Barcelona captain Carles Puyol feared a premature end to his career as he struggled to overcome a knee injury last season.
The 33-year-old defender barely featured for Barça last term after being diagnosed with tendinopathy in his left knee in January, with the Spain international playing in just four matches towards the end of the campaign.
After coming on as a late substitute in the UEFA Champions League final against Manchester United in May, Puyol then underwent a knee operation at the start of June that kept him sidelined for over three months.
Puyol has since returned to action with the Catalan giants and could play for Spain for the first time since last November in Friday's UEFA EURO 2012 qualifier against Czech Republic, but he admits there were times he felt he might have to hang up his boots.
He told Spanish television station Antena3 in an interview to be shown in full next week: "It's been eight months of suffering. It was a bad time because I didn't see a solution, I lost the strength in the leg and I couldn't play. It even went through my head to have to leave football."