Ilkay Gundogan has opened up about a scary time in his career when he feared he might never play football again.
The 25-year-old Germany international, who signed for Manchester City at the beginning of the current season, suffered a serious back injury while with Borussia Dortmund in 2013 and was out of the game for over a year.
After undergoing successful surgery and rehabilitation, he returned to action, and was soon back to his best.
Speaking to Sky Sports, he explained: "It took me in total 14 months to recover from this.
"It was quite a long time where I didn't want to have surgery too early because surgery of the spine, for a footballer especially, is not easy, and of course it is dangerous.
"I was really scared, and I didn't know if I was ever able to play football again. It was quite difficult, tough, but with the support of my family, friends, and my former team, it was possible to handle it."
He added: "I never lost my focus, I always tried to join the team, and in the end, we decided to have the surgery. I found a really nice doctor, who made me feel very comfortable, and it was the right decision in the end.
"After three months of rehab, I was back in professional football. Sometimes life is really strange."
It was his good form that prompted City to turn to the German, with the club eventually parting with £20 million for his services.
Gundogan added that it was also his dream to one day play in a different league after eight years playing in Germany.
"It was always my aim to play in a different league one day, and with Man City, and when I heard about the option of joining Man City, it was just the perfect moment.
"The mix of the club, manager, team-mates, it was just very special for me. It was a very good alternative, and I didn't want to miss it.
"I let everyone know I wanted to do that, and they accepted that, which is something I appreciate, because doing a transfer is not always easy. The way they treated me was very well."