The 2022/23 season has been a strange one for Memphis Depay. The Netherlands star came close to leaving Barcelona in the summer but saw a move to Juventus collapse and ended up staying after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang left for Chelsea.
Having remained at Spotify Camp Nou, the 28-year-old struggled for game-time in the early parts of the campaign and featured just three times until late September, when he picked up a thigh injury while on international duty.
Depay’s initial recovery time was expected to be around a month, but the Netherlands ace did not play again for the Catalans before the World Cup break.
It gave way to speculations that the former Manchester United ace was preserving himself for the Netherlands national team’s World Cup campaign in Qatar rather than playing for the Blaugrana.
Those speculations were further fueled after Depay returned to full training with the Oranje setup yesterday. However, in a recent interview with ESPN.nl, the 28-year-old has given an insight into his injury ordeals during this season, explaining that a setback delayed his return.
“I almost resumed group training at Barcelona, but unfortunately I suffered a setback. Life is trial and error and everything happens for a reason. I missed an important period in Barcelona, they needed me and wanted to be important to the team, but unfortunately, the injury happened,” he explained.
Providing an update on his current fitness condition, the out-of-favour Barcelona forward added: “It’s going well. I worked hard to be able to be at the World Cup and I feel fit. I have been training very intensely in recent weeks. I feel better than before.”
Despite Depay pushing to reach full fitness, Netherlands manager Louis van Gaal recently claimed that the 28-year-old will not be a part of the starting XI in their first World Cup game against Senegal.
When asked about how he felt hearing those words from the manager, Depay said: “Van Gaal’s words affected me deeply. Of course, it was hard to hear.”
The thigh injury saw Depay miss 12 matches across all competitions for Barcelona. However, his return to fitness is good news for the Blaugrana as a good run in the World Cup could help the club offload him in the January transfer window.