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Thursday, 30 May, 2002, 12:29 GMT 13:29 UK

Delgado adds to confusion

Agustin Delgado has cast another big question mark over his future at English Premiership club Southampton.

The Ecuador striker has again claimed he will not return to the Saints after the World Cup, just three weeks after insisting he would.

Delgado, who will shoulder Ecuador's goalscoring burden in their first appearance in the finals, appeared adamant this time in his on-going saga with Southampton.

" There were good things, but also many injustices "
Agustin Delgado

"I prefer not to think about it now, but I do know that I don't want to go back there," he told the Ecuador Football Federation's website.

"In Southampton there were a lot of things that weren't fair.

"That's why I decided not to return there.

"There were good things, but also many injustices."

Only three weeks ago, the 3.5m signing from Necaxa issued a denial to original reports claiming he would not return.

Delgado claimed he had been badly treated by Southampton, who he said accused him of shirking while he recovered from a knee injury.

The 28-year-old has played just 143 minutes for Southampton but said three weeks ago: "I have a three-year contract with Southampton.

"It is their decision if they want to keep me or sell me to another team.

"Unless they know something I don't, I plan on returning to get ready to be fit for next season."

He told the Southern Daily Echo newspaper that he had given up 100,000 in wages from Southampton since returning to Ecuador for knee surgery in March, until the end of the World Cup as an act of faith towards the club.

Delgado, and his fellow countryman Kleber Chala - who cost Saints 1m - maintained they would report back for pre-season training on 8 July.

Southampton chairman Rupert Lowe insists that Delgado is under contract and expects him back.

Lowe has issued a warning that if Delgado does not return, he will seek a worldwide suspension on him until such time as Southampton might decide to sell him.


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