Malaga striker Julio Baptista is hoping he can return to action within the next three weeks following a series of injuries.
The Brazilian international’s last official game was in a 3-2 win over Getafe at the beginning of October 2011, when he scored the winner with a spectacular scissor-kick, but since then he has had a succession of injuries.
The latest is a torn Achilles tendon picked up in training during the summer that required an operation, but the former Sevilla, Real Madrid, Arsenal and Roma man believes there is now some light at the end of the tunnel.
“I hope to be able to come back at the end of November or early December,” he told a Press conference. “I’m targeting the [Copa del Rey] game against Cacereno as I’ve been out a long time and am very excited, but I want my life to get back to normal the way it used to be.
“It’s now been four months of recuperation since my operation and we are more or less where the doctor said I would be. I’m training and doing all the other activities but to play I need a few more training sessions with my teammates.
“After so much time I need to get up to the level to be able to play in La Liga but I’m going to do everything I can. Every day I’m working hard to do that and now I just need some more training and games.”
The 31-year-old is confident his injury setbacks are now a thing of the past and is sure there will be no recurrence of his problems in the future.
“I’ve lost the weight I gained after more than a year without playing and I honestly have no fear of the injuries flaring up again.
“I’m already integrated into the squad and my body feels better all the time, so I’m happy. It’s been hard and strange but things like this happen in life.
“My happiest day was when I returned to training and playing. I was tremendously glad just to touch the ball and be with my teammates. It was incredible.”
Despite losses in their last two home fixtures, Baptista believes the team will return to the level it was at during the impressive start to the season.
“When you play so many consecutive games it doesn’t give you time to train and perhaps that’s why we lost. Teams know how we play and make things difficult, but we’ll soon return to how we were and start playing well again.”
Questioned on the non-payment of players by the club’s Qatari owners, the Beast refused to be drawn.
“We have to stay on the edge of things, try to train and think only of playing well. The extra-sporting issues will be sorted out,” he concluded.