Arsenal midfielder Abou Diaby has revealed that he thought about ending his career during his 14-month rehabilitation period following a serious knee injury.
The Frenchman was back to the squad for the 1-0 victory over West Bromwich Albion on Sunday, his first involvement with the first team since rupturing the cruciate ligaments in his left knee during a training session more than a year ago.
And even though was an unused substitute he expressed his delight having completed his nightmare recovery, during which he contemplated walking away from the game,
"It was the longest absence of my career. You ask yourself questions. You ask yourself if you are still a football player," he said to L'Equipe.
"You think of abandoning it all. I said to myself, 'I've had enough. I stop here. I've had enough of treatment and rehab'. I spoke about it with my parents, brothers, sisters and my friends. Then I woke up one morning and said, 'No, it's out of the question'. I quickly saw sense."
The Frenchman added his faith in Islam helped dispel thoughts of retirements and encouraged him to take a positive recovery in his bid to play football again.
"It's true that it's been hard because I've had a lot of injuries. I am a believer and in my faith despair doesn't exist. You have to persevere, always. Never give up, whatever the difficulties.
"Then I'm only 27, nearly 28. It's not as if I'm 33. I still have five, six years in front of me. Maybe more."
And after being left on the bench for Arsenal's victory on Sunday Diaby is looking forward to the next match, hoping to finally have a chance to play.
"I would have liked to play 10 minutes (against West Brom). I counted the subs - one, two then three. I wanted to be there.
"I am ready. But I'm pleased just to have been there to feel the adrenaline of the game. That's what I missed the most."