SAMIR NASRI feared he would never play football again after an 18-month anti-doping ban left him on the verge of depression.
But as West Ham’s paroled Frenchman enjoyed a winning return against his old club, in his first Premier League appearance for two and a half years, Nasri ignored the taunts and counted his blessings.
He set up birthday boy Declan Rice, 20 today, for his first goal in senior football to give the Hammers only their second win in 22 meetings with the Gunners.
Nasri was banned for receiving intravenous treatment at a Los Angeles clinic while on holiday in December 2016, when he was on loan at Sevilla from Manchester City.
He silenced the taunts of Arsenal fans, who never forgave him for joining the legion of Gunners fugitives at City in 2011, and said: “It was the best feeling of my life to be back, and winning as well.
“I thought I’d lost it at some point – that I would never play again – but it happened, and everything was great.
“I started to question myself, whether I would be able to play football again.
“It was almost like being depressed – thank God my family, friends and