Liverpool and Portugal star Diogo Jota admits he feared for his career after being diagnosed with a heart problem in 2014.
Jota had just enjoyed a prolific spell in youth football when he moved to Portuguese side Pacos de Ferreira seven years ago, but his debut was held up after a heart screening revealed an issue.
The forward was restricted from training and playing for a month while doctors sought to get to the bottom of just what the problem was, and he says the wait felt like an eternity.
“That was a difficult moment,” Jota told the new issue of Four Four Two magazine.
“It had the sort of impact that made me ask, ‘Will I be able to continue playing?’
“But I always keep a positive mentality in those situations, trusting that everything was going to be all right.
“I knew it could mean quitting football, but I didn’t believe for a second that it was going to happen.
“In Portugal, we use the phrase ‘you shouldn’t put the cart before the horse’ – don’t draw conclusions before you know the facts.
“The whole thing happened on my first day of work, when you undergo fitness tests.
“It was a bit of a scare because there was some alteration in my electrocardiogram.
“I had to be submitted for an electrophysiological study.
“Only after that was I given medical clearance to continue playing. I ended up missing part of pre-season and my senior debut was delayed.”
Although he suffered with injuries during his debut campaign at Anfield, Jota still scored 13 goals in 30 appearances as he helped the Reds into the Champions League.
Jota’s interview would have been obtained before Christian Eriksen’s terrifying ordeal on Saturday, when the Denmark star suffered a cardiac arrest on the pitch and had to be revived via CPR.
There is no suggestion that Jota – who will be in action at the Euros on Tuesday when Portugal face Hungary – has any sort of long-standing heart issue, and he will have undergone several screenings with both club and country since 2014.
“Big thanks for your sweet and amazing greetings and messages from all around the world. It means a lot to me and my family,” he wrote.
“I’m fine – under the circumstances. I still have to go through some examinations at the hospital, but I feel okay.
“Now, I will cheer on the boys on the Denmark team in the next matches. Play for all of Denmark. Best, Christian.”