Claudio Bravo has revealed a positive mental attitude was vital during his recovery from last season’s injury nightmare.
The 2018/19 season had barely begun when the Manchester City goalkeeper ruptured his Achilles tendon in training, forcing him to watch from the sideline as Pep Guardiola’s side swept the board in England.
Such was the severity of the injury and the success that followed, Bravo could have been forgiven for lamenting his misfortune, but he did quite the opposite.
The 36-year-old admits it was a tough period but he remained positive and having played in every minute of our preseason tour of Asia, he is looking forward with optimism rather than dwelling on past frustrations.
“I’m feeling well to be honest,” he said. “It’s already in the past. I left it behind when I started to train again.
“I’m very happy for the fact I had a good recovery and got back to my level, which was the main goal.
“It was tough. I spent three months nearly without moving. I could only use crutches but I was still very limited.
“I went through a couple of interventions and I couldn’t do much after them.
“It’s hard because you want to be there, playing your part (on the pitch), especially if you’re older and have to help the team.
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“But you have to be aware that you’re injured and focus on having a good recovery, especially with such a difficult injury.
“You have to be cautious and have your feet on the ground.
“You have to be aware of the fact that sort of injury can be severe and might force you to abandon your career.”
That last point, in particular, is enough to give any footballer sleepless nights.
Everybody wants to end their career on their own terms, rather than having it forcibly taken from them by circumstances beyond their control.
But knowledge, as they say, is power and Bravo equipped himself with the information that enabled him to process his injury and focus all his energy on recovering properly.
Doing so allowed him to embrace his recuperation with an optimistic focus.
“I was calm from day one,” he explained.
“I knew I would overcome the situation and nowadays, I’m feeling pretty happy about where I am, having left the injury behind – and a tough one at that.
“I was calmed because I know what these injuries mean. I was also well-informed about it – I read a lot about the injury and all you need is time and dedication.
“You have to work on it for a lot of time as well to avoid any relapse, and not worry about it after the recovery.
“I think both the physical and mental side are equally important. If you don’t have the right mindset, it’s going to be more difficult to overcome the situation and I think the body is just as important. In my case, my mindset was key.
“I had to go back to normality without any sign of tiredness or hassle in the area I had hurt. When you get there, it feels very positive.
“I feel good. The recovery was very good and within the expected times.
“I would like to thank my teammates and the people – the staff and the fans – who were also supportive.
“I have to thank them as it all helps to get through it.”