Samir Nasri revealed that he’s 18-month ban left him in tears over the effect it may have had on his career and is now determined to prove he deserves his second chance
The French midfielder made his return to football on Saturday by debuting for West Ham in their 2-0 FA Cup third-round win over Birmingham City with his last game being back in November 2017.
The Hammers have signed up Nasri on a six-month contract with an option of extending it for next season, depending on how things progress between now and June.
And Nasri, who was banned from football for breaching the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) rules in 2016, is determined to prove his worth to everyone.
“When I signed, I told the boss that I wanted only one thing; to show everyone that I can still be that guy,” Nasri told the club website.
“I want to prove it to myself. I want to look at myself in the mirror and be able to say ‘You came back and did everything in the right way’.
“It’s for my son as well. He’s too young right now but when he sees me play, it has to be competitively.
“I could have gone somewhere exotic but I wanted to be back in a competitive league and prove to myself I can still be doing it. My determination is there. I just want to make a contribution to this team.
“We are blessed and lucky to be able to play every game with 60,000 people at the stadium. I was so excited to step out at London Stadium in front of those fans.”
The 31-year-old could feature in Saturday’s home game against his old club Arsenal, who he played for between 2008 to 2011.
“The support of the fans is really important to us if we want to achieve things this year and I think we have to potential to do it,” added Nasri.
“I’m looking forward to the next game, a derby against Arsenal so I’m sure the atmosphere will be even crazier.
“The competition, the dressing room, and to be back on the pitch, that’s all I was waiting for, for a whole year.
“I had some really tough moments when I was really down. I’m a guy who, mentally, I’m really strong, but for maybe the first time in my life, I cried about my career because I thought it was over.
“But now, coming back to the most competitive league in the world, with a team full of ambition with a manager that I know, and with a stadium like this. Man! It’s the best job in the world!”
The game between West Ham and Arsenal will begin at 13:30 (CET) on Saturday at the London Stadium.