Russian World Cup star Denis Cheryshev is under investigation for an alleged doping violation, WADA has confirmed.
Russian World Cup star Denis Cheryshev is under investigation for an alleged doping violation.
Cheryshev scored four goals for the host nation as they reached the quarterfinals of the World Cup, but his achievements were overshadowed by revelations from his father that the 27-year-old had used growth hormone (HGH) treatment.
Those remarks, published by a journalist before the tournament, were contested by Cheryshev's father, who claimed that he had been misquoted.
Cheryshev, who is currently on loan at Valencia from Villarreal, has spent his entire career in Spain, and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) confirmed to BBC Sport that the investigation was being handled by Spanish anti-doping authorities.
If Cheryshev is found guilty of using HGH without a therapeutic use exemption, he could face a four-year ban from professional football.
However, the former Real Madrid player told Russian sports daily newspaper Sport-Express that he had not broken any rules and trusted the medics to confirm his innocence.
"On my side, everything has been honest and I think there will be no problem," he said.
"I think we'd better leave this case in the hands of medics, who have done everything right."
Some footballers who suffer from growth hormone deficiency, including five-times Ballon d'Or winner Lionel Messi, have used HGH legally to give them the physical stature necessary to compete.
Doping is a major problem in Russia. Fifty-one Russian athletes have been stripped of Olympic medals because of doping violations, more than any other nation, and no athletes were allowed to compete under the Russian flag at the 2018 Winter Olympics.