Former Brazilian footballer Flavio Donizete has disclosed how he battled with drug addiction for 13 years which curtailed his promising football career. Flavio played for San Paulo, the Brazilian side which won the 2005 club World Cup trophy against Merseyside’s Liverpool football club.
Donizete played a brief part in San Paulo’s domestic double as a defender and continued to take part in the 2005 Club World Cup competition in Japan. He had no playing time in the competition and only made the bench due to the injury of his colleague.
Donizete was awarded a medal for being part of the club, he later told Globoesporte that he sold his medal to buy cocaine which he used for only two days.
“I sold it to buy drugs. I sold it for 7,000 reais (around £2,875/$3,500),” Flavio said.
“When I sold it the money came and I blew almost all of it on cocaine. The first delivery was 1,000 reais of cocaine. I used it in two days. The more money I had, the more drugs I wanted.
“After I was acquainted with cocaine, I lost everything else. Because at the start I was a moderate user. Until cocaine became more important in my life, I started to lose everything I had. Any money saved I used to buy drugs. I wouldn’t let myself be without drugs. Morning, afternoon and evening I had to take cocaine.
“Any money in my account, my possessions, I started losing them. I lost everything, except my wife, daughters and family, who are still with me even today.”
Donizete took a break from football for six years after several loan spells. He resumed football afterwards with a short stint with the Taboao da Serra football club.
He said he is now free from drugs. He now works as a gardener in Americana, Brazil. He said he still have dreams of returning to football.
“Every day I went out I would say, ‘today I can drink as late as I want because when I use cocaine the effect wears off. Let’s go find some’.
“I was never at home, it was just parties and drinking. There were times I wouldn’t go a single day without taking cocaine.
“I started to get fat through the drink, I picked up a knee injury and I couldn’t run. All that as well as the coke. So I said, ‘that’s it’. I gave up football for good.”
“My biggest regret is having tried cocaine. It destroyed me.”