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Dublin: 4°C Wednesday 21 April 2021

'I had some tough moments' - West Ham's Nasri feared his career was over with 18-month doping ban

The French forward joined the Hammers in December and will face his former side Arsenal at the weekend.

'For maybe the first time in my life, I cried about my career because I thought it was over,' says Nasri.
'For maybe the first time in my life, I cried about my career because I thought it was over,' says Nasri.
Image: PA Wire/PA Images

SAMIR NASRI ADMITS that he was in tears thinking his career was over when he was handed an 18-month ban, but is glad he has been given another chance to do “the best job in the world” as West Ham gear up to face his former side Arsenal.

Nasri fell foul of football’s anti-doping regulations in 2016 after receiving an intravenous drip designed to ‘keep him hydrated and in top health during his busy soccer season with Sevilla’, but has since been handed a short-term contract with an ambitious Hammers side.

A tough trip to the Emirates Stadium lies in wait for West Ham this weekend, a ground at which Nasri spent three years earlier in his career, and the two-time Premier League winner is determined to show his quality in what will be a “crazy” atmosphere.

I’m a guy who, mentally, I’m really strong, but for maybe the first time in my life, I cried about my career because I thought it was over,” Nasri told West Ham’s official website.

“I had some really tough moments when I was really down.

“But now, coming back to the most competitive league in the world, with a team full of ambition with a manager that I know, and with a stadium like this… Man! It’s the best job in the world!

“The competition, the dressing room, and to be back on the pitch, that’s what I was waiting for, for a whole year.

“I’m looking forward to the next game, a derby against Arsenal so I’m sure the atmosphere will be even more crazy.”

The Premier League is arguably at a level of quality never seen before, with new club owners and lucrative broadcasting rights seeing teams bringing in higher quality players from all over the world.

A knock-on effect of that is increased competition for the top spots, but Nasri feels that he has joined a club with all the right ingredients to be one of the best in England.

West Ham United v Brighton & Hove Albion - Premier League - London Stadium Nasri warming-up for West Ham ahead of their recent Premier League clash with Brighton. Source: EMPICS Sport

“You choose a club and a project because of the ambition, and I think that West Ham has everything to be one of the biggest clubs,” he said. “This team has a lot of quality which has the potential to finish high up the league.

“Just look at some of the names the club has brought in. Felipe Anderson was the new wonderkid when he signed for Lazio, and two or three years ago they were talking about a move to Manchester United.

“Jack Wilshere, I know him from when he first came in at Arsenal. He was a wonderkid and he is a special player.

“[Andriy] Yarmolenko – same thing. Chicharito – same thing. This squad is full of talent and has the right ingredients for this team to go really high.”

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