Malaga midfielder Julio Baptista vows to enjoy his football more after his return from injury
Julio Baptista is determined not to take the rest of his career for granted after finally making his return for Malaga last weekend.
Baptista, 31, made his first appearance since October 2011 in the 1-1 draw against Real Zaragoza after undergoing surgery on an Achilles tendon injury and the player, nicknamed ‘the beast’, is delighted to be back in action.
“Many times I have dreamt of returning. I did not know how it would be. I was like a child, nervous,” the former Sevilla, Real Madrid and Arsenal star told Marca.
“After all this time it was incredible for me. After suffering so much, I enjoy it more. I will now try to enjoy it more.
“I have to thank the fans because I didn’t imagine I’d be back. The welcome and the love was an amazing thing. It is a heartfelt thanks and hopefully they will enjoy me as I was before.
“Can I avoid a relapse? Right now things are going fine. I’m training well, at the rhythm of the team and now I have to rediscover my shape, with minutes, to help the team.
“Now the Coach has to look to me. He must determine if I am right or tired, if I can play 30 or 40 minutes.
“I’ll need to play more minutes so as to soon play a whole game. I can tell you that in playing 20 minutes I was left short. But it was a joy to play football again, something incredible.
“Was this all a bad dream? No, I am a strong believer and I think everything is for a reason. I had to go through this stage of my life. I will give more strength to move forward and face my profession differently.
“When one approaches the end of their football career things look differently. After suffering this injury, I will enjoy the game much more than before.
“I have already noticed this. Every day it is a joy to train, to try and improve, to do something new.”