First of all, how do you feel?
Fine now. I’ve spent the last six months recovering and the worst is now behind me.
How was the day to day work? Did you put in many hours?
The first phase was the most difficult because I was still on crutches. I did eight hours of passive rehab on my knee each day and spent a lot of time getting massages from physiotherapists. Then I began working on my physique with a stationary bike, elliptical machine and water exercises. I’ve been increasing the load since February and working hard on cardio, increasing my stamina and building muscle mass. It was a hard process, but I can now say that I am ready to begin running.
When will we see you back on the pitch?
I will start jogging slowly next week and will increase the pace on a daily basis. The team’s preseason begins around the middle of July, and if everything goes as planned I hope to be back in action with the squad in August. I am so anxious to return.
Have you thought a lot about the night you were injured against Juventus? Nobody thought it was such a severe injury.
I wasn’t injured during that match. It happened during the first half of the match in Turin and I played through the pain. Then I played the match at the Bernabeu although everyone knew I wasn’t well. It was an important match. I wanted to play and the club wanted me to play.
Do you regret it?
When they told you they had to operate on the same knee, did you think back to the injury sustained back in 2000?
We didn’t think the meniscus was affected and that I would return within six to eight weeks. Then they saw a more severe problem, the cartilage, and I knew it would take a lot more time. I had to lie down and have a glass of water because it was a tremendous shock. I spoke to the doctor to ask him how long I would be out. All that mattered was my knee; my life. I was told it would take about nine months, that my knee would be as good as new and that I could return to football. I knew I would have to work hard, but I immediately focused on recovering and returning as soon as possible.