Arsenal captain revisits recovery journey, emotional return
Laurent Koscielny has expressed his emotions after returning to full action against Qarabag.
The French defender had been sidelined for seven months rupturing his Achilles in the semi-final against Atletico Madrid. He played for 72 minutes as Arsenal struggled to secure a 1-0 win over Qarabag.
“Yes, it was an important day for me. It was the end of my rehab, so I am very happy to today with my team, for this club, and to enjoy it with them 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 calmer and focused on what I want, and physically I'm OK,” he told the club’s website.
Koscielny, who has retired from the international duty admitted that he is proud of himself after overcoming the Achilles injury. He admits the recovery journey has been quite hard and thanked the people around him who assisted in one way or another.
"I'm proud of myself. 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, and it's difficult at the beginning because you look like you can't be back on the pitch.
"But with the people who worked with me and helped me every day, I gave 100 per cent to be back every day and to progress every day. Then when I came back here [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,” the central defender said.
Whether he will play against Southampton in the league is a matter that Unai Emery will assess before handing him a start.