AC Milan’s goalkeeper Mike Maignan returned to action yesterday after 157 days on the sidelines.
He has been nursing a calf injury he sustained on international duty in September.
He tried to return months ago but suffered another calf injury, leaving Milan head coach Stefano Pioli short-handed.
The 27-year-old finally returned to the starting XI for AC Milan’s win over Atalanta at the San Siro. He kept a clean sheet as the Rossoneri made it four wins from their last four matches.
However, WhatsApp recordings claiming that the French international was on drugs were doing the rounds in early February.
The audio said he was hooked on cocaine and couldn’t return to action because of the addiction.
The rumours started circulating during Milan’s seven-game winless run from January, in which they lost twice to city rivals Inter Milan.
Milan missed their talismanic keeper, with back-up Ciprian Tatarusanu fumbling saveable shots during that period.
Fans were angry that Maignan, who helped them win the Scudetto last year, was unavailable.
However, Maignan moved to shut down rumours of drug problems with a post on Instagram. “My only drugs: faith, hard work, and win,” he said in the social media post.
Maignan was not the only long-term injury returnee yesterday.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic also returned from his nine-month absence from the club. He called the period he was unavailable one of the most difficult of his career.
The 41-year-old said it was not only the physical pain he had to deal with. He also lost former agent and long-time friend Mino Raiola.
Ibrahimovic is looking forward to continuing his journey with the club and contributing on the pitch.
Yesterday’s victory means Milan are up to third in Serie A. They are level on points with Inter, but the Nerazzurri are second with a superior goal difference.
Milan travel to face Fiorentina this weekend. The Florence-based side are out of form, and Milan will fancy their chances against them.
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