Joao Pedro suspended after Cagliari star fails drugs test

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The midfielder tested positive for the banned diuretic hydrochlorothiazide after Cagliari's goalless draw at Sassuolo in Serie A

Cagliari's Joao Pedro has been handed a provisional suspension after failing a drugs test, Italy's national anti-doping agency NADO has confirmed.

The Brazilian attacking midfielder tested positive for the banned diuretic hydrochlorothiazide after Cagliari's goalless draw at Sassuolo in Serie A on February 11.

A statement on NADO's officlal website read: "The first section of the TNA (national anti-doping court), in accepting the petition proposed by the National Anti-Doping Prosecutor’s Office, has proceeded to suspend Joao Pedro Gerardino Dos Santos Galvao, who was found positive for the substance hydrochlorothiazide following a check made by NADO Italia at the end of the Serie A match between Cagliari and Sassuolo on February 11, 2018."

Joao Pedro has impressed for Diego Lopez's relegation-threatened side this season, scoring five times in 19 top-flight starts and regularly wearing the captain's armband.

News of the positive test proved a particularly unwelcome birthday present, coming hours after Cagliari tweeted to give their best wishes to Joao Pedro for turning 26.

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And the midfielder isn't the first Serie A player this season to have been called into question for an alleged drug-related offence.

Benevento captain Fabio Lucioni returned a positive sample for banned anabolic steroid clostebol following his side's 1-0 Serie A defeat to Torino on September 10 and received a one-year suspension as a result.

The club's president Oreste Vigorito claimed that a cream used to treat a wound was the reason behind the failed test, while Samir Nasri was recently handed a six-month ban after he received a drip treatment at a Los Angeles clinic in 2016.

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