Former Arsenal star Andrey Arshavin has sensationally claimed that most of the high-profile Olympic sports are likely to be rife with drug cheats.

Many of the former Arsenal forward’s Russian compatriots were banned from competing at the Rio Games after the the World Anti-Doping Agency recommended a blanket ban, upheld by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, on the nation’s athletes following claims of state-sponsored doping.

In an interview with a Kazakh sports news site, Arshavin was quoted as saying that success in sports which require constant repetitive movement is “simply impossible without doping”, and added that Russia’s ban was politically motivated.

“In my opinion, all cyclic sports involve doping. It’s simply impossible without doping. That means swimming, skiing, cycling. I think everyone dopes,” he told prosportkz.kz.

“Russia is paying for its political decisions, including in sport. Is it fair or unfair? Life isn’t fair. Of course, this is a great tragedy for the athletes, especially the Olympians.

“For them, this is the World Cup and European Championship for footballers. We have every two years, with good players, earning good money at clubs, and they have the reverse.

“[They have] almost one or two chances in life to get an apartment, a normal premium. Of course, I understand them, they are not in the best condition now.”

Remember how great Arshavin was? It wasn’t that, that long ago. When Arsenal bought him for a then club-record £15 million in 2008, Arshavin was one of the most exciting talents around and instantly made a big impact.

His match-winning strike against Barcelona and the epic, four-goal performance against Liverpool at Anfield still reverberate around North London.

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