Former Manchester United defender Jaap Stam claims he is no cheat after being suspended following a positive test for nandrolone. The Dutch international left Old Trafford at the start of the season after falling out with boss Sir Alex Ferguson over controversial comments in his autobiography and was sold to Italian giants Lazio for £16.5million in August.

Traces of the banned steroid were found in a sample provided by Stam after the Serie A clash with Atalanta on October 13 and was immediately banned by the Rome club pending further investigations. "This has turned my world upside down," said Stam. "I am absolutely gutted by these allegations."

"I simply cannot believe this has happened to me. I feel sick at the suggestion I would take drugs. I do not know why the test should come out positive and I am in a state of shock and confusion," Stam added. "I know nothing about the whole nandrolone situation. I can say without hesitation or doubt that I have knowingly never taken nandrolone or any other illegal substance. Nor have I had even a vague indication of any risks concerning doping."

"I am not and have never been a cheat and would never jeopardise the happiness of my family or the future of my career. It is ridiculous to suggest I would, whatever the test says," Stam said. Stam is the latest in a series of big-name Dutch stars to test positive for nandrolone. Edgar Davids and Frank de Boer were banned for similar offences and Stam could now face a lengthy suspension and heavy fine.

Filed by Sinéad Kissane