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The Arsenal midfielder has not played for the club this season but remains hopeful of earning a spot on the Les Bleus' squad for Brazil

Abou Diaby is refusing to give up on his World Cup dream as he battles back to full fitness.

The Arsenal midfielder suffered an ACL injury in training last year and has not made a single appearance for the north Londoners this season.

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But the 27-year-old has now revealed he is close to a first-team return and has set his sights on earning a shock call-up to France's squad for the Brazil showpiece at the end of the season.

"I make progress,” he told France Football. “I do not ask myself questions, I work hard because I know that after that I will play.

“In my head, I still feel like a footballer, like a top athlete. I never thought of giving up.

“It does not mean that there were no difficult moments sometimes, but there are people who live through much harder things in life. I know my reward will be in the pleasure of playing.

“I’ve never given up hope of going to the World Cup. Thinking of that has kept me going. Once I’m back on pitch, everything’s possible."

Diaby has also been hailed by his fitness trainer Renaud Longuevre, who believes “nine players of ten” would have retired had they suffered the same kind of injuries as the midfielder.

“Nine players of ten would have given up after that ankle injury,” he said.

“But contrary to the image of a fragile man in the media, Abou is Highlander! He is impervious to all these twists of fate. He always comes back.”

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