Bengaluru, May 14: Controversial forward Paolo Guerrero, who served a six-month doping ban, is all set to make a return to international football after being named the captain of the Peru national football team for the upcoming 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
Guerrero tested positive for cocaine metabolite benzoylecgonine after a drugs examination on October 5 last year after Peru's World Cup qualifier against Argentina in Buenos Aires. He was handed a one-year ban for the doping offence, which ruled him out of the World Cup starting in June, but FIFA later reduced his ban to six months. His ban ended May 3.
Guerrero has pleaded innocence over the matter despite the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) pushing for the sentence to be increased to two years at the Switzerland-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
Regardless of the doping taint, the football federation of Peru, FPF, confirmed on Twitter that Guerrero will lead the national side in Russia.
FPF posted: "A team from the (FPF) will travel to Brazil to visit our player Jose Paolo Guerrero with the aim of taking protocol photos and making measurements for the official (suit) for the Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup."
FPF has to still wait for the CAS verdict, which has been scheduled on May 16, and that decision will confirm Guerrero’s participation in the upcoming World Cup.
After completing his suspension, Guerrero made a comeback in the professional football last week with Brazilian Serie A side Flamengo. He is confident that the upcoming CAS decision will be in his favour.
The 2018 FIFA World Cup will be the fifth World Cup appearance for Peru. The South American nation last competed in the 1982 World Cup in Spain. In the upcoming FIFA World Cup in Russia, Peru has been draw in Group C with France, Australia and Denmark. Their opening game in this tournament is on June 16 against Denmark.
Speaking about the preliminary squad, FPF official Antonio Garcia Pye recently said: "We sent the preliminary roster. You'll have to be patient about getting the official one, which the coach will provide in a press conference.”
Guerrero has scored 32 times for Peru. He was part of the Peruvian side that finished third in the 2011 and 2015 Copa Americas, emerging as the top-scorer in both tournaments.