Last updated : 17 September 2004 By editor

Rio Ferdinand,

"I'm not asking anyone to feel sorry for me. I'm just telling it as it was. I still feel I was unjustly treated but how long can you stay angry for?

"People have been coming up to me in the street saying, 'Three weeks to go, Rio' or '10 days to go, Rio' and now it's only a couple of days. I can assure everybody Monday is a day I will not be forgetting.

"I've trained with the lads every day, gone to sleep in the afternoons as I usually do, eaten all the right foods and done everything I would normally do.

"I felt like my head was going to explode but I thought the best way to deal with it all was to keep on training even though there might have seemed little point at the time.

"I feel great and I've pretty much knocked the alcohol on the head as well. I hardly bothered drinking on holiday and now I just don't feel like it. I've never been so focused on football and never thought about the game so much. It has been like taking a mini-degree in football. I was always appreciative of being a footballer but what happened to me has made me so much more grateful for it.

"I am against the use of drugs. I missed a test and I was wrong. I accept that. But I have never used drugs in my life and never will. I have a clear conscience and will stand up and be counted in the war against drugs."