Footballer's book tells of match-fixing, drugs
Former Parma midfielder Matias Almeyda has made astonishing revelations about match-fixing and doping in Italy in his autobiography.
The ex-Argentina international, in his book Almeyda: Life and Soul, claims he was given what he now believes were drugs while at Parma from 2000-02.
"At Parma we were given an IV drip before games," Almeyda said, in extracts printed by Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport. "They said it was a mixture of vitamins but before entering the field I was able to jump up as high as the ceiling.
"Players do not ask questions, but then in the following years there are cases of former players dying from heart problems, suffering from muscular issues and more. I think it is the consequence of the things that have been given to them."
One of the biggest shocks of the book - especially following the latest match-fixing scandal to hit Italian football - is Almeyda's revelations that Roma players asked their Parma counterparts to throw a decisive match between the two clubs at the end of the 2000-01 season. Roma won 3-1 and edged out Juventus for the Serie A title.
"Some Parma teammates told us that the Roma players wanted us to lose the game. That as we weren't playing for anything, it was the same," Almeyda said. "I said no and the majority responded that way. But on the field I saw that some were not running as they always did. So I asked to be substituted and went into the changing room. Money? I do not know, they called it a favor."
Almeyda also played for Lazio , Inter Milan and Brescia. He acknowledges that during he struggled with alcohol during his time at Inter.
"Throughout my career I smoked 10 cigarettes a day. Alcohol was also a problem. I burned everything off in training, but I lived on the limits," Almeyda said. "Once in Azul, my country, I drank five liters of wine, like Coca Cola, and I ended up in some kind of coma. To try to get it out of my system I ran five kilometers until I saw the sun spinning.
"A doctor put me on a drip for five hours. It would have been a scandal as at the time I was playing for Inter. When I woke up and I saw my whole family around the bed, I thought it was my funeral."