Laurent Koscielny believes he’s started a new chapter in his career following his return from injury.
The Frenchman ruptured his Achilles in the second leg of Arsenal’s Europa League semi-final defeat to Atletico Madrid in May.
His return to action came on Thursday, seven months on, as the Gunners defeated Qarabag 1-0.
“It was the first big injury of my career and I had to take a long time out, but you learn a lot about yourself and I am very happy,” Koscielny said, per BBC Sport.
"It was my last day of rehab, so now I start a new chapter in my career."
Arsenal’s chances of winning the Europa League were dealt a serious blow when Koscielny came off in the 12th minute at the Wanda Metropolitano.
Calum Chambers came on but Diego Costa made the most of a gaping hole in Arsenal’s defence to score the goal that would settle the tie.
Costa's message to Arsenal's medics
A new documentary that follows Koscielny through his rehabilitation has now been released.
In the video, which you can watch below, Dr. Gary O’Driscoll, the Head of Sports Medicine at Arsenal, reveals how Costa reacted when Koscielny complained that the Spanish striker had kicked him.
“Laurent was in significant pain and he said to me: 'He kicked me! He kicked me!'" O’Driscoll says in the Laurent Koscielny: Stronger documentary.
“Diego Costa came to us and tapped me on the shoulder and said: ‘I did not kick him, I heard a snap.'
“The fact that there was an audible snap on the pitch and there was no-one near him just indicated that this was a serious injury and one that hadn’t been caused by a foul.”
Incredible. Such was the pain that Koscielny actually thought Costa kicked him
Griezmann visited Koscielny at HT
Koscielny’s injury had a clear impact on the players and O’Driscoll recalled the scene in the dressing room at half-time.
In a clear sign of just how admired the centre-back is, Atletico forward Antoine Griezmann, Koscielny’s former France teammate, visited him during the interval and the two shared an embrace.
“The half-time whistle went and suddenly all the players came in. The level of endearment and respect and love for Laurent was apparent straight away.
“All the players came over, there was lots of hugs. And then the team went off for the team talk. I stayed with Laurent.
“And then there was a very emotional moment when one of the players from the opposition came in and it was Antoine Griezmann.
“He walked in and he went over and he put his arm round him. The two of them had a fond embrace, even a cuddle and it was a prolonged one.
“Griezmann didn’t say to me: ‘How bad is this?’
“They looked at each other and they almost knew what the implications were.
“I think that made a big impression on Laurent. He knew not only that he was cared for and loved within the dressing room but that also that people outside were all thinking of him and were all caring about what was going to happen next while also being aware that this was probably the end of his World Cup.”
Fair play, Antoine. He ignored the enormity of the match to show support to a friend.
You can watch the entire Koscielny documentary below.News Now - Sport News