RIO DE JANEIRO, Feb. 28 (Rahnuma): Peru captain Paolo Guerrero has been included in Internacional’s squad for the Copa Libertadores group stage as he prepares to return from a doping ban.
The Brazilian club included the 35-year-old in a 30-man squad for South America’s premier club competition, which begins next week.
Guerrero is eligible to return on April 5 meaning he will only be available for the last three of Internacional’s six group-stage matches.
Peru’s all-time leading scorer was banned for a year by FIFA after testing positive for cocaine metabolite benzoylecgonine after a World Cup qualifier in October 2017.
The suspension was halved after an appeal but the Court of Arbitration for Sport extended it to 14 months at the behest of the World Anti-Doping Agency, which successfully argued the sentence had been too lenient.
Guerrero, who says he unwittingly consumed the substance in a herbal tea, was cleared to play at last year’s World Cup in Russia on compassionate grounds.
The former Bayern Munich forward has yet to represent Internacional in a competitive match, having joined the Porto Alegre club last August from Brazilian Serie A rivals Flamengo.
Two-time Copa Libertadores champions Internacional will make their debut in this year’s tournament with an away fixture against Chile’s Palestino on March 6.