Leandro Castan has set his sights on helping Roma challenge Juventus for the Serie A title next season after returning from brain surgery.
Castan has not featured in the league since September and underwent a successful operation in December to remove a cavernoma – a cluster of abnormal blood vessels in his brain – after suffering acute dizziness.
Last month the Brazilian international was cleared to resume his career, after being slowly reintroduced to training towards the end of last season.
Now the 28-year-old is keen to be involved from the start of the new campaign, and repay the faith shown in him by Roma to boost their title hopes.
“I want to help the club, Rudi Garcia and my team-mates to try and achieve our objective, which is to win [Serie A],” he said.
“When the doctor told me I might not be able to play again, it hurt. [Sporting director Walter] Sabatini called me at Trigoria [the club’s training ground], and told me I had to stay.
“I thank him for not releasing me, and making me feel like a footballer. He gave me the strength not to give up. It was very important, I won’t forget it.
“I’ve missed the Olimpico. I’m working to return to my level and hope to be there for the first day of Serie A
“I hope that myself, Kevin Strootman and Maicon can all give Roma what we couldn’t offer last year.”
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