AC Milan midfielder Gennaro Gattuso has vowed to come back stronger from a potentially career-threatening eye injury.
Milan midfielder suffering with eye problem
AC Milan midfielder Gennaro Gattuso has vowed to come back stronger from a potentially career-threatening injury that will keep him sidelined for around six months.
The 33-year-old has already been out of action for more than a month after being substituted during his side's Serie A opener against Lazio on 9th September.
He had to be replaced after colliding with team-mate Alessandro Nesta and was later diagnosed with sixth nerve palsy, a disorder associated with the dysfunction of the cranial nerve that controls eye movement.
"That (collision) was not the cause of my problem, but it was an incident that helped me discover I had one," Gattuso said in a press conference.
"The 20 minutes I played against Lazio were a nightmare.
"I felt drunk. I could see (AC Milan team-mate) Zlatan Ibrahimovic in four different positions."
The 2006 World Cup winner, who has been at Milan since 1999, is set to miss most of the rest of the season as he will not be able to undergo an operation for another four months.
"In 25 per cent of cases the palsy of the sixth optic nerve occurs for unknown reasons," explained Milan's chief medical officer Rodolfo Tavana. "Often this kind of problem clears up by itself in a period of two to six months."
Gattuso is determined to overcome the biggest battle in his career.
"Football is my life," he said. "I'm a lucky man.
"Three weeks ago doctors told me there was a chance I might never play again, but now they are saying that is not the case and I will fight hard to return.
"For a while I was seriously scared about my health and worried for my life, but now I have undergone several tests I'm calmer.
"It'll take more than this to beat me. The important thing is to not give up.
"I feel an important part of the dressing room here. I feel respected after playing here for so long.
"My team-mates know I'm full of enthusiasm, so age is certainly not a problem. As long as the enthusiasm is there, I can keep playing.
"I hope you will see me back on the football pitch."
The former Rangers midfielder hopes his condition, which has affected his daily life, will improve.
"Before I had triple vision, now I see double," he said. "There has been some improvement.
"I can train, but I can't play because I can't see well enough.
"Right now I can't send an email, I can't watch TV, I can't drive and it's tough not to be able to take my children to school.
"I will need to wait another four months before an operation can take place to resolve everything.
"The important thing is to get back to normal life and to come out of this stronger than ever."