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19 Dec 2013 - in: Coppa Italia

Pepe delight at first-team return

The winger reflects on a memorable comeback appearance in front of his adoring public: “I’m not one who easily gets emotional, but I must admit that I felt it when I heard the crowd’s roar tonight”

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.”