Stam's test failure is warning signal for players

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The Independent Football

The Internazionale midfielder Clarence Seedorf yesterday described compatriot Jaap Stam's positive test for nandrolone as a warning shot across the bows of every player. Stam, who moved to Lazio from Manchester United, is the third Dutch international to have tested positive for nandrolone after Edgar Davids and Frank de Boer.

But Seedorf insists it is not a problem only associated with the Netherlands national team as other players, including Lazio's Portuguese international Fernando Couto, have also tested positive.

While Seedorf said that Stam, who professes his innocence, did not need to enhance his strength with drugs, he accepted that all players must be careful about what supplements they take, however innocently. The midfielder, who faces Ipswich Town in the Uefa Cup third round tonight, said: "That Stam tested positive for nandrolone is a bad thing for all players, not only for Dutch players.

"Every day, we have to be more careful with what we take. The most difficult thing for players is that you don't know when you are putting things inside you with nandrolone in them or whatever.

"I know Jaap Stam very well and I don't think he's a player who needs to be stronger. I can defend him but it's a fact that he has tested positive with nandrolone so what can you say? It's a bad thing for football that it's coming out in this way.

"We all have to be worried as I don't think it's a thing of the Dutch national team. It's not only Dutch players with cases of nandrolone. It's also a Portuguese player and some Italian players. It's an international thing."

Meanwhile, Seedorf admitted that he knew little about Ipswich, confessing his surprise when he discovered that former Ajax team-mate Finidi George was at the club. However, he stressed that Inter, who are second in Serie A, would take the game seriously, even if they have arrived without leading strikers Ronaldo, Christian Vieri, Stéphane Dalmat and Alvaro Recoba. "This is a very important game for us as the Uefa Cup is an important competition to win. We will do everything possible to make the final," he said.

The Inter coach Hector Cuper confirmed that Ronaldo and Vieri were injured. "It is not that we are taking this game lightly, it is simply that those players are not fit," said Cuper, who is missing Recoba on international duty with Uruguay and Dalmat because of a family illness. "Ronaldo is better and is improving. Vieri played 90 minutes last weekend after injury and he can't play three games in a week."

Cuper, who identified Sixto Peralta, who is on loan from Inter, as Ipswich's key player, added: "We are here to win the match though. We will not wait for Ipswich to come onto us but we will attack and go at them from the start."

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