Simone Pepe admits that he was able to put behind him two years of injury woe in a five-minute spell for Juventus at the weekend.
The 30-year-old, who has barely featured for the Old Lady in the past two seasons through repeated issues with injury, came off the bench to indirectly set up an equaliser against an A-League All-Star XI on 88 minutes, before then scoring the winner three minutes into injury time.
“It’s as if I were a new purchase. Certainly Juve have a new player,” Pepe has considered to Tuttosport on his return to action.
“I have to thank my girlfriend and our daughter, who for two years have always given me a lot of strength. And my parents and my brother, because they have had a lot of patience.
“It is not that I have made things crazy at home, I am not one to bring home my work problems. But for a professional footballer, to play is life. And I have been away from the professional route for two years. But luckily I had a gorgeous family at my side.”
It was put to Pepe that those five minutes between setting up the one goal and scoring the other saw him successfully move on from recent fitness struggles.
“Yeah, from that cross that I produced, from which came Pogba’s goal, up until my winning goal, five minutes passed.
“And in those five minutes passed two years, the last two. I have moved on, not by magic, but finally cast it behind me. And those five minutes were important for me and for the team.
“I suffered for two years because the injury was very bad, and I returned and returned and could not shake it off. However, I knew that eventually I would. I never had any doubt, even in the worst moments of the relapse.
“Now I have an objective to reach 100 per cent condition. And then I can say, I’m back. I put myself totally available to Allegri, he decides where I will play, I just have to be ready, at my best.”
Pepe turned his attention to work this summer under Massimiliano Allegri - the Coach has complained of mistakes made by the team.
“We are working hard in training and especially for this we have encountered we encountered many difficulties in the game. We faced a team in good condition, so they ran and never stopped. From the bench I saw it immediately. Then I saw it even closer, when I came on.
“The truth is that we are going to suffer in this period, there is progress in pre-season, the effort is great, we are improving day after day.
“But there is no concern, there is no alarm. The problem, if anything, is being able to reach our top condition quickly.
“Because at the end of the month the season begins. And it is precisely for this reason that we are working like madmen.”