Former Portugal defender Abel Xavier has signed a contract with Middlesbrough until the end of the season after completing his suspension for failing a dope test.
Middlesbrough cancelled Xavier’s contract in January after his appeal against a positive test for the performance-enhancing steroid dianabol was rejected by UEFA.
“In no way do we condone the taking of drugs but the ban was reduced by the game’s governing authorities, which suggests there was a significant reason for that,” Boro manager Gareth Southgate told his club’s web site.
“I’m a believer that people in life who serve a sentence should get the opportunity to rebuild their life or their career afterwards. He’s served his ban and wants to force his way back into the side.”
Former Portuguese international Xavier became the first Premier League player to be banned for failing a drugs test when tested positive after a UEFA Cup tie against Xanthi.
Originally banned for 18 months, his suspension was reduced to 12 months by the Court of Arbitration for Sport in July.