Tiago Mendes believes he’s learned about more than football in his Atletico Madrid career as he returns from a serious injury.
The midfielder broke his leg in November and it was estimated he’d miss four months, but only return in the final La Liga game of the campaign.
“I didn’t expect to miss such a long time. They talked about four months, but the truth is it was impossible. Everything was complicated and the team competing for every trophy didn’t help in that regard. They were at a level from which I was far away,” he admitted in an interview with AS.
“When the date [of four months] comes and you see you’re not even close to a return, it’s the worst. Every day becomes difficult. You want to feel good one day, and the next…you feel fatal. There were very difficult moments.
“Did I think about retiring? There were times that was in my head, but they weren’t very often. It’s a fight against yourself, because you know eventually you’ll be fine. With all the confidence in the world, teammates, the people, it’s impossible you could have to leave football.
“That was the most beautiful part of my injury, the affection of everyone. When Atletico fans saw me in the street they’d give me words of encouragement. It was the same on social media. To feel that love is the best trophy you can have. In life, not just football. To feel everyone loves you is the best you can have. It’s not easily put into words. I want to thank everyone for those signs of affection during my injury.
“Atletico is the club of my life. I owe a lot to other clubs, such as the one that gave me my debut, but Atletico is and will be the club of my life. I don’t know what will happen in the future, what I’ll do and if I continue to be devoted to football, but I can never hide this feeling. I’ve had more than a football lesson at Atletico. I’ve been taught a lot in life. Atletico has been a life lesson.”