Ravanelli 'hurt' by doping and cocaine claims

The former Juventus striker , who now coaches Ajaccio, brands allegations from French reports untrue and insists that there is no evidence that he cheated the system
Former Juventus and Italy striker Fabrizio Ravanelli has expressed his "hurt" over allegations that he is using doping at Ajaccio and dismissed cocaine claims as unfounded.

French reports have suggested that the Italian, who took over as coach of the Ligue 1 club in the summer, is giving his players unsuitable supplements and linked the claims to suspicions that the forward used cocaine while at Olympique de Marseille.

However, Ravanelli strenuously denies the allegations and insists that his image is being "tarnished" by suggestions without evidence.

"I believe in playing clean football," the coach told the Corriere dello Sport. "In my time at Marseille only one player had problems with [cocaine]. I was not [that person].

"This hurts me. I am someone who can hold their head up. I have never failed thousands of checks and nothing has been found against me.

"I am an athlete, I have a healthy life, I ride a bicycle. I cannot accept that suspicion has been raised, I cannot accept for myself, for my family and for the people who love me. I cannot accept that my image is tarnished."

Following Ajaccio's 2-0 defeat to Rennes on Saturday, all the players' blood and urine was tested but Ravanelli is adamant that the supplements his players receive are completely legal.

"The substances of which we speak are all legitimate," the 44-year-old added. "You can buy them at the supermarket.

"We do only hard workouts. To me the [doping] controls are fine - in fact, I'd like more controls to be a normal thing. For me, more would make it better."