BARCELONA, Spain — The doctor at the centre of the Operation Puerto blood-doping trial says Real Madrid owes him money.
Eufemiano Fuentes told Spanish radio on Friday he was “interested in collecting on a debt from Real Madrid.”
When asked if the debt was for medical services he rendered to the Spanish league champions, Fuentes responded, “I can’t answer that.”
Fuentes said he couldn’t remember what year the debt was from but that he wanted to collect now because it was an old debt that was about to be voided by the statute of limitations.
Fuentes’ lawyer, Tomas Valvidielso, said the debt “had nothing to do with Operation Puerto” and was from “2007, 2008 or 2009.”
Real Madrid spokeswoman Marta Santisteban told The Associated Press that the team will post a statement on its website if it feels it is necessary.
Fuentes is one of five defendants being tried on charges of endangering the public health with improperly performed blood transfusions since doping was not illegal in Spain when police began their investigation in 2006. It has since been criminalized.
So far, only cyclists have been implicated in the Puerto case, even though Fuentes has testified that he had clients from other sports, including football.
Real Madrid is not the first of Spain’s topflight clubs to be linked to Fuentes recently.
In February, a former president of Real Sociedad, Inaki Badiola, told sports daily AS the Basque club paid for its players to be doped from 2001-07 and pointed to Fuentes as a possible supplier.
This followed prosecutors questioning Fuentes about the letters “RSOC” that appeared on his papers found by police. Fuentes didn’t say what they meant before telling the media afterward that they sounded “like the name of a good wine.”
The Puerto trial is set to conclude on April 2. Judge Julia Santamaria will then rule on the case. Fuentes and the other defendants face two years of jail time.
Santamaria will also decide if the reportedly more than 200 blood bags confiscated by police from Fuentes should be handed over to anti-doping authorities for testing. That could help lead to identifying other athletes who have cheated.
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