Samir Nasri has retired from football and his announcement, while sparking memories of his time at Arsenal and Manchester City, also stirs thoughts of another kind among fans.

At his best, Nasri was a fine player - an attacking midfielder blessed with real invention - but, partly because his best days came quite some time ago, his name also prompts very different memories.

Nasri won two Premier League titles with Manchester City and scored five goals in 41 appearances for France.

And yet his retirement announcement in a French newspaper contained reflections of a very different kind.

"An episode hurt me very badly and changed my relationship with football: my suspension,” Nasri told Le Journal du Dimanche .

Samir Nasri was released by Anderlecht in 2020 (

Image:

Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)

"I found that more than unfair. I had not taken any doping products. It was just an injection of vitamins because I was sick. It cut me off in my tracks.”

Now, you would be forgiven for not knowing what Nasri was referring to here, given the incident transpired while he was on loan with Sevilla from Man City in the 2016/17 season and that it came back to bite him two years later, when he was without a club after a spell with Antalyaspor.

But since Nasri himself has mentioned it, it is worth explaining in its entirety, given it is a fairly astonishing story quite unlike any other in all sport, let alone football.

Like many stories, it began with what Nasri hoped was an innocent post on social media.

“We provided @SamNasri19 a concierge Immunity IV Drip to keep him hydrated & in top health during his busy soccer season with @SevillaFC,” said a tweet by Drip Doctors in December 2016.

Samir Nasri with Drip Doctor co-founder Jamila Sozahdah (

Image:

Twitter/@DripDoctors)

The words were accompanied by a picture of Nasri and Drip Doctors’ co-founder Jamila Sozahdah.

Nasri had been on holiday in the United States and had visited the Los Angeles clinic to receive the $200 treatment because he was suffering from illness.

The Frenchman had been given 500 millilitres of hydration in the form of sterile water containing micronutrient components.

The problem was that amount is 10 times greater than what the World Anti-Doping Code and UEFA’s anti-doping regulations allow.

After a Spanish Anti-Doping investigation, UEFA initially banned Nasri for six months, but this was extended to an 18-month ban in 2018.

It was a nightmare period for Nasri, which he reflected on in a 2019 interview.

"I was on holiday with my family. I became ill, I had a virus. I did not leave my room, I was suffering from vomiting, big headaches, I was empty," he told L'Equipe .

"I called a friend and told him to find me a doctor. He couldn't. He said to me: 'There is a clinic, it will re-boost you'. Especially as I was going back to Sevilla in two days' time.

"I said okay. I didn't know the rules. And that, by the way, should serve as a lesson to all young players, to properly read the anti-doping rules, to really pay attention, because everything can go in a completely different direction.

Samir Nasri helped Man City win two Premier League titles (

Image:

Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

"To be honest, I did not think that anything would come of it. This woman came to give me a drip of vitamins. She asked for a photo, I said yes, for me I hadn't done anything wrong.

"I was of the view that this was not a doping product, it was fine.

"Can I promise that I have never doped? Yes, I have handed over the files, there was no doping product in it."

The ban was bad enough for Nasri, whose career took a nosedive from then onwards, but there was also another side to the incident.

The photograph of Nasri with Sozahdah from Drip Doctors was followed by a bizarre episode on Twitter in which tweets from the midfielder’s account alleged he had also been provided with a “full sexual service” by the clinic.

More tweets followed from Nasri’s official account, adding more detail to the allegations, before later claiming that he had been hacked.

Unsurprisingly, the string of tweets gained plenty of attention and the publicity ultimately led to the end of Nasri's relationship with his girlfriend.

Antara Antanes had been with him since 2013, but ended the relationship around the time of the controversy, after people accused her of writing the now-deleted tweets from Nasri’s account.

“That wasn’t me," she said. "If I need to say anything it will come from my mouth.”

Samir Nasri's ex-girlfriend Antara Antanes broke up with him over the incident

Nasri did manage to restart career, joining Manuel Pellegrini’s West Ham for the second half of the 2018/19 season once his ban had expired.

But a subsequent move to Anderlecht, to join his former Man City team-mate Vincent Kompany, did not work out and the Belgian club released him in 2020.

Nasri moved on and has been working as a pundit for French broadcaster Canal+ but his football career never recovered from the Drip Doctors incident.

"I was destroyed because I thought I was going to be banned for two years. I didn't want to play any more after that,” he explained on Instagram last year.

"I even told [Sevilla boss Jorge] Sampaoli to leave me out, but he always wanted me to play.

"I was lost, I was anxious and angry with everything. I didn't show it on the pitch but football was over for me."

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