decision based on one result. There are a lot of bigger problems in the country and much more important things than facilities that will serve the representation four to five times a year. We need to build infrastructure that is appropriate to the needs, but also within the frames of Croatia. We are not England and France who only have national stadiums. Look at where the World Cup finalists came from,” concluded Srna. 


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