Galatasaray have confirmed that Australia striker Harry Kewell has been carrying autoimmune hepatitis. "The exaggerated news about the autoimmune hepatitis and future hypothesis shows clearly the unethical position of our media," a Gala statement read.

Mr Kewell has never had, and does not have, any health problems that have prevented him performing at his best in a professional football career spanning 14 years, apart from injuries that a common to all footballer players."

Kewell's manager, Bernie Mandic, said: "When people see the word hepatitis, they immediately draw conclusions.

"Harry does not have, and never has had, a contagious disease. What he does have is no different to someone with asthma, or diabetes, or any similar ailment. You deal with it, and get on with it. There is no looking for sympathy, or excuses, in regards to Harry's ability to keep playing at the highest level for a number of years."