5 months and 1 day later. Sunday morning.
How many matches I missed since last February? How many weeks I spent doing absolutely nothing but thinking about the day I would come back on a football pitch?
Ok, it was just a friendly. A pre-season friendly against PSV, but hey, a match is a match, and I always want to win, no matter whom I play against.
I wasn't even supposed to play, that morning. But a shortage of players still on their summer holidays forced the manager to play me from the first minute, with my captain's armband back at its place.
Wearing football shoes, running and stretching before the match: familiar sensations, long forgotten. Seeing the same old faced around me and starting game with a quick run on the left side: unusual pains in the legs, still stiff after so many months.
But I was playing again. One pass, few missed tackled, one header without even jumping (my elevation is around 3 inches now).
And, after 15 minutes, the first goal of the season. Corner, someone's header, and without thinking I hit the ball with a nice tap in. 1-0 and I'm back to business.
I played only 45 minutes. 2-1 for us. Then the fitness level made the difference and we lost 2-3 against a much better fit team. But, even if we lost, for some reason I feel like I won. 8 months they said. No more football they confirmed, for a long, long time.
I still have a long metal bar living inside me, with 7 vicious pins holding my ankle together. I can live with that. As long as I'm able to play. To run. To win.
I'm so damn romantic when I talk about football.
And like Shane Falco said, pain heals, chicks dig scars but glory, glory lasts forever.
Bring it on.