FORMER Premier League striker Mario Jardel has revealed he was a cocaine addict during his playing career.
The ex-Brazil international, 45, shot to stardom at Porto, Galatasaray and Sporting Lisbon before his career nosedived after a miserable 2003/04 campaign at Bolton.
Now a video interview with the South American has emerged online where he admits to drug-taking between seasons while on vacation.
Jardel said: “I entered into the world of drugs out of curiosity while I was playing for clubs in Europe.
“I got to know some people who offered me the drugs. I began taking them regularly when I was on my holidays. That was because there were anti-doping controls during the season.
“Drugs are one of the problems in football. Players have a lot of money. There are lots of traps, friendships, temptations and curiosities.
“But I am free from these substances now, and my wife played an essential part in this. She would be by my side at all times. She'd come with me when I went out to party.
“These are the times when I was likeliest to fall into temptation, especially when I'd had a few drinks.
“Nowadays I want to set a good example for my children, and I carry out social projects to prevent young people from making the mistakes I made.”
Jardel failed to score a single top-flight goal for the Trotters, managing just three in 11 games in all competitions.
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Nicknamed Lardel for his tubby frame, his career spiralled downwards with spells at lowly clubs in Argentina, Brazil, Portugal, Australia and Bulgaria before he retired in 2010.
Jardel was elected to Brazil's parliament in 2014, but forced to quit after a year following a probe into drug trafficking.
Police reportedly found the ex-player's official car had been used to transport dealers around.
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