Didier Drogba has launched a staunch defence of Ivory Coast team-mate Kolo Toure, insisting his failed drugs test was "a stupid mistake" rather than deliberate cheating.
It emerged on March 3 that Manchester City defender Toure, 29, had tested positive for "a specified substance" and he was promptly suspended. He has received support from Arsene Wenger, his former manager at Arsenal, who also revealed that Toure believes the failed test occurred after he took a slimming tablet belonging to his wife.
"I think we all know how stupid it was, the mistake, and I don't think he did it to improve his performance," Drogba said.
"It would be a difficult situation for us if he is banned because he is one of the most important players, one of the oldest, most experienced players
"I think it was just a mistake and we feel sorry for him and he has all our support, and that's the maximum we can do.
"I spoke to him and he was down, but that is normal. He said it was just a mistake.
"There's not a big difference between what is said by Arsene Wenger and what he said (to me)."
Toure's club Manchester City have kept their counsel on the situation, although manager Roberto Mancini admitted the issue had affected both Toure and his team-mates.
"I have spoken to him and he is not great at this moment," he said at the weekend.
"We are disappointed because we love Kolo as a man and as a player."