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Mutu makes Juventus debut
Updated: 2005-05-30 08:23

Romanian forward Adrian Mutu has made his Juventus debut following a seven-month ban for a positive cocaine test while a Chelsea player.

Juventus' Adrian Mutu controls the ball during their Italian Serie A soccer match against Cagliari at the Delle Alpi stadium in Turin May 29, 2005. Adrian Mutu returns to play after serving a seven-month ban for using cocaine. [Reuters]

Mutu came on as a 57th minute substitute for the Italian champion in its final game of the season against Cagliari, which the Turin side won 4-2.

Despite Italian media reports claiming Juventus could quickly sell him, Mutu said he is determined to stay at the club and fight for his place next season.

"These rumours don't annoy me anymore in fact they motivate me to show that I can play for Juventus," he said.

"The club can't offer guarantees to anyone even if you are called Alessandro Del Piero – a legend of the game. It is not a battle between him and me. There are five strikers at the club and I am one of them," he added.

The Romanian international signed a five-year deal with Juventus in January after he was sacked by Chelsea following the positive test in October but until now he has only been able to train with Fabio Capello's side.

Mutu said he has learnt from the bitter experience of the past months.

"I'm more mature now. After all that has happened I know now what counts in life, private life and professional life," he said.

"I am stronger now. I want to play football. I know that what happened was my fault alone. I am not looking for excuses because I don't want to repeat my mistakes. I feel much more at ease with myself now," he said.

Mutu has been included in the Romania squad to face the Netherlands away on June 4 and host Armenia on June 8.

The striker also commented on his relationship with Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho.

"I don't think he wanted to harm me," he said. "At the start of the season I asked him if he was counting on me and he said he was. He wouldn't have changed his mind after two months.

"I think he wanted to put me on the right path and maybe he has done," added Mutu.

The striker joined Chelsea in 2003 from Parma in a £15.8 million ($38.02m) transfer and previously played for Italian clubs Verona and Inter Milan after making his name in his homeland with Dinamo Bucharest.

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