Whispers over the weekend that a former Liverpool player was about to be revealed as failing a drugs test proved true this afternoon when Middlesbrough revealed that the player in question was Portugese defender Abel Xavier.
Xavier had been signed for Liverpool by ex-boss Gerrard Houllier. Like many Gerard Houllier signings, his contract lasted longer than his time in the side and he spent a lot of time out on loan before he finally went off Liverpool’s books. He played for Everton prior to becoming a Liverpool player.
Middlesbrough released the following statement on their official website:
"MIDDLESBROUGH FC have today confirmed that Abel Xavier was drug-tested in accordance with UEFA rules following the club’s UEFA Cup tie against Xanthi on September 29 and his urine sample has returned positive.
FIFA, the football world’s governing body, has subsequently suspended the 32-year-old defender from all competitions pending the outcome of a disciplinary investigation.
Middlesbrough FC does not feel it is in a position to make any further comment at this time.
Middlesbrough FC understands that Abel Xavier will be making a press statement tomorrow morning."
Although the actual details of the substance found have yet to be officially revealed, we have been led to believe that they were performance-enhancing rather than recreational. It’s also believed that the player still has another sample awaiting testing, but if this also confirms the presence of drugs then he will almost certainly be given a worldwide ban. If the drugs are steroids, then the ban is likely to be for two years, meaning that the 32-year-old has probably played his last professional game.