A Brazilian footballer Flavio Donizete has revealed how his struggles with drug addiction made his sell his Club World Cup medal to buy cocaine.
Donizete played as a defender with the Sau Paulo team that triumphed over Liverpool 15 years ago in the club world cup. Although Donizete only made the bench through injury to a team-mate, he was awarded the medal in what would become the crowning achievement of his career.
The medal, however, was later sacrificed to an addiction that ruined his promising career and almost ended his life.
“I sold it to buy drugs,’ he said. ‘I sold it for 7,000 reais (around $3,500/₦1,366,750),” Donizete told Globoesporte.
“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.”
Sao Paulo – Liverpool Club World Cup 2005 | Image: Goal.com
Donizete spent a succession of seasons on loan, representing the likes of Portuguesa, America and Nacional in Sao Paulo before he was finally released at the end of his contract in 2009. But as he sought a new club, he turned to drugs and partying.
“[My friends] would say to me, ‘snort!’. I would snort and at that moment the effects of drinking would wear off. 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.”
He became fat through drinking and picked up a knee injury which made it hard for him to run. Eventually, he lost the motivation for playing football and gave up on the game.
Now 36, Donizete is now free of drugs and working as a gardener in the town of Americana, in the interior of Sao Paulo state.
Flavio Donizete still dreams of making a comeback as a professional but laments the years lost to his excesses: “My biggest regret is having tried cocaine. It destroyed me.”FOLLOW US ON SOCIAL MEDIA