Lichtsteiner feared for career

Stephan Lichtsteiner was surprised to return to Juventus' team so quickly, having feared heart surgery would end his playing career.

Juventus defender Stephan Lichtsteiner was concerned his career would be over after undergoing heart surgery.

Lichtsteiner had to be withdrawn at half-time of Juve's draw with Frosinone in September after suffering "breathing difficulties".

After over a month out of action, the Switzerland full-back made an incredible return to action in midweek, starting against Borussia Monchengladbach and scoring a stunning equaliser as Juve rescued a crucial Champions League draw.

"I was definitely scared about never playing again," Lichtsteiner is quoted by Gazzetta dello Sport. "It was a difficult time for me as heart surgery is a pretty big deal.

"Luckily, I had my family and friends to offer their support and love.

"Fans also sent me words of encouragement, and it wasn't just Juventini. There were supporters from every club. I guess that's the beautiful side of football.

"I always feel like I can score and so I try to be ready for whenever the opportunity comes.

"After so much time out I knew that I would likely not be at my best, but I kept working hard. [Juventus boss Massimiliano] Allegri often checked on me and I was feeling good.

"However I didn't expect to be starting, especially given that I had only participated in two training sessions before the match."