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Seedorf pulls out of Dutch provisional squad

AMSTERDAM, May 13 (Reuters) - AC Milan midfielder Clarence Seedorf has pulled out of the Netherlands' provisional Euro 2008 squad after finding it difficult to work under coach Marco van Basten.

The Dutch football association (KNVB) said in a statement on Tuesday that Seedorf had called van Basten to inform him he would not accept any invitation to the definitive squad for next month's tournament in Austria and Switzerland.

'I was surprised by his announcement. I didn't expect it. I told Clarence that I respect him as a player and human being but he made his decision,' van Basten, who named a provisional 30-man squad including Seedorf last week, was quoted as saying.

The 32-year-old Seedorf made his Netherlands debut in 1994 and has won 87 caps, scoring 11 goals. He played in the three previous European championships and the 1998 World Cup in France but had a spell out of the team before being recalled in 2006.

'It is a decision that comes after serious consideration and months of reflection,' Seedorf said in a statement.

'Since my return to the national team, the right conditions have not been created to let me perform at my best and to effectively excel as the team member I always strive to be.'

Bayern Munich midfielder Mark van Bommel has previously said he would not play for the Netherlands under van Basten, who steps down after Euro 2008 to take over at Ajax.

Seedorf said he had taken the decision for the good of the team and made himself available for new coach Bert van Marwijk after June's tournament.

'We have seen from the past that some negative issues with the national team and players are recurring. I had always hoped that lessons would have been learnt from past experiences, which caused great players to make some very difficult choices,' he said.

'I am naturally disappointed that this has not been the case. In no way do I want to bring tension into the team nor did I want to do anything that would have had a less than positive impact in helping the team excel during Euro 2008.

'I still hope that in the future I can once again proudly wear the Orange jersey, especially as the Dutch team prepares for what I hope will be a very successful campaign for the World Cup 2010 in South Africa.'

Real Madrid striker Ruud van Nistelrooy also fell out with van Basten after the 2006 World Cup but returned to the Dutch fold a year later in September 2007.