Manchester United playmaker Shinji Kagawa has admitted that, during his darkest moments at Old Trafford this season, he thought his "spirit would break".
The 25-year-old, who has made 23 starts this term under David Moyes and Ryan Giggs, has been linked with a return to Borussia Dortmund after enduring another frustrating campaign with the Red Devils. However, the Japan international hopes the bad moments will make the good times feel all the sweeter.
"This year the manager changed and it has been a really hard year in many ways," Kagawa is quoted as saying by Sky Sports. "There have been times when I thought my spirit would break and I just thought: 'I have to believe in myself'.
"In the end it has been a really disappointing season, what with not scoring a single goal, but I never slacked off in training or matches.
"I have experienced a lot in Europe over these four years. I had won the league the previous three years and I think it has been really good for me to experience both good times and bad."
Manchester United signed Kagawa for £12m in June 2012, but the attacking midfielder has often flattered to deceive. This season, from 30 appearances, he has failed to score a single goal. Last season, under the management of Sir Alex Ferguson, he netted six goals from 26 games.
Despite his poor form at club level, Kagawa will be in Brazil next month for the World Cup finals. This will be his first appearance at a World Cup finals - he was left out of the Japan team in 2010 - and he can't wait to get to South America.
"Over these past four years my goal has been Brazil and I think I am here now because I fought and believed in myself," he added. "I have dreamed about the World Cup stage since I was little. I am not only going to enjoy it, I want to attach my mind to getting results.
"For the team I think our first game against Ivory Coast is crucial. Obviously we are in it to win the tournament but that is not something you can say lightly and I want to focus on Ivory Coast."
"I am relieved but simply being a member of the team is not my goal. My aim is to deliver results."
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