Cristian Chivu has relived the moment from two years ago when he suffered a fractured skull when in action for Inter away to Chievo.
Early in the second half of the Nerazzurri’s visit to the Bentegodi in January 2010, the Romanian was stretchered off having clashed heads with Sergio Pellissier.
After undergoing two hours of surgery in Verona for a skull fracture, the player made a quick recovery to be back playing by the end of March, but still wears a protective hat during games as part of the legacy from the injury.
Inter return to the Bentegodi to face Chievo this Friday and with Chivu in the squad, it is in fact the first time he will be back in the city since the incident.
“It's true, this is the first time I've gone back to the stadium since then but I don't feel particularly emotional,” Chivu told Inter Channel on Thursday. “It's an away game like any other.
“Two years have passed and it's not something I really think about - I try to forget about it because that's the only way you can move forward.
“From the outside it might seem like a strange trip for me but it's not because I've never thought about it and I'm sure I never will.
“If I did, it would be impossible for me to go on a trip like this. I'd have to hold up my hand and say, 'Sorry, but I'm not going to Verona.' But it's not like that.”
The left-footed defender took time in his interview to thank those that operated on him and visited him during his stay in hospital in Verona.
“I must thank them again and I'll do that every time I talk about the incident, when I'm asked how I feel about going back to Verona.
“All I can do is thank the doctors who did their jobs so well and demonstrated their professionalism in a situation that can't have been easy to handle, considering all the pressure from the media as well.
“When Chievo came to San Siro earlier on in the season, I invited some of the medical team who looked after me during that week in hospital to the game. I also remember the mayor of Verona coming to visit me on the second day after my operation.
“Everyone showed great warmth and affection, and also that it was an important moment for them as a city and as a hospital. They did everything they could to do their jobs in the best way possible and I will always be grateful to them.”
Attention then turned to the team’s come-from-behind draw at home to Catania last weekend, which Chivu chose to look on positively in light of the previous few weeks of form.
“They are small steps but we have to settle for those at the moment because unfortunately this is the situation we're in.
“I believe we are a great team suffering from a psychological dip and we're finding it hard to get over it. It's not easy to deal with a month - like the February we've just had - in which you didn't win a match or even score a goal.
“Only in the last game did we show our pride, without playing particularly well though. That's the starting point for this team, to help us find ourselves again, perhaps with a little less pressure over whether we've scored or not.
“A point is a start and that's the way we have to look at it. We have to be smart enough to understand the spell we're going through and our shortcomings, show our pride and make the most of the positive moments during the game, while trying to suffer as little as possible.”
Think you know your Italian football? Share your knowledge, tips and comments to win cash prizes in OLBG's tipster competition - £5,000 monthly.