Dinamo Zagreb midfielder Arijan Ademi has been given a four-year ban from football after failing a drugs test, the club have announced.
The 24-year-old tested positive for a banned substance following the 2-1 Champions League victory over Arsenal in September and UEFA promptly launched an investigation.
Following a hearing in Switzerland, European football’s governing body has issued a lengthy suspension to the Macedonia international, who insists he remains innocent of any offence.
“I find it hard to even describe in words how I feel right now,” he said via the club’s official website. “I’m not guilty, I know I did not do any wrong, and I got such a drastic punishment. I feel terrible.
“I would like to thank everyone who has called me in recent days and sent messages, but it’s really hard for me to talk about it, and I pray for understanding.”
Dinamo added via the statement: “As a club, we are shocked and extremely, unpleasantly surprised by such a turn of events, and we will do everything we can in these difficult times with Arijan.”
UEFA has already confirmed that Dinamo will not face any points deductions in the Champions League as such sanctions are only issued if two or more players fail doping tests.