Peru captain Paolo Guerrero will miss next year’s World Cup after being handed a one-year ban for taking cocaine, FIFA said on Friday.
The 33-year-old striker, who plays for Flamengo in Brazil, had been provisionally suspended after failing a doping test following Peru’s World Cup qualifier against Argentina in Buenos Aires in October.
World football’s governing body said in a statement its Disciplinary Committee had found that Guerrero had violated article six of the organisation’s Anti-Doping Regulations.
Cocaine is categorised as a stimulant and is included on the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) list of performance-enhancing substances.
Peru qualified for the World Cup finals for the first time since 1982 by beating New Zealand in a two-legged playoff. Guerrero missed both of those matches.
Guererro will be a huge miss for Peru as a leader and goal-scorer. He has 82 caps for his country and 32 goals in total.
He was key member of the side in qualifying, scoring six times and leading Los Incas to fifth place in the South American standings.
The veteran striker has experience at the top level, having spent two years at Bayern Munich between 2004-06, during which time he scored 10 times in 27 games.
Guerrero then moved to Hamburg where he established himself as a reliable presence up front, playing more than 100 times for the club.
His ban will be back-dated to November 3 and will apply to international, domestic and official friendly fixtures.