Del Bosque says has never witnessed doping

05 February 2013 06:46

Spain manager Vicente del Bosque says he has never seen any evidence of doping in football during his time as a player or as a coach.

Del Bosque was asked for his opinion on the matter ahead of Spain's friendly with Uruguay in Doha on Wednesday after former Real Sociedad president Inaki Badiola alleged in an interview with sports daily AS on Monday that Spanish first division club Real Sociedad had bought doping products for six years between 2001 and 2006.

However, the former Real Madrid boss said it is not a problem he had come across in his 45-year-long career in the game.

"I don't have anything more to say about doping. I have never seen it, not as a player, nor as a coach and I don't believe I will see it in the future. I prefer to be naive than think it exists. My eyes have never seen it and it is an issue that I prefer to avoid," he told reporters.

Del Bosque was more forthcoming on the match itself as the world champions come head-to-head with the Copa America holders ahead of their meeting later this year at the Confederations Cup in Brazil.

"It is a game that I like against an opponent that was a semi-finalist in the last World Cup and it is a good occasion to show why we were champions in South Africa and at the European Championship."

However, the fact the friendly is taking place in Qatar has attracted criticism from some in Spain who believe the Spanish Football Federation is putting economic interests ahead of the well-being of their players.

Spain have also played friendlies in Panama and Puerto Rico in recent months, but Del Bosque believes going to less developed footballing nations is important to help the game grow.

"The policy of the Federation is to play in all places to promote football, above all in those with less tradition. It is to completely justifiable to play the game here because Qatar will host the 2022 World Cup.

"I came to the World Youth Championships 20 years ago where (Iker) Casillas, (Carles) Puyol and Xavi were playing and I have seen how the county has changed. Now it is an emerging force."

One of the men looking to catch Del Bosque's eye will be Alvaro Negredo after the striker was recalled to the squad at the expense of Roberto Soldado and Fernando Torres and he is hoping to replicate his recent club form after scoring in his last three outings for Sevilla.

"I never though it wasn't possible to return. It is difficult to get back into the squad and my main objective is to continue doing things well so that the coach will notice me and count on me when he wants," Negredo told the Spanish Football Federation's web site.

Negredo also had special praise for his teammate Puyol, who is expected to captain the side in the absence of Casillas due to a hand injury and earn his 100th cap in the process.

"He is a very important player for the national team and his club team. There are not many people who have achieved it and, moreover, he has continued to turn up after his injuries."

Xavi and Xabi Alonso have not travelled with the squad due to minor injuries, but Del Bosque may take the opportunity to hand international debuts to Isco, Mario Suarez and Cesar Azpilicueta.

Source: AFP

World Cup Group G

Belgium 1 0 0 3 3
England 1 0 0 1 3
Tunisa 0 0 1 -1 0
Panama 0 0 1 -3 0
Last updated : 08:44