The midfielder has been out of action since last September after being struck down by two separate eye conditions which left him wondering if he would ever returnAC Milan's Gennaro Gattuso has revealed that he thought about retiring during his lengthy absence from the game with eye problems.
The combative midfielder was diagnosed with diplopia in his left eye after colliding with team-mate Alessandro Nesta during the Rossoneri's Serie A clash with Lazio at San Siro back in September, and then it emerged during the winter break that he was suffering from ocular myasthenia.
However, Gattuso has now confirmed ahead of Milan's meeting with Lecce on Sunday that he is finally ready to return to competitive action.
“It has been my dream for a few months now, because I definitely miss football, more so than football misses me," the 34-year-old told Milan Channel.
“In recent months I have suffered a lot and I thought I would never return, but now all that has seemed to have passed.
“I thought about retiring ... but now who knows? This may have extended my career.
“I’ve been training with the squad for about 10 days, but I don’t believe I can play more than 25-30 minutes in a game. It is now down to the coach [Massimiliano Allegri].”
Gattuso's return represents a timely boost for Milan, who are still in shock after very nearly blowing a four-goal first-leg lead in their Champions League last-16 tie with Arsenal.
However, the former Italy international insists that the Rossoneri will not allow the flak they are currently copping for their 3-0 defeat at the Emirates on Tuesday night to get them down and also rejected reports that Allegri and forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic had a falling out after the loss to the Gunners.
“Yes we played a game short of our potential in London, but you must rest assured that the criticism I’m hearing will not distract us," the former Rangers man declared.
"You are at a club with a glorious badge on its chest and we should not expect compliments when we get beaten by three goals at Arsenal.
“The important thing is to stay compact as a team. Today [Thursday], I saw only smiles between us all, nobody was taking part in any fights.
“We must not fall into the traps set by the newspapers and TV. Today I was reading about the argument between [Massimiliano] Allegri and Ibra. We are 30 players and we are comfortable.
“Ibra is hot-headed and doesn’t like to lose - even in training.”
Gattuso, who has been capped 73 times by Italy, joined Milan from Salernitana in 1999.