Barcelona defender Carles Puyol has admitted he thought he may have to retire during his lay-off with a knee injury.
The veteran centre back, who missed Euro 2012 with the problem, gave an account of his recovery on the website 55dslstories.com.
“The worst thing in football is injuries, and I have suffered a few,” Puyol began. “There was one in particular where I thought I was going to have to retire.
“I worked every day and afternoon with my physio Juanjo Brau. For a few days it would seem the trouble was leaving, but only for a moment, it always reappeared.
“After four months I finally had to go under the knife. Though it was my first operation, entering the operation room is always a little scary. I had no other options. At that time many things go through your head. You raise the possibility that you may not be able to play anymore.”
Strangely the turning point for Puyol came with a visit to renowned party island Ibiza.
“One day I was talking with Juanjo and said a change of scenery would be good. I told him I would go to Ibiza. He didn't like the idea because many associate Ibiza with party, but luckily I convinced him.
“I went with my brother and best friend and continued training until things looked like they were getting better. The acid test was a run on the beach at Ses Salines. I managed to do it without pain, and I was as happy as when you win a title. We had many hours training, but in those 55 minutes I saw the light that I had long needed to see.”
The Spanish international returned to action for the Blaugrana in the recent Champions League match against Benfica, but unfortunately dislocated his elbow. He should be back in eight weeks.