Simone Pepe was unable to conceal his delight after making his long-awaited comeback from injury during tonight’s 3-0 Coppa Italia last 16 win over Avellino at Juventus Stadium.
The winger’s last involvement for Antonio Conte’s reigning champions came on 17 November 2012, 396 days ago, in a goalless Serie A encounter with Lazio.
And after working his way through a physically and psychologically challenging rehabilitation process, it’s no wonder the emotion of hearing the crowd sing his name again struck a chord with the fans’ favourite.
Speaking after the game, Pepe said: “It’s been a long way back but I feel I can say the nightmare is finally over. 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 tonight. I need to thank the fans, as well as my family and team-mates, for supporting me throughout.”
“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.”