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I'm a former World Cup star who used frozen corpses to escape doping ban

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FROM dead bodies to a plea from his rivals, Paolo Guerrero escaped a drugs ban in the most unique way.

The striker is Peru’s captain and was set to lead his nation to the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Paolo Guerrero captained and scored for Peru at the World Cup after a delay to his doping ban

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Paolo Guerrero captained and scored for Peru at the World Cup after a delay to his doping banCredit: Getty Images – Getty
Guerrero used to play for Bayern Munich

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Guerrero used to play for Bayern MunichCredit: instagram @guerrero9

But disaster struck just weeks after they qualified for the tournament as Guerrero failed a doping control test.

After being handed an initial suspension, further tests revealed that benzoylecgonine was in his system, which is a derivative of cocaine.

Guerrero claimed he was feeling unwell on international duty and had two herbal teas that could’ve included a coca leaf without his knowledge as it is a popular remedy for altitude sickness.

However, Fifa slapped him with a 12-month ban from football, meaning he would miss the World Cup.

There was national fury in Peru over the decision and it sparked protests.

Guerrero, who won two Bundesliga titles with Bayern Munich in 2005 and 2006, launched an appeal with the help of an American archaeologist.

In a bizarre turn of events, Charles Stanish used the frozen corpses of Inca children to prove the player was innocent.

He claimed there was evidence in the hair of the famous mummies found at the top of a volcano in Llullaillaco after traces of benzoylecgonine were found.

The preserved bodies are four centuries older than cocaine is and Stanish argued because of this, there is not sufficient evidence to suggest Guerrero took any drugs.

The archaeologist later said his job was to prove the substance can be in your system without taking it and “the most obvious way is to have a 500-year-old mummy that tests positive before cocaine exists.”

It led to the ban being reduced to six months.

But doping chiefs then appealed the new ruling to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, who reinstated the year ban.

Peru raged again and soon had the eyes of the football world following the case.

In the World Cup, they had been drawn in a group with France, Denmark and Australia.

And Peru’s protests led to the captains of those three teams penning a letter to Fifa in support of Guerrero’s plea.

The 40-year-old managed to get his ban suspended amid further investigations by the Swiss Federal Tribunal.

It meant Guerrero was cleared to captain his country at the World Cup, assisting ex-Premier League star Andre Carrillo’s goal, which was Peru’s first in the finals for 36 years.

He then scored in their 2-0 win over Australia – but it was not enough as the South Americans crashed out in the group stage.

Guerrero’s ban was later upheld and he didn’t play for another nine months.

Soon after his return, he was the top scorer at Copa America in 2019 as Peru made the final.

And the legend is still playing and ready to lead his country into another Copa America this summer.

He has earned 114 caps for his country and has national hero status.

Guerrero has recently hit the headlines again for making a plea on television to be released from his contract with Cesar Vallejo amid fears for his family’s safety.

The veteran claims the club are ignoring his concerns after being targeted by local criminals.

Paolo Guerrero is set to lead Peru at this summer's Copa America aged 40

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Paolo Guerrero is set to lead Peru at this summer’s Copa America aged 40Credit: EPA
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