Paolo Guerrero's Touching Gesture To Mile Jedinak For Saving His World Cup Dream
He was set to miss his country's first World Cup in 36 years but thanks to the help of fellow professionals, Peru striker Paulo Guerrero was able to achieve his dream and score on the biggest stage of them all.
The captains of Australia, France and Denmark urged FIFA to allow banned Guerrero to play in the tournament this summer after he was slapped with a ban for testing positive for cocaine metabolite benzoylecgonine.
Australia captain Mile Jedinak was one of the men who sent a letter to FIFA to permit him to play.
Incredible. As Australia's hopes of progression fade, worth remembering Mile Jedinak's role in trying to help Paolo Guerrero get his World Cup ban overturned. Incredible gesture from Peru's opponents in this group. What football is all about.- Zack Goldman (@ThatDamnYank) June 26, 2018
Before the final group game of Group C, veteran striker Guerrero promised to hug Jedinak and he did exactly that.
"I hope we can have a quick chat but I have publicly thanked him and I want to do that again." he said via The Mirror.
"I'm so, so terribly grateful for his support back then and I think that's the right thing between footballers. We have to support each other.
"I hope to give him a huge hug before the game."
Captains of France (Hugo Lloris), Australia (Mile Jedinak) & Denmark (Simon Kjær), who are in the same World Cup group as Peru, sent a letter to FIFA, asking them to allow captain, Paolo Guerrero to play in the competition.- FourFourTweet (@FourFourTweet) May 22, 2018
He'd been suspended after testing positive for cocaine pic.twitter.com/lcYpHSyzwh
Peru's all-time top scorer was provisionally suspended on 3 November with FIFA then issuing officially announcing a one-year suspension on 7 December, but the alleged doping ban was temporarily lifted.
Guerrero claims the cocaine was in tea he consumed and later, he got his ban halved by Fifa's appeal committee.
Only for it to then rise to 14 months when the World Anti-Doping Agency got involved and appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Of course, Guerrero scored his first World Cup goal against Jedinak's Australia side in a comfortable win for the Peruvians.
But it could have been very different if the Australia captain didn't help him get there. What a story.