Real Madrid Respond to Rafael Nadal Doping Accusations

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistMarch 12, 2016

Rafael Nadal of Spain, returns the ball to Pablo Carreno of Spain, at the Rio Open tennis tournament, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2016. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)
Silvia Izquierdo/Associated Press

Days after former French Minister for Health and Sports Roselyne Bachelot accused tennis star Rafael Nadal of doping, Real Madrid football club released a statement in support of the Spaniard.

According to AS, Bachelot said on Le Grand 8 that one of Rafa's prolonged injury absences was due to a positive performance-enhancing drug test:

"We know that the famous injury which kept Nadal out for seven months is without any doubt because he tested positive. When you see a tennis player out of action for a long time, it's usually because they've tested positive."

The 29-year-old star has never had a positive test, however, which prompted Los Blancos to rush to his defense with an official announcement:

Real Madrid C.F. would like to express their full support to our honorary member, Rafa Nadal, undoubtedly one of the greatest sportsmen of all time in Spain and in the world.

Rafa Nadal represents the fundamental values of sport. His greatness and his incredible achievements have always been based upon a foundation of exemplary conduct, unwavering work, talent and astonishing levels of commitment.

This being the case, our institution considers the attacks made on his person by former minister Roselyne Bachelot to be unjustifiable and unacceptable.

Real Madrid C.F. consider the close ties to an idol such as Nadal to be an honour, such is his status as a symbol sporting excellence. Nadal is admired and adored by millions of fans the world over, and today our club is standing firmly by his side.

The 14-time Grand Slam champion also defended himself when asked about the allegations, per Chuck Schilken of the Los Angeles Times:

You know what? I heard a few times again about the doping and I'm a little bit tired of that.

I am a completely clean guy. I work so much during all my career, and when I get an injury, I get an injury. I never take nothing to be back quicker. And never had no temptation of doing something wrong. I believe in the sport and in the values of the sport. It is an example for the kids. If I am doing something that goes against that, I will be lying to myself, not to my opponents.

While Nadal's play has dropped off over the past couple of years due largely to injuries, he is still among the all-time greats and a surefire Hall of Famer.

Seemingly every top athlete faces PED suspicion at some point in his or her career due to the current sports landscape, and it appears as though Nadal is no exception.

Rafa has a massive fanbase standing behind him, though, and the fact an entity as significant as Real Madrid is part of it is a major coup in terms of continuing to be viewed positively in the public eye.

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