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Afellay thrilled to be back on the pitch

Barcelona’s Ibrahim Afellay was ecstatic after making his return to competitive action after seven months out with a knee injury.

The Dutchman tore his anterior cruciate ligament during a training session on September 22 last year but featured as a substitute in Barca’s 7-0 rout of Rayo Vallecano in their La Liga clash on Sunday.

Afellay was both relieved and thrilled to be back on the field, though he insisted that he never doubted he would don the Barca jersey again this term.

“You know the moment will come some day but you don’t know when,” the Netherlands international said.

“I’m so happy to return. I just want to play football. I’ve worked hard during the team’s training sessions and I’m very pleased (to be back).”

Meanwhile, Afellay expressed his disappointment at coach Pep Guardiola’s decision to stand down at the end of the season, but argued that the Catalans have the ideal replacement in current assistant boss Tito Vilanova.

“It’s a shame because Pep for me is one of the best coaches in the world,” the 26-year-old attacker said of Guardiola.

“But Tito is about equal because they have worked together many years and I think we will continue just the same.”

Afellay, who has been capped 36 times by his country, joined Barca from PSV during last year’s January transfer window.

Mon 30 April, 2012
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