Lucas Martínez Quarta has been another of the success stories from River Plate’s academy for Marcelo Gallardo this season but the talented central defender looks set for a spell on the sidelines after CONMEBOL confirmed a positive doping test following the Copa Liberatores clash with Emelec.
The presence of hydrochlorothiazide, a diuretic drug banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) was detected in Martínez Quarta’s sample in May and while River had hoped to have the 21-year-old available until his B sample was tested, CONMEBOL have stated that a provisional sanction will be effective immediately before any full suspension is sanctioned.
Martínez Quarta played and scored the only goal in River’s win over Aldosivi on Wednesday night after the club had requested the B sample is tested but the youngster will now be ruled out until those results come back.
This will almost certainly see Martínez Quarta miss the Copa Libertadores last 16 first leg against Guaraní on July 4th but should the test results remain positive, the defender could be suspended for anywhere between four months and a year, based on CONMEBOL’s previous sanctions for the same substance.
River’s medical team are hopeful that the original sample has been contaminated given that the drug in question is not one that they would commonly use but will be without the defender until those further studies.
The news comes as a significant blow to Marcelo Gallardo after Jonatan Maidana limped out of the win over Aldosivi. Martínez Quarta has established himself this season as the first choice partner with Maidana, ahead of Arturo Mina and Luciano Lollo, and ahead of a critical Libertadores clash, River wouldn’t want to be missing either, let alone both.
Independiente and Lanús already have players suspended for similar issues when playing in international competition. Jorge Figal has been absent from Independiente’s first team since a positive test after a Copa Sudamericana and El Granate are without Fernando Barrientos.