Pepe: Juve nightmare is finally over

The former Udinese player has made his comeback after more than one year out of action due to physical problems
Simone Pepe has voiced his delight with his return to match action for Juventus in the 3-0 Coppa Italia win over Avellino on Wednesday after a lengthy spell on the sidelines.

The 30-year-old had last featured for the Serie A champions on 17 November 2012, 396 days ago, in a goalless Serie A encounter with Lazio and he has thanked the fans for their support during a difficult period.

"It’s been a long way back but I feel I can say the nightmare is finally over," Pepe was quoted as saying on the official Juventus website.

"I need to work to regain full fitness and reach the same levels as my team-mates.

"I’m not one who easily gets emotional, but I must admit I felt it when I heard the crowd’s roar. I need to thank the fans, as well as my family and team-mates, for supporting me throughout."

Pepe then went on to discuss Juventus' chances of winning silverware this term and stressed that they have what it takes to enjoy a successful campaign.

"I think this team has developed even further since I was last in action, especially from a psychological point of view. There’s a long way to go, but we could certainly enjoy a satisfying season. Juventus have everything in place to do so."

The Bianconeri currently sit first in Serie A, holding a five-point lead over second-placed Roma.