Abou Diaby has admitted that he almost retired from football altogether after suffering a serious knee injury last season.
The French midfielder has not played a game for Arsenal since March 2013 after suffering cruciate ligament damage but has now returned to the first team set up.
Appearing in the matchday squad for the first time in over a year against West Brom, Diaby admits he was close to calling quits after being told of the injury.
"It was the longest absence of my career,” Diaby told L’Equipe.
“You ask yourself questions. You ask yourself if you are still a football player.
"You think of abandoning it all. I said to myself, ‘I've had enough. I stop here. I've had enough of treatment and rehab'.
"I spoke about it with my parents, brothers, sisters and my friends. Then I woke up one morning and said, ‘No, it's out of the question’. I quickly saw sense.
“It's true that it's been hard because I've had a lot of injuries. I am a believer and in my faith despair doesn’t exist. You have to persevere, always. Never give up, whatever the difficulties."
Diaby only has a year left on his contract at Arsenal and there has been no indication from Arsene Wenger that the injury-prone star will be offered new terms.
Although he may not have a future at the Emirates Stadium, Diaby still believes he has plenty to offer in football and could play at the top level for another six years at least.
He added: "Then I'm only 27, nearly 28. It's not as if I'm 33. I still have five, six years in front of me. Maybe more.”
Diaby did not come off the bench for Arsenal during their 1-0 win over the Baggies but could be given a run out in their last game of the season against Norwich.
Arsenal have sealed fourth place and have almost no chance of catching Chelsea in third, so Wenger could choose to play some squad players ahead of the FA Cup final a week later.
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