Arsenal's Laurent Koscielny advises Hector Bellerin to 'enjoy life' during injury absence

Laurent Koscielny discusses Hector Bellerin's injury and whether he thinks Arsenal need to sign a replacement

Laurent Koscielny has advised Hector Bellerin to "enjoy life" away from football as he recovers from injury, and expects the defender to come back stronger when he does return.

Arsenal right-back Bellerin has been ruled out for six to nine months after rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament against Chelsea.

Koscielny recently returned from a seven-month injury lay-off after rupturing his Achilles in May.

Asked about Bellerin's injury, he told Sky Sports: "Like I said to him yesterday, put football on the side and enjoy a bit of your life with your family and friends.

"He is starting a new chapter of his career. It will be long but he is a strong boy and I know he has the people around him to help him and be back as soon as possible and stronger than before.

ST ALBANS, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 17: of Arsenal during a training session at London Colney on October 17, 2018 in St Albans, England. (Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
Image: Laurent Koscielny and Hector Bellerin in training together

"He knows all the team are here to help him because we know he will have some difficult moments during his rehab, like Rob [Holding] and Danny [Welbeck], but they know all the team are here and behind them to help them come back with us and help us to have results together."

Koscielny has played eight first-team games since his return and scored in Arsenal's 2-0 win over Chelsea at the weekend.

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He says he had some "hard moments" during his recovery, including missing France's World Cup win, but that he is now enjoying football even more.

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"It was very hard during some moments because I missed the World Cup," said the Arsenal captain. "But you learn a lot about life, you are more positive about football because you know it's just a small part of your life, and you have some good things off the pitch.

"I discovered a lot about life so I was surprised about that. I was very focused on my rehab so sometimes you are in a bubble and you can't see people trying to help you to be back as soon as possible.

"It's important to open your eyes because there are good things. Now I am more positive about my life and career and try to keep the negative things outside of my body.

Pedro shows his concern for Hector Bellerin as he's taken off the pitch on a stretcher
Image: Bellerin was injured in the 2-0 win over Chelsea

"When you are a football player you are focused on football, media, results and you forget a lot of things around you. You can forget family and kids a bit because you are with your team-mates all the time. It's important to open your eyes and enjoy life as well as your football career.

"I enjoy my career more now than before I was injured because I learned a lot about football and life. I just want to enjoy it."

Koscielny, 33, also says he never had any intention of retiring.

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Highlights from Arsenal's 2-0 win over Chelsea in the Premier League

"When I was injured I asked how long and they knew I would be back. I am a fighter and when I have a challenge in front of me I give 100 per cent to win. This was a big fight, and long, but at the end I am smiling.

"When I came back into the team I played three games in a row so it was difficult because physically I was OK and mentally too, but it was more about the rhythm of the game. It's very different.

"You can train every day but the game is so special and physically it's different to training. I needed to careful with my body because after seven months of work I didn't want to be injured after three games. I talk a lot with the medical staff and the coach to know if it's good for me to train or play.

"Now I am better and when we have one game in a week it's easier for me to recover and be 100 per cent for the weekend."

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