Arsenal centre-back Laurent Koscielny has finally appeared for the first time under new manager Unai Emery after seven months in the sidelines.
The Frenchman has finally made his long-awaited comeback for his side against Qarabag FK in the Europa League on Thursday night.
🚨 LAURENT KOSCIELNY STARTS 🚨
— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) December 13, 2018
The 33-year-old, who recently announced his international retirement, led Arsenal to a 1-0 victory over Azerbaijani side. But it was an emotional moment for the Gunners captain, who ruptured his Achilles on May 3.
“Yes, it was an important day for me,” Koscielny told Arsenal’s website.
“It was the end of my rehab, so I am very happy to play today with my team, for this club, and to enjoy it with them on the pitch.”
Laurent Koscielny: Completed 100 per cent of his passes during his 71 minutes on the pitch (62/62) vs Qarabag. It was the 33-year-old’s first Arsenal appearance since May
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) December 13, 2018
“I’m proud of myself,” Koscielny said.
“You know in rehab it’s difficult to be injured because when you start rehab you have to re-learn how to walk, how to go step by step on the stairs.”
“It’s difficult at the beginning because you look like you can’t be back on the pitch.”
“It was very emotional because you remember the first day when I was injured, the 3rd of May, and now we are on the 13th of December, and you have some flashbacks in your head about different periods you had during your rehab.”
“I met a lot of people who helped me a lot, and so I’m very proud to know them now.”
“There were some difficult moments, during this period.”
“But now I think I’m more calm and focused on what I want, and physically I’m OK.”
The former Lorient ace has also claimed that he has learnt a lot about himself during his long spell on the sidelines.
— Match of the Day (@BBCMOTD) December 13, 2018
“I gave 100 per cent to be back every day and to progress every day,” he said.
“Then when I came back to Arsenal everyone pushed me hard to work. It’s OK – I like to work!”
“So I gave more for this and now I have the result for all the effort I made over seven months.”
“It’s been difficult but you learn a lot about yourself, about the people you have around you.”
“Now it’s the end of my rehab – I have my smile back and I will enjoy it with my club. I will start my season now.”