AC Milan midfielder Gennaro Gattuso has revealed that for him just playing football again is akin to winning the Champions League.
The former Italy international made his first Serie A start for the Rossoneri since the opening day of the season in Tuesday's 1-0 win over Chievo, after seven months on the sidelines battling an ocular condition called myasthenia.
Gattuso freely admits that there were days when he thought he might never return and is therefore savouring every second he gets to spend on a football field.
"For me, training and playing is like winning the Champions League on a personal level," the 34-year-old told Milan Channel.
"If you go on Google and type in myasthenia, you’ll see that it’s a condition that takes away your muscles. But I’m here and I’m still playing.
"I feel strong and I’m proud of myself. I don’t want it to be about me though, for anyone watching who’s ill, I say that within the limits of possibility, you can still fight.
"If you feel strong, you can make it even against illness. I said back in October that it wouldn’t be easy to keep me down.”
Gattuso lasted an hour in Verona but admitted that he struggled with the pace of the game.
“Yesterday, I only played 60 minutes but it seemed like an eternity," he explained. "I feel lucky, though.
"Today I’m here and even if I have to take cortisone everyday to be a player, I’ll do it because I have this passion inside of me."
Gattuso, who has 73 Azzurri caps to his name, joined Milan from Salernitana in 1999.
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