Juventus winger Pepe targets pre-season return

The 29-year-old has spent all but 20 minutes of the current campaign on the sidelines with a serious knee injury, but he is now nearing a return to competitive action
Juventus winger Simone Pepe has revealed that he is confident of being fully fit for the start of next season having suffered a torrid 2012-13.

The 29-year-old has managed just 20 minutes of action this season after undergoing a succession of injury setbacks but still received a rapturous welcome after taking his place on the podium for the Bianconeri's Scudetto celebrations in Turin on Saturday evening.

Pepe was touched by the way in which he was welcome to the stage and is now even more determined than ever to return to action before the summer is out.

"It was a great success and I still feel part of it even though I’ve hardly played," the Italy international is quoted as saying by Juve's official website.

"The manager, staff and team-mates have always been close to me and the fans have continued to applaud me.

"I’d also point out that even though I’ve only played 20 minutes, I’ve done well in the past. But now I want to repay all this support. I’m doing rehabilitation and hope to be ready for pre-season in July. I’m 100 per cent raring to go."

Pepe, who has been capped 23 times by his country, joined the Bianconeri from Udinese in 2010.