Samir Nasri opens on a variety of topics in an exclusive chat with Sky Sports, including life away from football, his love for Arsenal and the future.
Nasri, who could make his return to the Premier League when his new club West Ham will face Arsenal on Saturday, live Sky Sports Premier League sat down for a chat on a number of subjects.
The former arsenal and Manchester City midfielder served a 18-month ban after receiving intravenous treatment at a Los Angeles clinic in December 2016 in violation of the World Anti-Doping Agency rules.
It opens on the difficulties he faced during his time away from football, while also talking about many other topics, including life at West Ham and his views on dealing with the Gunners.
Take him away, Samir ….
How do you feel about going back to the big stage again?
It's nice to come back to this stage again. I missed the Premier League and I lacked competition in general and only football.
In what spirit are you facing this challenge?
This experience was the worst of my career. It has changed me for the better. Now I see things differently. Before long you do not know how lucky you are to do this job. Now I take myself one day at a time, I try to enjoy it as much as possible and try to be as professional as possible to help my teammates because I thought that at some point I had lost.
How do you reflect on the ban?
I am still disappointed because I did not take any substance. It was just the vitamin dosage that was too much. I could do it in two days but I did it in just one day so I regretted it because I was sick, yes. I had a prescription, but it was not accepted yet. I lost a year of my career that went just like that and at one point they were talking about a four year suspension. Many things passed through my mind. I thought my career was over so having this second chance makes me lucky.
West Ham vs. Arsenal
12 January 2019, 11:30
How was it out of the game?
It was the worst feeling in the world. If you are not strong and you do not have the support of your family and your friends, I really think you can go into depression because it takes away what you love most and it just went like this. You do not know if you'll make it again.
For me, what made me continue and keep working was the fact that I have a child. I just want to leave something for him, a memory of seeing his father play and stuff like that. That's why I continued to work hard and fight for this suspension to be shorter, to return to the field.
How has this changed?
He changed me. Before I used to get more into the controversy. If I had heard of myself, we would have found each other. I would rather talk about being calm and an example for young people watching this sport. I have many regrets for what I think of my career, because I did not realize what I could do. The fact that he has a second chance makes me lucky and I want to enjoy it until the last moment.
As a result, do you feel more motivated than ever?
I want to prove to myself more than anything else that I still have and I can compete in the best league in the world.
Asked if there's more to come, he said: Yes, of course, because I'm not like a lot of 31-year-olds because I've been out of the game for a year. I still have legs and I want to prove it.
What was there in West Ham that made you feel the next step right?
Manuel Pellegrini and the fact that I had worked with him. You must think when you are a free agent and you have not played for a year, okay you will have offers but the most important thing is that you have to play. You have to go back to the level you used and what is best for you is to work with a manager who knows you, who knows your quality and also knows your little problems. I worked with him in the past and I had a great experience with him. The fact that he is the manager of West Ham made the decision really clear.
Were you worried that there was no way back to the game?
Of course, because I was silent too. People might think that I took a substance, that I really did something, or I took a drug, that's why I was out of the game. Of course, you have some doubts but I continued to believe it and my agent was there talking to the clubs. As I said, I'm lucky and blessed, that's why I want to enjoy it every day.
Your experience is a warning to other players?
What happened to me was because I was not aware of the details of this. I thought you could do what you want with a vitamin that was not banned. This experience can also serve other players and the new generation. Whenever you are sick you still need to be in touch with your doctor so he can tell you yes or no. The problem was two years ago, I did not talk like that, I was just like that.
What impact did Manuel Pellegrini have on your transfer to West Ham?
It had everything to do with this. I met in October and we talked a little bit about the past, about what happened in Manchester City because the first season was idyllic. We won the championship and we won the League Cup. After that it was a bit more difficult for me because at that time I was not as mature as I am now. I did not do everything right. I was not as professional as I am now, I was younger. We talked about everything and saw that I was a changed man and needed a player to add a little creativity to his side. The fact that he is the manager made the decision really easy for me.
What will be a successful season for Samir Nasri?
Having regular playing time. Having a mid-season without injuries, because when you come back from 13 months out of football your body may not recover as before. I just want to play as much as possible and help the team because they brought me here to add a little creativity, then some goals and assists, but mostly injuries.
How do you consider your time at Arsenal?
I loved it because I had a manager there who really believed in me. He was like a second dad. When I look at him I am happy with my three years there, but disappointed at the same time because we had so much quality. And it's just a pity that we did not win any silver with the players and the team we had, but I had good memories.
What were the highlights?
Arsene Wenger made me have this mentality to score goals and believe in my qualities From the top of my head, there was this match against Fulham where I scored two really beautiful goals. We won 2-1 and at the end of this game we were at the top of the standings. The goal against Porto, the goal against Tottenham in the derby. My last season was the season in which I scored many goals and it was nice
Do not you see the time to play against Arsenal?
I do not see the hour because it will hopefully be my first return to the Premier League. I was in the squad against Brighton but I was on the bench so it would have been nice. Also, in the past maybe we had a few words with Arsenal fans but, as I said, there is nothing but love for the club because I spent three wonderful years there. Before I used to say things about Arsenal because I was hurt by the treatment from the fans but it's nothing but love for Arsenal.
How sure are you the player you had before?
One hundred percent. If you do not believe in yourself, who will do it for you. I'm a boy who is safe and football is like riding a bike, not thinking about it anymore. Once you know how to do it you will always do it. The only thing is to recover my physical form and that's it, but my mentality is that I want to try something for myself. Show that I'm back and I lost only one year of my career. I do not want to regret it. I want to be able to say I was blessed, I was lucky enough to have a second chance and I got it.
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