Monday, 15th October, 2012
Ibrahim Afellay has set himself the goal of returning to Barcelona.
The Holland international was deemed surplus to requirements by the Blaugrana over the summer and sent to German giants Schalke on a season-long loan.
Now at Schalke, Afellay is enjoying regular playing time and, he hopes, it will help him to be ready to return to Barcelona and fight for a place in Tito Vilanova’s squad next year.
"It is my goal to return to Barcelona", commented the 26-year-old, before adding that, having endured a serious injury at the Camp Nou, he is taking nothing for granted.
"But it is equally important to enjoy the game, even more than before, because you can’t take it for granted that you are fit and healthy and on the pitch.
"You realise it all the more when you go through an experience like that."
Afellay’s tearing of a cruciate ligament, which kept him out of action from September 2011 until April 2012, has helped him to learn to fight back against the odds however.
"I think I have proved that I can handle adversity very well.
"For a footballer, nothing is worse than a ligament tear.
"That I could get back on my feet so quickly says something about my mental strength."
Afellay has made six appearances in the Bundesliga for Schalke so far this season, also enjoying a taste of the Champions League with two substitute stints in Europe’s premier club competition.