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Gattuso: I'll come back stronger

AC Milan's veteran midfielder Gennaro Gattuso insists his career is not over despite being blind in one eye.

• Blog: The Prince of Milan

Gattuso suffered a paralysis of the seventh cranial nerve following a collision with team-mate Alessandro Nesta that has left the 33-year-old without sight in his left eye.

The Italian has not played since being substituted in Milan's opening Serie A game against Lazio on September 9 but has vowed to come back from the career-threatening injury.

"Football is my life,'' Gattuso 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 2006 World Cup winner, who has been at Milan since 1999, will be out for at least a further six months.

"In 25% 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.''

Former Rangers midfielder Gattuso 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.''

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