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Last Updated: Friday, 5 November, 2004, 11:39 GMT
Is there life in football after drugs?
By Phil McNulty
Chief football writer

Adrian Mutu has vowed to rebuild his career for club and country after being handed a seven-month ban for failing a drugs test.

Chelsea sacked Mutu and condemned the penalty imposed by the Football Association for its leniency - but Romania national coach Anghel Iordanescu has already extended the hand of reconciliation to his country's sporting superstar.

Mutu's ban finishes on 18 May next year, meaning he could even be available for their World Cup qualifiers against Holland on 4 June and Armenia on 8 June.

So will Mutu return rehabilitated - and what have been the fortunes of other football stars who have fallen foul of drugs?

MARK BOSNICH

Another fallen Chelsea hero. The Australian goalkeeper tested positive for cocaine in December 2002 and was charged by the Football Association with breaching doping regulations and bringing the game into disrepute.

Chelsea, as with Mutu, sacked Bosnich and an appeal to the Premier League failed to over-turn the decision.

Bosnich was banned for nine months in April 2003, back-dated to December 2002.

Although Bosnich is no longer suspended, he has failed to find a club and was last seen on The Match, a television programme based on a game between celebrities and former professionals.

Still hopes to return.

RIO FERDINAND

Manchester United's England defender was hit with an eight-month suspension after he missed a drugs test in September 2003.

The ban meant Ferdinand missed England's Euro 2004 campaign in Portugal and the start of the season with Manchester United.

Ferdinand returned in September and has been in outstanding form at Old Trafford, as well as resuming his England career successfully.

DIEGO MARADONA

To some the greatest player ever, to others the flawed Argentine genius whose memory will always be blighted by drug abuse.

Won the World Cup with Argentina - some may say single-handedly - in Mexico in 1986.

Former Argentine World Cup winner Diego Maradona
Maradona has been dogged by drugs problems

Banned for 15 month by the Italian authorities for narcotics use while at Napoli in 1991, he was further shamed at the World Cup in America in 1994.

He capped his return to international football with a goal against Greece in a 4-0 win, but was sent home in disgrace four days later after testing positive for ephedrine.

His addiction to cocaine almost cost him his life earlier this year, and is currently believed to be in Cuba undergoing treatment.

EDGAR DAVIDS

The Holland midfield man tested positive for the anabolic steroid nandrolone in 2001. The Italian Olympic Committee recommended an eight-month ban but Davids fought his corner and served less than four months.

Davids has always denied any wrongdoing and suggested that dietary supplements or homeopathic medicines might explain the high nandrolone levels.

Now back in football with Inter Milan and has rebuilt his international career with Holland.

JAAP STAM

Stam failed a test for nandrolone just three months after joining Lazio from Manchester United in the summer of 2001.

He protested his innocence, but was banned for five months and fined 50,000 Euros.

Stam continued with Lazio before joining AC Milan. Still plays for Holland but has rarely recaptured the authority he showed during Manchester United's treble season of 1999.

FERNANDO COUTO

Portugal's former captain also tested positive for nandrolone while at Lazio in 2001. He was originally suspended for 10 months but this was reduced to four.

Still playing for Lazio, figuring in the Uefa Cup defeat at Middlesbrough on Thursday, and was a part of Portugal's squad that reached the Euro 2004 final, where the hosts lost to Greece.

CLAUDIO CANNIGIA

The Argentine striker was banned for 13 months in 1993 after a positive test for cocaine. He managed to revive his career and even arrived to play in the Scottish Premier League with Dundee and Rangers.

Regained his form to such an extent that he was selected for Argentina's squad in the 2002 World Cup in Korea and Japan.

Did not escape controversy there, when he was fined 1,500 and given a two-match international ban after being sent off during the 1-1 draw with Sweden - even though he was not actually playing.

He became the first player at a World Cup to be red-carded without actually playing, when he was dismissed for dissent while sitting on the substitutes bench.

SHANE NICHOLSON

Nicholson was banned in 1998 for refusing to submit to a random drugs test. He was sacked by his club West Bromwich Albion, but returned to football with Chesterfield in 1999 after a successful rehabilitation.

He moved on to Stockport, Sheffield United and Tranmere before rejoining the Spireites this summer.




SEE ALSO
Mutu in pledge to rebuild career
05 Nov 04  |  Chelsea



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