Abou Diaby is confident he has many years left in the game after he was named in the Arsenal squad for the first time in more than 13 months on Sunday.
The France international has had to endure a succession of injuries over the course of his career, and he admits he contemplated retirement at one point.
But he credits his faith in Islam for giving him the strength to come back, and now he is optimistic about the future.
“It was the longest absence of my career,” Diaby told L’Equipe. “You ask yourself questions. You ask yourself if you are still a football player.
"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'.... Then I woke up one morning and said, ‘No, it's out of the question’"
“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.
“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.”
Diaby had hoped to make an appearance from the bench in Sunday’s victory against West Bromwich Albion, but was just happy to have been in the squad again.
“I would have liked to play 10 minutes,” he said. “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.”
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