--Jorge Andrade looking towards Juventus comeback
Jorge Andrade says he hopes to return to playing football at the highest level, as he continues to work towards his comeback from an injury-ridden last couple of years.
The 30-year-old has not played for 18 months, since damaging his knee three games after signing for Italian giants Juventus. The Portuguese international had hoped to return to action at the start of this season, only to suffer a relapse last summer while preparing for the new campaign.
It was Andrade’s fourth serious injury in a little over two years, as blows to his left knee saw the former Porto man miss both the 2006 World Cup in Germany and last summer’s European Championships, leading to genuine fears over his future in top-level football.
“Psychologically and physically, I could not be better,” he said of his progress. “The stage of crutches and other complications has passed, I am working more and more on the training pitch, the outlook is good. I am very happy.
“This is part of the profession, I look at it as such. The injuries came at times I did not want - before a World Cup and a European Championships - but I am trying to get back to playing as soon as possible. I have a lot of willpower to do so.
“Can I return to the highest level? Yes, of course. I am working for that and the recuperation is working towards that, to again give the positive impression I had given up until now. I expect it to happen. I am over the problems and I am looking ahead.”
Still a Juve player
Andrade’s injury nightmare led to suggestions that Juventus were looking to terminate his contract, which runs until next summer, but the defender refutes those reports. “Juventus is my club. Every day I have done my physiotherapy, I have been thinking I am a Juventus player. This is my future. On the contrary to what was reported, I did not rescind my contract.
“I can say here with complete calm that my contract with Juventus is in power, nobody can rescind unilaterally and I am going to be a Juventus player up to the last day of my contract. I am going to continue to fight every day to come back to the highest level.
As a player and man known for his humility, Andrade refuses to look for sympathy for his plight, and hopes to return to action as soon as possible, although no specific date has been scheduled for his comeback to the game.
“I do not have a set date. I know it will be soon, but I don’t want to rush myself. I am entirely dedicated. In football, we work in a group, but I have to be a little selfish and dedicate myself to me, taking myself away from everything and everybody and concentrating only on the recuperation: the physiotherapy, the gym work and the swimming pool.
“Do I feel like an unlucky player? Unlucky is a player who hits the post with the last penalty of a European competition and loses the trophy. An unlucky player could not have had the career I have, which was always progressing: Amadora, FC Porto, Deportivo La Coruna, Selecao, Juventus.”