Arsenal captain Laurent Koscielny said he finally had a smile back on his face after making a successful comeback from a seven-month injury layoff in Thursday`s 1-0 Europa League victory over Qarabag.
The French defender sustained an Achilles tendon injury against Spanish side Atletico Madrid during the semi-final clash of last season`s competition and underwent surgery in May.
More disappointment followed when he missed France`s World Cup-winning campaign in Russia earlier this year but the 33-year-old said that he was now ready to start afresh.
"I have my smile back and I`ll enjoy it with my club. I`ll start my season now," Koscielny told Arsenal`s website.
Koscielny had little to do on Friday as Arsenal, who have already qualified for the last 32 of Europe`s second-tier club competition, eased past the Azerbaijani side thanks to Alexandre Lacazette`s winner.
"It was an important day for me. It was the end of my rehab, so I am happy to play with my team, for this club, and to enjoy it with them on the pitch," Koscielny added.
"It was emotional because you remember the first day you`re injured ... and you have flashbacks about different periods during rehab ... there were difficult moments but now I`m more calm and focused on what I want, and physically I`m okay," he said.
Koscielny`s return is a defensive boost for Arsenal with Rob Holding out for the season due to a knee ligament problem and Konstantinos Mavropanos (groin) and Shkodran Mustafi (hamstring) both battling injury.
Victory against Qarabag extended the club`s winning run in all competitions to 22 games and manager Unai Emery could turn to his captain again when Arsenal return to Premier League action with a trip to Southampton on Sunday.