It took so long that Erik Lamela began to doubt whether or not he’d ever play again after being out of action for 13 months due to a hip injury which required two surgeries in a six-week period to correct.
In the end, Lamela made it back from what he calls “the worst time of [his] life” and made his return to action in Tottenham Hotspur’s 2-1 defeat to Leicester City on Tuesday — quotes from the Guardian:
“It was crazy. It was probably the worst time of my life. I really wanted to play but it took too long, my injury.
“In really bad times you always think the worst. But my family was always with me and the supporters wanted me on the pitch, they bring me energy to work every day and to never give up. I’m here today because I really wanted it, and when you really want something you can do it. The manager and all the staff honestly were amazing. They were always with me, behind me. All of us wanted the same thing — me playing. Sometimes you have to respect the times and today I feel better.”
Exactly 400 days elapsed between Lamela’s last appearance for Tottenham — Oct. 25, 2016 — and Tuesday’s return. The 25-year-old Argentine made an instant impact for Spurs, as he replaced Christian Eriksen in the 77th minute and slotted the inch-perfect through ball to Harry Kane to make the score 2-1 in the 79th.
“Of course, I can get much better, I am still not 100 percent, but I am good enough to play and I’m happy to be back.”
Lamela’s time away wasn’t all bad, though. He became a father for the first time on Saturday.