Former Swansea City forward Michu made his return to the pitch after over 14 months out on Thursday but has revealed how he is still battling with an ongoing ankle injury.
The Spaniard scored 22 goals for Swansea in 2012-13 after being signed from Rayo Vallecano for £2million.
His performances in England saw him earn a call-up to the Spain national team in 2013, with Vicente del Bosque handing him his one and only appearance in a 2014 World Cup qualifier against Belarus.
The 29-year-old struggled to recreate his heroics the following season, scoring just twice in 17 Premier League appearances.
A persistent issue with his ankle curtailed his career, with Michu released by Swansea after an unsuccessful loan deal with Serie A outfit Napoli.
Michu signed a deal with Spanish fourth-tier side Langreo last month, making his return to action after over a year on the sidelines in a 3-0 win against over local rivals Covadonga.
And the striker revealed just how difficult his battle with his depleted ankle has been.
“There’s always some pain. I hardly know what it is like to play without pain but I felt good,” he told The Guardian.
“It’s been so long. I remember my last game…it was an artificial pitch and I lasted 60 minutes and then my ankle said: ‘Enough.’
“Now I hope to rise again. I’m not really planning anything: enjoy the next session, then play a bit longer in the next game. Then we’ll see if I can compete at a higher level or not.
“I can play. The problem is: what level? I would love to reach the level I was at again, or who knows if even higher, but it will be difficult, I know that. I came here to be happy.
“It’s football, whatever level you’re at. I’m playing, competing. Long-term plans? None.”
Hernan Perez, his brother and coach at Langreo, added: “He has suffered terribly: many people would have thrown in the towel already.”
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